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The Atomic Cafe

Ramblings about a movie you should watch.

27 Sep 2001

I watched <i>The Atomic Café</i> on video last night. A few weeks ago it would have been funny. Now, it's just plain terrifying. It's essentially a piss-take documentary, made in 1982, along the lines of <i>Reefer Madness</i> and the like. It's made up of a lot of 'informative' films and documentary footage made during the Cold War (most of them for the various US departments of defence and military units), edited together to give a picture of the atmosphere in the US in the early '50s. 'Duck and cover' and all that...

The really scary thing is the propaganda. The huge number of blatant lies ("Radiation isn't really much of a danger") and rascist patriotism used to unite 'the people' against 'the enemy'.

It's happening now. The propaganda machine is still operating at full force. It's a whole lot more subtle and insidious, but it's still there.

Although the internet has helped spread the messages of 'dissenters', non-mainstream news and commentary, there is so much misinformation circulated on the same medium that I wonder if they don't cancel each other out. And then there's the great technology divide - do the people who really would benefit from seeing an outsider's point of view, actually have access to alternative media sources? And if they do, do they bother looking? Do they know where to look?

The movie made me mad, it mad me sad and scared. It also made me shake my head and laugh at how <i>ridiculous</i> it all seems. If you think your eyes need opening, see this movie.