Saturday, January 23, 2010

Only The Names Change

In the middle of making dinner last night, I realized that the channel on the TV in the background was showing War Games. I left it on, reminiscing over the very young Matthew Broderick and Ally Sheedy and my eighties-era childhood.

The boys came in from outside and were instantly hooked and asked if they could watch the rest of it.

Coincidentally, we had just had a very long conversation about war, nuclear weapons, and the conflict between the US and Iran. They had picked up some basic ideas about Iran from snippets from the morning news shows that are usually on while everybody is getting ready in the morning. Having no concept of the Soviet Union, they mentally replaced that country with Iran as they were watching the movie. I had to explain that we were scared of a different country 25 years ago.

I realized that during the eighties the country was truly afraid of "global thermonuclear war" and that while we are definitely afraid of Iran creating nuclear isn't quite the same as the interlocking conflict that was imagined between the two superpowers, the US and the USSR, during the several decades before the USSR disintegrated.

The world has become simultaneously scarier and less daunting than the "clash of the titans" scenario that loomed in the eighties; scarier because of the elusive nature of global threats, and less daunting because of the lack of organization and financial resources available to the enemy. Being small and agile makes for good secret ops, but doesn't lend itself well to total world domination.

It's comforting in a morbid way.

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