Editorial – Dr. Strangelove: 2017

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The War Room with the Big Board from Stanley Kubrick’s 1964 film, Dr. Strangelove

The 1964 political satire Dr. Strangelove or: How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Bomb follows the War Room exploits of the President of the United States, his many advisors and adversaries, along with Dr. Strangelove, a wheelchair-bound nuclear war expert and former Nazi.

After convincing the President to kick off nuclear war with Russia by dropping the big one, Dr. Strangelove suggests a breeding program to repopulate Earth, while also convincing the President that survivors of the nuclear strike would be filled with “bold curiosity for the adventure ahead.”

The film closes with a montage of nuclear detonations across the planet, accompanied by Vera Lynn’s World War II–era song “We’ll Meet Again.”

Last week, President Donald Trump dropped a torrid of Tweets that seemed to threaten North Korea with robust military action. Later, Trump said that he would unleash “fire and fury” on North Korea—he didn’t say that in a press conference, because this President doesn’t hold press conferences where, you know, reporters can ask questions and hold him accountable.

“Fire and fury,” a phrase far too poetic for our brusque Commander in Chief, clearly came from someone else. But who? Does our chaotic President have his very own Dr. Strangelove? Empty threat or real warning, you can bet your life that “fire and fury” means nuclear war. It is the type of unhinged rhetoric you might expect to hear from Trump’s target, Kim Jong-un, but alas, these were the words of our own hand-waving, mouth-agape President.

Trump’s irresponsibly hawkish words conjure up Dr. Strangelove’s most memorable visual moment, when Major T.J. Kong (Slim Pickens) rides the bomb as if it were a rodeo bull—waving his cowboy hat in the air, hooting and hollering all the way down to detonation and annihilation.

Nuclear war equals death for all. It is lighting a match when both you and your enemy are standing in a pool of kerosene. It is not a liberal agenda to be against nuclear war—it is a human agenda and a logical agenda. But then again, logic dropped from the bomb bay doors a long time ago.

—Steve Mosco

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