Horror films create temporary fake fear from commonplace situations
I have never been a big fan of horror films, but I have friends and relatives who love the experience of watching movies that are cleverly designed to cause hearts to race through the use of cuts, lighting, intense music and surprise. I will never forget a movie night long ago with several friends – I watched the most “manly” member of our little group hide behind the couch during the really scary parts.
It is with that amused memory that I have decided to share a trailer with you for a movie titled Chernobyl Diaries. This movie makes no attempt to document anything; it is a commercial horror film designed for pure entertainment.
Heck, I might actually be convinced to watch it for amusement. Its producers come with high recommendations from horror film buffs.
When Chernobyl, which has been used by antinuclear activists for 25 years to scare people about nuclear energy, becomes fodder for the horror genre, it is obvious that the truth about its relatively minor consequences is starting to be understood.
Think about it; would anyone ever buy a big old house with a few creaky floorboards if they really believed in ghosts? Would they live in big cities if Godzilla was on the loose? Would they preferentially overcrowd LA if Earthquake was seen as a realistic movie? Would they work in a skyscraper if the Towering Inferno was seen as portraying events with a reasonable probability of occurence?
Of course Chernobyl was not something anyone wants to repeat. It was a bad industrial accident that resulted in the destruction of a useful electric power production factory. Some of the people working at the plant and some of the first responders were injured or killed, but there was little physical harm done to the general public.
The truly terrible impacts of the event were caused by official overreaction. The forced relocation of large numbers of people from their homes and businesses and the imposed sense of victimization has caused real tragedy and long term negative health consequences.
Negative marketing from energy industry competitors and political pressure using the accident as the excuse has resulted in the forced destruction of a number of other useful energy sources, including the two Ignalina reactors that used to allow Lithuania to be a power exporter instead of a power supplicant at the mercy of its neighbors.
The good news is that we can learn from the real consequences that have been documented to have occurred as a result of Chernobyl, which was one of the very worst possible things that could realistically happen at a nuclear power plant. We must recognize the that most of the health impacts were optional, and imposed by incorrect government edicts. We must encourage our friends in Japan to apply Chernobyl lessons to the events at Fukushima and stop making matters worse by spreading irrational fear. The effort is not only costly, but may be hazardous to the health of the affected people.
We should start employing the well known field of crisis response and damage control. We can make a great first step by requiring that anyone who aspires to hold the position of Chairman of the Nuclear Regulatory Commission, and exercise its extensive emergency powers, be required to pass an essay test on the contents of the Environmental Protection Agency’s Manual of Protective Action Guides and Protective Actions for Nuclear Incidents.
No grandfathering should be allowed; the rule should be retroactively applied to the current Chairman.
Walk the walk and talk the talk ? The japanese government announced a long time ago that the evacuation zones would be lifted in April.
I hope they stick to their guns.
Saw this trailer in front of ’21 Jump Street’ this past Friday. I am reminded of a quote by the famous horror author Howard Philips Lovecraft:
“The oldest and strongest emotion of mankind is fear, and the oldest and strongest kind of fear is fear of the unknown”
Lovecraft is of course well for writing some of the most memorable horror fiction of the 20th century. (The Call of Cthulhu, The Whisperer in Darkness, At the Mountains of Madness, The Shadow Out of Time) He also has a reputation for being a terrible bigot and a xenophobe. I regularly listen to “The HP Lovecraft Literary Podcast,” where the hosts Chirs Lackey and Chad Fifer have been doing a chronological retrospective of his work. On frequent occasion there are works from Lovecraft the hosts cannot entertain with a straight face, the level of racism on display is so high.
The reason I take the effects of these films seriously is because so many of the public do — even camp and take-offs. Would TMI been the media disaster to nuclear energy it turned out to be hadn’t China Syndrome previously come out — totally unchallenged and not picked apart by non-flunkie media nuclear experts? Like the anti-Indian Point crowd near here, they love to label nuclear workers — in competence and personality to Homer Simpson — and the silly slander STICKS. I guarantee you, when “Chernobyl Dairies” comes out, even if it’s just a redress of “Middriff Witch”, it’ll be the local media story that sends their reporters scurrying to the nearest nuke to pickily interview Chicken Littles at the nearby mall and bar. It behooves the nuclear industry/movement to head this willfully malicious stuff off at the pass with knocks at the media’s door by competent nuclear pros to counter the indelible exaggerations of radiation effects and eggshell power-plants. The best persuasion is by using the NUMBERS — not economy or sea levels — but _comparative mortality rates_ of nuclear against other energy productions. Sadly it’ll be up to grass-roots nukers (and MAYBE atomic unions??) to carry the water at this task!
Atomic energy/nuclear power has been a handy trope (now bordering on a cliché) for horror/science fiction since the Fifties. Usefully unknown and poorly defined in the popular mind it could be used for all sorts of things like granting super powers, and enabling time travel. However it was also via the Bomb and the threat of a nuclear war, also useful for creating post apocalyptic worlds. Thus it is not surprising that something like this would emerge. In fact it is surprising it took this long.
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