Friday, June 25, 2010
"Fallout" was the radioactive dust raised by the atomic explosion, and lofted into the air. It would drift about in the upper atmosphere, until it fell out into our neighborhoods onto the grass and into the trees, so even if we didn't get blown-up we would all die a slow, painful death unless we had taken shelter underground. There, with enough clean water and emergency rations, we could hold out until the radioactivity had (hopefully) abated and it was safe to re-emerge into the new world of civilizational obliteration. It wasn't at all clear that we would, however, or how the world above would ever be safe again. The "Doomsday Clock" told us the planet was in its last few minutes. A nuclear exchange might happen anywhere, anytime. We might all be destroyed.
So the baby boomers acquired an innate fatalism as a coping mechanism, while growing up under these conditions. We can see how it is playing out on the Gulf of Mexico, how the ennui of a generation coming to maturity under the numbing and indefinite threat of total destruction has undone its innate sense of urgency, how the clarion call to action can sound unheard. If the world is to be destroyed, one must remain calm and unruffled. There is nothing to be done but to save one's self..