Cold War flashbacksPosted: August 18, 2011
Hello darlings! I am back from my Tropical Ontario Vacation. I think it can pretty much be summed up in two words: The Diefenbunker. It’s a little bit sobering to see objects you remember from your childhood – rotary phones, overhead projectors, hydrogen bombs, IBM mainframes the size of a small car with less memory than an iPod – in a museum. But more shocking, I think, to realize you’d forgotten what it was like to use them.
You’re wondering whether I ever actually used a hydrogen bomb. I’m just going to let you wonder.
At the Canadian War Museum (which we also visited; we’re martial sorts, apparently) there was a listening station where you could hear popular songs from the Cold War ABOUT the Cold War. Y’know, old classics like “99 Luftbalons” and “Russians” by Sting. I don’t remember all the songs listed; I didn’t recognize several of them, and there was at least one — U2’s “Bloody Sunday” — which I didn’t think pertained to the Cold War at all, for all that it was a protest song from the 80s.
Music really brings back that special Cold War feeling, more than the rotary phones, even.
Anyway, I mention this because during our tour of the Diefenbunker, they mentioned the Distant Early Warning system that Canada had put in place in hopes of getting 15 minutes’ warning if Soviet nukes were coming at us over the pole. “Distant Early Warning”, I realized with a start, is also a song by Rush. It wasn’t on the list at the other museum, though. Clearly an incomplete list, and they left off a Canadian song, no less. Maybe it’s too obscure.
Those were frightening times, and yet we somehow managed not to blow ourselves to bits. I choose to take that as an optimistic sign, that rationality and cool heads can in fact prevail.
Anyway, nothing profound in all this. I’m just musing aloud, feeling thoughtful. More interesting stuff tomorrow, maybe, if I’m feeling interesting.