Almost there...

Thursday, September 13, 2001

As my brain is starting to get it's processing power back (translated: I'm starting to be able to think about things outside of the attack), I'm recalling that this last weekend I ended up watching most of WarGames on TV. After it was over, I turned to Rick and commented that this film was such an interesting artifact of the time. It was made at the cusp between the Cold War Age and the Information Age. Kids were using the computer to dial in (over the then unnamed internet) to change their grades, and oh, y'know, incidentally start a computer simulation that nearly caused World War 3. The age of the Cold War was nearly over, but there was no hint of that yet. The age of the internet and rapid exchange of information and such was just beginning. This movie sat on the edge without any clue of what it had captured. Only 18 years later can we see what an interesting snapshot it captured.

I've said it before, and I'll probably say it again, but when I was teaching high school in 1997-99, my students had no conception of what the Cold War meant. They had no concept of living each day under the threat of nuclear annhilation. When I tried to explain that we spent a lot of time being very worried about what the Russians were up to and that we felt we could be bombed out of existence at any moment, most would just wrinkle their foreheads, and one would say, "But Russia can't even feed itself. What's so scary about them? We could take them out if we wanted to." To them, America was invincible. I doubt any of them are feeling quite as invincible now. Who knows. It might actually do them some good in the long run.


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