Wednesday, January 20, 2010

...and, maybe, just maybe, buy yourself a little life insurance.

(click ad, via) Sweet glowing Jesus, what an aggressive passive-aggressive insurance-selling advert from the Cold War year of 1951. Click the ad, and enter Mutual of Omaha's Wild Tale Kingdom. The copy is flash-blindly optimistic. "Your immediate reaction much be to shield yourself from the flash of brilliance"—Yes, drop and cover your head with your suit jacket, fat man/little boy (the bomb can't see me!), and everything will be just fucking fine—as long as you hold your position "for at least 10 seconds." Also, according to the informative yet bleak drawing, as long as I was a mere 2 miles from the epicenter, it looks like I would've been scot- and blast-free. Which was just a hot white lie.
Previous retro nuclear bombvertising:
The 39 kiloton exclamation point!
Massachusetts A-Bomb Protection pamphlet.
Even this (mushroom) cloud has a silver lining.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

But just about every policy that I've ever seen excludes anything due to "acts of war, declared or undeclared," So what good would insurance do you?

9:53 AM  
Blogger copyranter said...

I'm sure those gray areas were glossed over in the face-to-faces.

10:02 AM  
Blogger Unknown said...

Everybody scoffs at the advice to "duck and cover". What do you propose instead? Sure, that behavior is useless at the hypocenter. But you're likelier to be at a range where your actions can make a difference. A lot of nuclear weapons have been made, and they're not going away. It's unpleasant to think what you should do if one us used near you. But it's probably a good idea.

10:23 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Duck and cover would protect you quite a bit from the thermal pulse- but indeed does little for the other effects.

There is ample evidence that being shaded by even a thin light-colored cloth protects from horrible burns from the thermal pulse.

10:42 AM  
Anonymous lunarmagpie said...

when it all boils down to it, you might as well just bend over and kiss your ass goodbye.

11:25 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Duck and Cover would probably mean the difference between 10's of thousands of wounded and blind vs just wounded. In the event of .... It would mean a lot just on blindness alone. In the coming age of the Islamic bomb you can bet 'Duck and Cover' will be coming back to the fore.

Why is it that the political left can never do anything about nuclear arms. They can't even get rid of them. As of Jan 2010 it's only been the political right that has been able to broker major nuclear arms reductions and lower alert levels.

It seems to me that the political left is in a constant state of duck and cover and refuse to face any hard truths when it comes to nuclear arms.

11:33 AM  
Blogger WTDT said...

To underscore what John said, the basic advice of all the duck-and-cover stuff (and there was a ton of it) is pretty sound. It's on par with "stand in the doorway during an earthquake." Sometimes impractical, sometimes useless, and sometimes you die anyway. But it can save a few people who are teetering on the margin between "doomed" and "out of harm's way."

Of course, an insurance company is doing this to scare people, and hence sell insurance. But believe it or not (and it's hard for anyone living today to believe) the default position of the government in 1951 was not to scare the crap out of people by hyping omnipresent evildoers with their WMDs. Just the opposite--there was a lot of concern that people were TOO freaked out, and Civil Defense "duck and cover" stuff was one way of showing people that we had a plan in place if the worst happened.

11:34 AM  
Blogger Unknown said...

The scale on this poster is outdated: modern thermonuclear weapons are a thousand times as powerful as the early atomic bombs. I think the affected area would be around 30 miles.

2:12 PM  
Anonymous Wahoo313 said...

During the 50s, the assumption was that A bombs would be dropped by fleets of bomber aircraft. There would be some hours of warning and opportunity to prepare and defend against the attack.

Sheltering in place and evacuations seemed barely doable.

What's more, lots and lots of folks had gone through aerial bombardments with conventional bombs--and survived. Taking immediate cover did up the chances of getting through a bombing, avoiding (some) of the shrapnel and flying/falling debris.

Practical wisdom existed, and it was passed along. If an A bomb was falling on me, I'd duck, cover, do what I could not to look at the brilliant flash.

The catches had to do with how weapons were allocated to targets (usually many weapons to one target), how people actually behave in a catastrophe (not all calmly and deliberately), and the advent of nuclear armed missiles, (which eliminated to "warning and preparation" phase entirely).

Having grown up in a highest priority military target, I spent too much time trying to decipher the particulars of an A bomb attack.

3:08 PM  
Blogger wheyghey said...

All the Duck and Cover stuff came out when there were just "A-bombs" like Fat Man and Little Boy (15-20 kilotons), but when thermonuclear bombs with yields of 10-20 megatons came out, people just said screw it. If a 10 megaton thermonuclear bomb hits 5 miles away from you, you're toast, whether you duck, cover, or wrap your house in plastic.

10:58 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

The take away from this: We're all are a bunch of pussies!!!

"The Greatest Generation" had the right stuff... Atom bomb attack? Awww, for fuck's sake! It landed below 14th Street... I can still catch tonight's fight at the Garden and hit Jack Dempsey's for a few Cutty Sarks afterwards.

Nowadays the country shuts down because some asshole who was selling dates in the bazaar last week got on a plane with an M-80 under his balls.

Jesus fucking Christ.

11:21 AM  

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