My home life sucked as a kid, and when I became a teenager, amid the Nietzsche and Sartre soaked literature I read, the backdrop was always "the bomb." I have mentioned the "duck and cover" era in a previous entry, but let me tell you of a very scarring experience I had: realistic TV portrayal of a post-apocalyptic world.
I had read "Alas Babylon" and "The Canticles of Lebowitz." Sci fi was deep in post-apocalyptic genre at the time. Hell, even Hanna Barbera had a cartoon series, "Thundarr the Barbarian." And I kind of liked those scenarios. In fact, I still do. I like the "urban decay" backdrops, the "what happens to the Empire State Building after 200 years of neglect" or whatever. I recently read, The World without Us, and I loved that book.
Two weeks ago, I was browsing Youtube and came across clips from a TV movie that haunts me to this day, though. It was called, "The Day After," and ANY kid who was older than 10 in 1983 probably remembers being made to watch it. The one clip that got me was the actual scene of the people getting wiped out, which, due to a coincidence that still puzzles me, was almost an exact replica of nightmares I used to have as a kid. I mean, not shot-by-shot, but the method in which people died, especially the part with fire. Over and over again, I used to have nightmares about being burned alive, people I know being burned alive, and fire played a HUGE part of my nightmares from about age 10 until I got some psychological help at about age 15. Wat made it worse, it right after this, PBS showed a BBC program called, "Threads", about long-term horrors of a nuclear war over Britain. That was even more bleak than "The Day After," and I recommend it to no one, even though it was far better written and acted. They didn't focus on the special effects, so it was like I got special effects horrors from the first film, and the "you better hope you are the first to die" in the second film.
I would say, without question, I was scarred by the experience. In fact, looking up those links made my heart race, my face feel hot, and generally feel a little shaky. I started an entry about it two weeks ago, some of which appears in this entry, but stopped when I felt, "You know what? No." But then, dammit... then something happened at Anime USA:
So beta58 was doing the video spinning, right? One scene, done to Scooter's, "Fire," he played loops from "The Day After," and I think one or more of the Terminator movies where LA is hit by Skynet's nuclear bombs. So I watched special effects of people getting burned and then unburned back and forth, over and over. I sat down on the floor in almost ironic shock, going, "Oh, COME ON!" to the gods who could hear me, basking in the ridiculous mockery of all fears I held dear. I think at that moment, I couldn't take those fears as seriously anymore.
Just thought I'd share that.