MOVIE REVIEW: Panic in Year Zero! (1962)

Ah, the Good Old Days of the late 50s and early 60s…. The days of Civil Defense drills, fallout shelters, and missile gaps… When people lived in fear of nuclear war… With some justification, since the United States’ war strategy was essentially “Launch everything!” We wouldn’t see such paranoia again until the days of Ronald Reagan and his “Evil Empire” rhetoric. During the 80s, there were a number of films that tried to address what might actually happen to ordinary people in a nuclear war. Panic in Year Zero! was there first.

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Book Review: Hammer and Tickle

Hammer and Tickle: A History of Communism Told Through Communist Jokes
Ben Lewis
Weidenfeld & Nicolson, 2009

First off, this is the book version of a 2006 documentary about political humor in the Soviet Union. The nominal idea is to show the tightrope dance of those who dared criticize the regime through jokes. Just how much would you be allowed to get away with? Lewis interviews historians, archivists, and even some of those who actually made laughter at Communism’s expense. He even considers the possibility that some of it was allowed in order to defuse tensions amongst the people. If they are chuckling, they aren’t massing in the streets in protest. It’s a nice idea, but Lewis can’t seem to decide whether he’s writing a history or a joke book.

Lewis rather clumsily includes stories about his girlfriend, which detract from his narrative and weaken the overall work.

Oh well. At least there are the jokes:

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Dia de los Muertos

Because Halloween isn’t over until the dead have their day…

By the way, a tip of the warlock’s hat to all the other Cryptkeepers for sharing all their wonderful music, movie reviews, artwork, photography, commentary, and Halloween collectibles with us. It was a serious distraction at work checking in on everyone! I’d also like to thank everyone who stopped by here. I hope you will continue to do so – I’m hoping to be posting just as often during December for Christmas. And I am going to keep posting movie and book reviews, as well as my thoughts on baseball, and whatever else crosses my mind.