November 16, 2004


A Bombardier's Reflection: The 40th anniversary of "Dr. Strangelove" prompts some Cold War reminiscences. (JAMES EARL JONES, November 16, 2004, Wall Street Journal)

Jean Jacques Rousseau said that God is a comedian playing to an audience that is afraid to laugh. In his film "Dr. Strangelove or: How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Bomb," Stanley Kubrick, to some a "god" in the pantheon of cinema, made us laugh out loud at thermonuclear war. I am a surviving member of the cast, and in this 40th anniversary year of the film, I am pleased to share some of my experiences in making "Strangelove." [...]

Amazingly, the Cold War ended without a nuclear war. Even more amazingly, the former antagonists who once amassed enough nuclear weapons to kill every man, woman and child on earth seven times over have become "good friends," even to the extent of signing the nonproliferation treaty. The 9/11 attacks have given a greater sense of urgency to the goals that the treaty set about to accomplish. Although the Cold War has ended, it is the pilfering of nuclear materials from former Soviet stockpiles, and their potential sale to terrorists, that has become one of our greatest threats. Today, more than ever, we are still not safe from the dangers lampooned in "Dr. Strangelove."

Human history offers little evidence that we can learn to stop fighting wars. But we cannot stop trying.

As the core truth of Easy Rider is that we all wished we'd gotten to shot-gun the beatniks, so the core truth of Strangelove is that we all envied Slim Pickens.

Posted by Orrin Judd at November 16, 2004 7:55 PM

Actually, I envied General Ripper.

Posted by: Brandon at November 16, 2004 9:53 PM

This past Halloween, I happened to see "The Howling" (1980, I believe), which starred Slim Pickens in a bit part (as the sherriff, natch). He wasn't so slim anymore. He also turned out to be a member of a troop of werewolves.

Posted by: Twn at November 16, 2004 10:46 PM

Damn straight I envied him...

Posted by: Ptah at November 17, 2004 1:34 PM