Episode 71: War on Cold

The Overthinkers tackle cold war pop culture in light of the twentieth anniversary of the fall of the Berlin Wall.

Matthew Wrather hosts with Peter Fenzel, Mark Lee, Josh McNeil and Jordan Stokes to overthink cold war pop culture in light of the twentieth anniversary of the fall of the Berlin Wall. There is a characteristically unaccountable digression about the repatriation of antiquities to Egypt.

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Download Episode 71 (MP3)

5 Comments on “Episode 71: War on Cold”

  1. Martin #

    Interesting discussion to listen to for one of your listeners who never lived in the cold war. Some of the cultural artefacts say much more to me than history books ever could (Dr. Strangelove a favorite of mine).

    I’m surprised no-one mentioned Top Secret. By the Zucker/Abrahams trio that made Airplane, it was also Val Kilmer’s first movie. It’s basically a mash up of Elvis and WW2 movies, but it’s set in East Germany, very overtly substituting Communists with Nazis.


  2. Gab #

    I was going to say my favorite Cold War pop culture reference is Rocky and Bullwinkle. But, Wrather, I salute your choice. I go to a professional fireworks display (almost) every Fourth that plays a patriotic music montage, and that song is always playing during the finale. The combination has moved me to tears since I was a teenager.

    I think there was a new wave of anti-Nazi stock villains for a while. That respect for reality gets ignored by “reality” (read: media) too often, though. Re: Ft. Hood. Whether there is any truth to the rumors floating around about Hasan having ties to terrorist groups doesn’t hide that the KNEE-JERK and public reaction was, “TERRORIST ATTACK!!!!!” But when a white Christian goes on a gun rampage at a college or their work place, it’s just a result of their psychological instability and has nothing to do with their race, religion, ethnicity, etc., unless it comes up as a, “What would make a privileged person with suchanduscha background do this sort of thing?” I’m not saying all avenues shouldn’t be investigated, either, but looking into their ties with their church shouldn’t be done to seek out terrorism so much as find out what happened; meaning if a Christian had done it, their ties to their church should be investigated in order to filter out any connections that could have led to whatever happened and NOT just because it’s a Christian that did it. And I’m totally ranting now, but I’ll end by mentioning the “God and country” mentality of some American terrorists. Abortion bombings and assassinations? THOSE people and organizations are brushed to the side as extremists and you don’t hear much from bishops or deacons or anybody like that, but an Imam automatically feels the need to say something when an Islamic man commits a violent act?
    ::end rant::

    Fenzel (and this is in no way meant to be accusatory- just an affirming observation), think of the Native Americans with respect to your artifact rant. Clearly a property right can be established, and even though the laws are slowly filtering “authentic” Native American blood out with quotas in percentage amount (so it will only be a matter of time before “legitimate” descendants are around- different soapbox, though), there are all sorts of lawsuits where Native tribes are suing for ownership of their own artifacts and the remains of their own tribal members. Look at the fiasco over Geronimo’s remains and Skull and Bones. My own alma-matter returned some bones- that had been on display in a gallery- to the local tribe in order to avoid a big public scandal not too long ago.

    I agree with Lee and Stokes, the people so adamantly against “socialism” participate in socialistic practices and demand for them all the time. Yes, it’s “socialism” created by the right’s propaganda machine. “Keep your government hands off my Medicaid/Medicare!” is a perfect phrase so many of them have been screaming from the rooftops during the debate over healthcare. It speaks volumes, though. Demanding the federal government stop interfering with federal aid- it’s oxymoronical. It comes from fear mongering, harping on the latant and subconscious fear of the “communist threat.” It gets massaged and bolstered by sh*t like this (and thank GOD it actually passed, though):


    The “socialism” in the health care bill was worse than terrorism, eh? Gag me. The “fear” she talks about is only a result of this very sort of scare tactic. It comes from think-tanks that put out “studies” about how countries with completely socialized services are “worse off” than the U.S. It comes from “analysts” that plant the seed of doubt by making the suggestion (“I’m not saying it IS communist, but it sure looks like it…” or something). It comes from the sheep mentality of too many people that don’t actually know the difference and don’t take the time to figure it out for themselves. The health care bill was socialist? Please. Representatives like Kucinich didn’t vote for it because it wasn’t socialist ENOUGH.

    ::end that rant::

    As for “pure Marxism,” I know I’ve said it before: Pure Marxist/Engelsian Communism has never existed. Evaaar. And again, if you want a pop culture reference depicting Communism closely, think of the society in Star Trek (and I’m referring more to the society Picard and his crew talk about in Next Gen).

    Cartoon Allstars, OMG, Fenzel, I totally remember that movie!!!!


  3. Gab #

    *Both times I said “Communism,” it shouldn’t have been capitalized- the big C usually denotes the political party, not the ideology, so sorry. I was thinking of it in terms of The Real Thing, the way Marx and Engels would have wanted it.

    And sorry for the double-post.


  4. Tom #

    I was at Disney World on vacation with my family during the failed Russian coup of 1991. While I didn’t fully understand its import at the time (in my defense, I was 9 years old), in retrospect it was an oddly appropriate place to be when that happened.


  5. Lara #

    Hearing the lyrics of that Billy Joel song made me think how awesome it would be if Dr Seuss wrote history books… Now that I’m in front of a computer, I have been informed by the ever helpful Wikipedia that Dr Seuss wrote a book called The Butter Battle Book, which is about an arms race. None of my friends had that one, it was all Cat in a Hat and Green Eggs and Ham…


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