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Red skies

Andrew W. Griffin / Red Dirt Report via The Drudge Report
Red skies over Brazil?
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OKLAHOMA CITY – A song I’ve been hearing a lot lately, The Clash’s “London Calling,” has a line that always grabbed me no matter when or where I heard it.

The ice age is coming, the sun’s zooming in / Engine stop running, the wheat is growing thin / A nuclear error but I have no fear / ‘Cause London is drowning and I, live by the river.”

It’s an apocalyptic song for sure and the way Joe Strummer sings the words “nuclear error” always gave me pause.

Sure, “London Calling” was released at a time of heightened tension between the West and the Soviet Union. The arms race was at an all-time high and a belligerent Republican was about to take the White House.

A few years later, a New Wave band called The Fixx released a downbeat, melancholy rock song with a catchy chorus, “Red Skies,” that warned of an “imminent nuclear holocaust.” For some reason, this song has been playing through my mind, a moody little earworm straight out of a complex, yet oddly less-complicated era. And regarding The Fixx, well, they had been syncing with me a lot lately. Not sure why.

So, why am I writing a Dust Devil Dreams sync piece about some songs that are over 30 years old and simply show my age? Well, I think these old songs still have something to say. Obviously the Clash were a bit more verbose and critcally-popular than the Fixx. But they both were more or less on the same page bringing this issue to the world of rock music.

And it was right around this time that ABC aired The Day After a made-for-TV film bout a nuclear war between the U.S. and the Soviets. I saw it at the time and thought it was horrifying.

So, I grew up at a time when the specter of nuclear war hung over my generation. And you know, the specter never really left.  

And we’re not just talking nuclear war. We’re talking nuclear errors.

Look how Fukushima is still affecting the Pacific Ocean and much of the planet – to this day! Sailors who were aboard the USS Ronald Reagan (ironically enough) are suing TEPCO, the negligent Japanese utility that operated the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant that is presently helping to destroy the planet’s ecosystem. As I've noted before, the moment of the disaster in Japan, I awoke from a literal nuclear-tinged, apocalyptic nightmare. And now I'm waking up with The Fixx's "Red Skies" running through my brain.

The sailors were exposed to radiation during the humanitarian response to the March 2011 Japanese earthquake and tsunami. The San Diego Union-Tribune reported this week that the sailors are suffering from cancer, rectal bleeding, gastrointestinal trouble and more. Most of the sailors are only in their 20’s.

Unfortunately, the federal judge dismissed the case, leaving the sailors to suffer.

It just proves the power of the nuke industry in the U.S. and elsewhere.

For example, just last week there was a major accident – a fire -  at Arkansas Nuclear One near Russellville – just down the road on I-40 – leads to little if any national media coverage! Why? We were one of the few places to mention it.

I had planned to write this story yesterday morning but didn’t. I almost did, particularly after I switch on my computer and the first image I see is of “red skies” over Rio de Janeiro, Brazil and the famous “Christ Redeemer” statue with its arms open wide. It was on The Drudge Report and the headline was “From Russia With Love.” That “red sky” imagery, again, gave me pause. And Russia? Wow! Another major sync for me, particularly when it comes to "nuclear errors." The story being linked was about NSA fugitive Edward Snowden, who is looking to move from Moscow to Brazil. This, after seeing an ad for the upcoming season of FX's The Americans, about two Soviet KGB officers posing as an American couple in Washington, during the 1980's Cold War era. 

And just as I was about to write this, I glanced at my Facebook feed an there was an Infowars story headlined “Chinese Moon Display Contains Image of Europe Being Nuked.” Now that the Chinese have landed the Jade Rabbit moon rover on the nearby celestial body, will they start militarizing space? After all, recall that scene in 2001: A Space Odyssey where the bone is thrown in the air and “morphs” into a “nuclear weapon” (according to 2001 actor Keir Dullea). Stanley Kubrick knew space would be militarized and enemies would put nukes in orbit around the planet. Do the Chinese now aspire to do that? One look at the image of the Earth showing a mushroom cloud over Europe is disturbing.

Which takes us back to these apocalyptic, 80’s rock songs I keep hearing. It’s as if the ghosts of 30-year-old rock songs are visiting us this holiday season, reminding us that not all is peaceful on our fragile planet. 

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Andrew W. Griffin

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Andrew W. Griffin received his Bachelor of Science in Journalism from...

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About Red Dirt Report

Red Dirt Report was launched July 4, 2007 as an independent news website covering all manner of news, culture, entertainment and lifestyle stories that affect and interest Oklahoma readers and readers outside of our state. Our mission is to educate, promote civic engagement and discourse on public policy, government and politics. Our experienced journalists provided balanced in-depth coverage of news stories that affect Oklahomans. Our opinion/editorial stories come from a wide range of political view points. We carry out our mission by reporting, writing, and posting news and information. read more

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