Kudos and thanks to writer Russ Pitts whose article “Duck and Cover,” printed in gamer magazine The Escapist, makes passing reference to “author and filmmaker Daedalus Howell” while examining the cultural impact of The Day After. Pitts cites my “pre-teen thanatos” notion from the “Atomic Hangover” piece I penned for the Bohemian last January. Yeah, it’s the little things in life. A sample:
“The film was a monumental success and, combined with Sting’s powerful, lyrical hope that the Russians loved their children (too), formed the nexus of a cultural revolution which apparently convinced all self-respecting, music-loving, TV-watching nuclear powers to reconsider the whole Cold War thing and sue for peace. Walls fell, evil empires collapsed and the nuclear arsenals of the U.S.A. and U.S.S.R. were wheeled into the basement. For the world, it was a happy ending. For myself and many like me, it was but the beginning of a lifetime of neurosis stemming from a childhood of unrealized terror.
Author and filmmaker Daedalus Howell calls this particular neurosis a ‘preteen thanatos,’ likening the post-traumatic stress of viewing The Day After as a child, and his ensuing lifelong melancholy, to Freud’s theory that the realization of one’s own imminent death induces within one an urge to (and here I paraphrase) get the hell on with it, prompting violent and/or self-destructive behavior.”
I encourage you to read the whole piece, which is quite edifying, here at at Escapist Magazine. More about Pitts, the former head writer for The Screen Savers on TechTV now writing for gamerswithjobs.com and The Worcester Pulse, at his site insomniacorp.com.