Shirky’s talk from O’Reilly’s 2008 Web
Expo points out just how much free time we actually have to “waste”
on social participation projects. The next time you roll your eyes at
someone for editing Wikipedia or Musicbrainz, at least they’re doing
something rather than contributing to the billions
of hours of free time spent in front of the latest reality show.
I would encourage everyone to check out The War Game, a BBC fictional documentary by Peter Watkins which was never shown due to governmental pressure. Appearing to be the first of what is now a genre of “aftermath” movies from Briggs’s sublime When the Wind Blows to ABC’s The Day After Guttenberg-fest, it’s in equal measures frightening, harrowing, and an ultra-realistic depiction of what might have been.
I grew up in the 80’s of Reagan, Thatcher, and Haughey and remember the all pervasive fear of nuclear war. Survivalist books were on the best seller lists. Chernobyl gave us in Europe an idea of the widespread damage a nuclear detonation could do. Even Tomorrow’s World got in on the act with a special programme simulating a Soviet Nuclear attack being repelled by Reagan’s fantastical SDI programme (if anyone can find something on this please let me know).
Of course, since I was only nine years’ of age, I truly believed there was a nuclear attack. Thankfully Mr. Tulié put me right the next day in school.
UPDATE: Ferg pointed out Threads, an eighties documentary which is just as harrowing.
Although it baffled some people it seems that I’m not the only person who has heard of Rondò Veneziano’s La Serenissima. Some kind, but anonymous soul has sent me a link to the video in the comments field.