Jasmine Omorogbe- Dr. Strangelove Reflection
I found the movie to somewhat odd, especially the role of Dr. Strangelove, not only did his voice and demeanor creep me out but the part in the end where he has German spaz-outs was weird. Burgess claims that that is a commentary on â€śAmerican and Russian explotation of German scientistsâ€? (p.10) but I wouldnâ€™t have understood that without having read the article prior to viewing.
The movie did a good job of pinning man versus machine and as Burgess discusses, showing the inconsisitencies between the two. In the film, even the best and most elaborate technologies were susceptible to human error. General Ripper almost started a nuclear war single-handedly. I found it ironic that the same plans and technologies intended to protect the nation were the same ones that ended up killing Colonel Kong and eventually and indirectly, the whole world. Plan R was well thought out, that is, until it went wrong. All the back-up plans that were to be used against the enemy ended up working against themselves, or in other words, the plans made in order to escape trouble ended up causing the most in the end. In order for things to be successful, both man and machine must be up to par. This film highlights the incapabilities of both man (General Ripper and the whole team of authorities at the Pentagon not being able to come up with a solution or being unprepared â€“ not enough money to use the phone, etc) and machine (nothing working properly when it was supposed to) .
Burgess also mentions the ambiguity of the film, saying that â€śIt suggests that we are, indeed, going toblow ourselves up but it isn't very sad or shameful, or even very important.â€? (p.4). This seems to be true and is illustrated in the demeanor of the characters. Besides General Turgidsonâ€™s super excited state, there does not really seem to be a sense of urgency presented. The President is concerned but more in â€śoh-man- we-really-messed-upâ€? manner than an â€śoh-no-we-are-all-going-to-dieâ€? manner. The other officials barely speak and no one seems to be frantic or in a panic. Even when the Doomsday machine goes off, they are in the midst of calmly debating different plans of action. I am unsure if this ease is because they know the anticpated end of the world due to this situation is inevitable, are confused about what to do, or really just donâ€™t see it as a super scary issue.
Looking back at the movie now, I can see it as an effective nightmare comedy, however, had I been a viewer during this time period, I donâ€™t think I would have found it funny at all. I know the goal was to make people step back and look at all the hysteria and laugh at themselves for taking it so seriously. However,in that day, when the government was spreading messages that things like this could actually happen at any given time, any given place, and with the movie depicting the cause as human fallibility (which we know the military is certainly capable of), the goal would not have been accomplished with me, I would have sided with the critics who didnâ€™t get it or have been angered at the insensitivity. Just like if someone made a satire of 9/11, even though it was 7 years ago now, I am sure most people would not find it funny, it is too close to home. However, in hindsight, I can definitely say it has value- offering a different view of both technological and human capabilities and fallibilities, as well as military procedures and leaders.