Happiness is a Protective Cup

DATELINE: Chernobyl Goes to Dogs

up on the roof Suicide by Radiation?

Young conscripts sent to the Chernobyl disaster are given crude and useless cups for their scrota. It won’t help. They are not told the truth of the dangers of their mission, though it may not be hard to figure out.

The despondent faces of the young men ordered to commit suicide is quite evident.

Yet, critics of this series noted that the Russians in the series use the wrong type of drinking glass for vodka. Yikes! your world is ending! The type of glassware you select seems a minor consideration.

Episode 4 of Chernobyl reaches an apex of appalling. Cheap and homemade lead cups are tied loosely around the underside of young soldiers as they walk around camp.

Soviet bureaucrats begin to rebel against a mentality of their leaders to hide the notion that the Soviet empire can do anything wrong. It may be the last straw that will lead to the fall of the Communist rule.

One group’s job is to go into deserted and evacuated towns and shoot the stray dogs and cats that are dangerously radioactive. It is part of the mental strain that can break men.

In the meantime, Stellan Skarsgard and Jared Harris want to use lunar robots to push graphite off the roof of the power plant. However, the Soviet leadership will not accept American help (only West German)—and they provide false information to the Germans, who make a rover that cannot withstand radiation.

It leads to the most horrific of all concepts: bio-robots. Men will go into the roof area to sweep up the most radioactive debris. They will likely be dead in a short time, especially figuring on the thin lead aprons and headcovers.

If you fall during the job, you are likely to be dead before the sun sets.

A Russian general gives each man his pay at day’s end and wishes them “good health and long life,” knowing full well that neither will be available after their work.

 

 

Say Ahhh, Chernobyl

DATELINE:  HBO Series, Episode 3

stellan Stellan Skarsgard as Boris.

Episode 3 of the HBO series about the nuclear disaster at Chernobyl continues to depress and to create outrage. Though the Soviet regime handles it with usual ant colony efficiency, there is something horrifying about people being “asked” to commit suicide to save humanity.

One wonders how different it would have been if Three Mile Island were on a par with Chernobyl.

Perhaps there will always be those who will involuntarily volunteer, their bravery is inexplicable. The drab veneer of communist life hardly inspires sacrifice.

Smoking cigarettes for everyday Soviets appears nearly as deadly and commonplace as radiation poisoning.

Jared Harris, son of movie star Richard Harris as the nuclear physicist closest to the crisis, looks like he has already been exposed to some deadly radiation. His growing irritation with non-experts making decisions about life and death may be the biggest surprise in Soviet life.

Challenges openly to Gorbachev in front of the head of KGB is considered fair play as Stellan Skarsgad notes that the scientist is regarded as a harmless fool. Otherwise, he would be in big trouble.

The performers cannot be faulted for presenting dire nausea as the bottom line of their performances as they watch people rot away—and know their own deaths will be delayed, as they have kept a slight distance from the worst.

To say you need to evacuate millions of people from radiation poisoning makes Jared Harris ridiculous and dismissed. The fictional woman played by Emily Watson is arrested by KGB. Coverup is a hard game to play.

Ignorance is bliss, for many think they have superficial burns. Yet, others know there is some kind of death sentence coming instantly after exposure for a short time. One young woman won’t leave her fireman husband, touching and hugging him despite pregnancy and sure devastation to come.

The meltdown is coming—and conscripts of young men, dour and worried, are the front line of defense for the world.

The proximity to doomsday permeates this little miniseries. It is a cautionary tale that helps no one.

 

Chernobyl: Name of Infamy

DATELINE: Episode Starts  Off with Bang!

jared harris Jared Harris, Chain-smoking Star

If you had no historical or geographic knowledge of Chernobyl, you might think it was located outside of Liverpool, simply based on the accents of the actors in all the key roles. HBO, not History Channel, has taken on the 30-year old horror of history.

The main character, a scapegoat played by Jared Harris, hangs himself in the opening minutes of the mini-series. It’s a Vertigo moment in a horror story.

If you think that the dour and drab social world of 1986 is strictly limited to the Soviet Union and its failed policies and diminished treatment of the individual, you might be partially right. The onerous opening tones signal the problem with lies.

Hearing enough of them makes you give up on truth. That was true in Chernobyl in 1986 or the White House in 2020.

The HBO series has been hailed for its verisimilitude: every small detail seems apt and metaphorical. It’s only the big details that make one queasy.

The horror of radiation poison and radiation burns are brought to ugly effect while leaders and small-time bureaucrats deny, deny, deny, that there is a melt-down in their future.

We suspect idiocy was never meant to be limited to the Soviet government. Delays and misinformation might be handled as much the same in the United States. Containing the problem was a better solution than saving the public.

The blame game in the Soviet Union in 1986 was even as deadly as Germany in 1944 or under Stalin around the same time.

Episode 1 is hideous for all its creepy mortality whose name no one dares to speak. Only when everyone is throwing up their guts and birds fall from the sky do we realize that lies are only tiny part of a melt-down.