Video: 5 Classic Nuclear Power Propaganda Films

Is the Japanese nuclear emergency freaking you out? Perhaps you don’t appreciate just how cute and harmless the power of the atom can be—at least when it’s in cartoon form. Below, a few gems of propaganda aimed at calming nuke skeptics, from the Cold War to the present day.

Nuclear Boy: Disaster goes kawaii in this adorable Japanese animation, in which the damaged Fukushima Daichii power plant becomes Nuclear Boy, a little guy with an “upset stomach.” And those brave workers trying to avert catastrophe? They’re shown as a doctor working “around the clock to make sure he doesn’t poo.”

A is for Atom: Check out the animated atom who stars in this 1952 film by General Electric, especially when he dons black tie and tails to do an isotopic dance (around 4:30 in). Things go from charming to creepy toward the end when his pals the faceless nuclear giants show up to help humankind. But, the narrator assures us, “all are within man’s power, subject to his command.”

 

Plowshare: This 1961 film by the U.S. Atomic Energy Commission promotes the use of “peaceful nuclear explosives” as a cost-efficient alternative to TNT in excavation, mining, and oil exploration. Bombs away!

 

Medical Aspects of Nuclear RadiationThe hazards of radiation exposure are downplayed in this drily morbid 1950 film by the Armed Forces Special Weapons Project. Rest assured: “The estimated [radiation] dose needed to bring about permanent sterility exceeds the lethal dose. So obviously, sterility by radiation would be just incidental, a matter a dead man wouldn’t worry about.”

 

Nuclear Energy: Our Misunderstood Friend: Okay, not a real nuclear-power propaganda film, but The Simpsons‘ pitch-perfect parody of a vintage one. Featuring Smilin’ Joe Fission, the mascot of the Springfield Nuclear Power Plant.

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SIX TRUTHS

Reclaiming power from those who abuse it often starts with telling the truth. And in "This Is How Authoritarians Get Defeated," MoJo's Monika Bauerlein unpacks six truths to remember during the homestretch of an election where democracy, truth, and decency are on the line.

Truth #1: The chaos is the point.

Truth #2: Team Reality is bigger than it seems.

Truth #3: Facebook owns this.

Truth #4: When we go to work, we're in the fight.

Truth #5: It's about minority rule.

Truth #6: The only thing that can save us is…us.

Please take a moment to see how all these truths add up, because what happens in the weeks and months ahead will reverberate for at least a generation and we better be prepared.

And if you think journalism like Mother Jones'—that calls it like it is, that will never acquiesce to power, that looks where others don't—can help guide us through this historic, high-stakes moment, and you're able to right now, please help us reach our $350,000 goal by October 31 with a donation today. It's all hands on deck for democracy.

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