Post-Doomsday pop culture

Discussion in 'Alternate History Discussion: After 1900' started by CivoLee, May 5, 2019.

  1. CivoLee If you see this name elsewhere, it's the same guy

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    Recently I've been reading the 1983: Doomsday timeline over on the Alt History Wikia a lot, and theorizing whether or not I would've lived through it (likely not, considering Pittsburgh is on the nuking list although Mount Washington could theoretically have protected much of the south hills from the blast wave if not the radiation, so maybe if I didn't receive too large a dose or got treated fairly quickly I could've made it) and the way it goes, the immediate aftermath is pure hell for those who survived the destruction but by the early to mid 90s things have settled down to a world basically like the afterlife from Wristcutters: A Love Story (one that's "like ours, but worse").

    As an artist, musician, and popular culture aficionado, I wonder about how pop culture would develop in that world. I grant you most most people would be too busy struggling to survive to worry about what's going on in Tinseltown (and since Tinseltown would be a pile of radioactive ash there wouldn't be anything going on to worry about, it'd be a moot point anyway), but if we got the electric grid started up again or set up generators to power small settlements, we could power any TVs or stereo that didn't get EMP-fried.

    Now, since there'd be no broadcasts, even you could turn on a television it'd show nothing but static on one channel and "PLEASE STAND BY" on another. But in 1983, we had movies on VHS (and Beta) tape. We had records and cassette tape players for music. And while the video game industry itself crashed in 1983, the games and consoles still existed.

    So basically the question I'm asking the board is one of how pop culture would turn out if the channels through which we receive new media were shut off but the media itself was still (more or less) accessible. Would people's tastes become as eclectic as they kind of are now because of the ease of access the internet gives us? Or would people pick one past era to lock themselves in and create echo chambers with like-minded individuals? Personally, I can see someone like myself accidentally creating goth metal from being equally inspired by Metallica's Kill 'Em All and the early work of the Cure.

    Actually, the most important question is how this "frozen pop culture" would be affected when the media machine starts up again?
     
    Last edited: May 5, 2019
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  2. Pauh the federalist Well-Known Member

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    1. I image some of it would be based on prewar idealism and thus would be close in culture to what we were/had but it may be through a romanticized filter. 2. Outside of that prehapse, we may see what happened with Japanese cinema (using Godzilla as an example) referencing the destructive nature of the bomb. 3. Others may explore alternative or utopian concepts as replacements for the old world order, perhaps seeing them as failures.
     
  3. Gabzcervo Vanguards of Liberty and Paradise is coming soon

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    Perhaps that a suggestion that you've asked is about pop culture is some of pretty nostalgic pre-1983 songs such as Bohemian Rhapsody, We Will Rock You/We Are The Champions, Another One Bites the Dust, Y.M.C.A., 99 Luftballons, Too Much Heaven, How Deep Is Your Love, I Will Survive that had contributed to the nostalgic music of pre-1983 was well preserved but played on the radio.

    And as for movies, Rocky II, Alien, Apocalypse Now, Raging Bull, E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial, Raiders of the Lost Ark, Blade Runner, Star Wars movie series such as The Empire Strikes Back, Poltergeist, and others are one of the most nostalgic and remembered pre-1983 movies if it preserved, but unfortunately there are OTL movies are expecting to come out or turned into reality will never happens as assuming that these cities which have been targeted are destroyed, thus music and other elements of pop culture will be changed that pre-release films are either destroyed or missing or recovered but if you think that some of prewar movies and novels had been survived in scattered places, I know that prewar pop culture would be donated to museum that dedicated to the tragedies of World War III.
     
  4. Mr_Fanboy Well-Known Member

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    Nerdy as it sounds, given that this will be a world devoid of pleasure for many, functional copies of popular films (in whatever format) as well as the means to watch them might rank alongside alcohol, drugs, pornography, and tobacco as comfort items with serious trade value.

    ---

    Person A: "I'll trade you a tape from my Star Wars collection for a couple rounds of ammunition."

    Person B: "I've already got all the Star Wars movies."

    Person A: "Ah, but do you have a bootleg copy of the Holiday Special?"

    Person B: "Hmm..."

    (later that evening after finishing the tape)

    Person B: "Motherfucker."
     
  5. USN vet Well-Known Member

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    :closedeyesmile::closedeyesmile:
    :closedeyesmile::coldsweat:XD
     
  6. CivoLee If you see this name elsewhere, it's the same guy

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    Not sure how much people would want to hear a song about war after recovering from a war bigger than humanity has ever known. Then again, since the English version wasn't released until the following year, only people who knew German would know this, so maybe I'm wrong there.

    Still, I imagine once widespread radio broadcasting becomes a thing in the Global North again, soon people would tire of 1983/pre-83 music even if it did remind people old enough to remember what things were like before the bombs fell of better times. So a large market for newly recorded music could open; problem is though, how easy would it be to record it? The vast majority of studios would be in large cities, which would've been nuked. Even if you could locate a studio that wasn't destroyed, getting there would be tough since vehicles wouldn't have the range to travel very far outside whatever area they normally travel in (little to no interstate/provincial refueling infrastructure), and it's not like you could get there via horseback or some other animal-drawn conveyance - with the plants irradiated, unless brought a lot of feed with you, they couldn't graze. Plus, there's no guarantee that once you reached the studio, the equipment would be usable anyway. I guess what this all means is there wouldn't be as much demand for live bands to play covers...

    This is another thing...how would we perceive movies differently if it were common for actors' best known roles to be their only roles, given that they'd likely die either on Doomsday or some other way before movies start being made again??

    Star Wars is an interesting case...being spared the prequels aside (I honestly don't think they're that bad, but I digress), would Return of the Jedi have become some kind of priceless lost artifact, since it never would've made it to home video (the Doomsday TL uses the Petrov incident in September of that year as the POD; ROTJ's theatrical run would've ended shortly before that)? Since The Empire Strikes Back ends on a cliffhanger, the only way to know how the story ended would be to either read the novelization (many copies of which would've either been destroyed in the holocaust or used as kindling to keep warm during the colder months) or find a 35mm print and a working projector (or barring that, find someone else with those and hope they won't gouge you for whatever currency is being used - or worse - to see it). It'd be even worse with Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan; since The Search for Spock and none of the spinoff series would never have been made (debatable), ITTL the Star Trek story would end with Spock having sacrificed himself to save the ship.

    I would hope that before such things were locked away behind glass as museum pieces, they were backed up on a new form of media so people could still enjoy them.

    Funny as this scenario is, this isn't an even trade at all, no matter desperate for escape people would be. You want my rifle rounds, you're gonna need to give me some shotgun shells (and I maintain that in a world where bullets are a finite resource, arrows and melee weapons would be far more useful for everyday hunting/defense, with guns being a last resort). I'll give you my VHS tape with a few episodes of Star Trek, including "Plato's Stepchildren" (which would've been rare then because of the interracial kissing scene between Kirk and Uhura) for the Star Wars Holiday Special (and I'm still getting hosed in that deal).
     
    Last edited: May 6, 2019
  7. CivoLee If you see this name elsewhere, it's the same guy

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    ...no one else wants to weigh in on this?

    Pity. I thought this was a rather interesting topic myself, but maybe there really wasn't as much as I thought there was to discuss...
     
  8. Pauh the federalist Well-Known Member

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    If this is happening as a by-product of a nuclear war in the 1980s perhaps part of the culture is of the population might blame the war on the abandonment of the 1960s anti-war hippie culture based around peace and love for your fellow man. Because of this perhaps hippie culture sees a rebound.
     
  9. Mark E. Well-Known Member

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    A good possibility. 1983 was a time when the Libertarian party was becoming popular on campus and that time they stress liberal social issues, the same way the hippies did. You would have quasi-communal arrangements where people pooled their resources to build stable communities. Think about the faith-based communal societies that came from Europe to America in the 19th centuries.
     
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  10. FlyingSquirrel Well-Known Member

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    Or, on the other hand, there could be a reactionary backlash against some of the survivors blaming the culture of post-WWII America as having made people too weak and self-indulgent to have nipped the Soviet threat in the bud before it could turn into WWIII. If so, maybe some people wouldn't want too many of the more recent relics preserved, or perhaps they'd even try to destroy them wherever they turn up. A Canticle For Leibowitz even postulates a "Great Simplification" where all kinds of learning and knowledge are deliberately destroyed.
     
  11. OldNavy1988 Well-Known Member

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    But somehow The Matrix Reloaded made a Superman reference.
     
  12. General Tirpitz Well-Known Member

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    Radio would be probably a more significant part of pop culture than it is now. It is easier to operate radio stations than TV ones and governments would probably prioritize them after some sort of recovery has started. Getting them would be also probably affordable for most people than televisions. I would expect things like radio dramas be quite popular. Cinemas, when they eventually start to get set up again, would be also quite popular. Some ”cinemas” could be just a room full of people watching the only surving TV in the area though. The same thing could happen with radios too, where a group of people gather to listen, making that very communal experience. People would likely read quite a lot, so books and comics would be common entertainment. Not that they aren't now, but if you don't have access to television or even eletricity, print media becomes much more valuable. In many ways popular entertainment could be actually quite quite similar to that of pre-TV 1950's.
     
  13. Mark E. Well-Known Member

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    Look where technology freezes in 1983. The world wide web did not come until the nineties. The compact disk was invented but not mainstream. Cable TV was just entering the large cities. Desktop computers were just getting started.

    The Day After was broadcast on November 20, 1983. I guess we can assume this thread makes it real. Assume the nuclear winter is not as bad as some predict. If many urban centers are destroyed, transportation would concentrate on more rural roads. I disagree with the notion that an EMP would disable all vehicles as shown in the Day After. Most cars then still used distributors and points.

    Jump ahead about five years and you have a society that has re-stabilized in one way or another. People are still dying of delayed effects. In terms of pop culture, society will have returned to a state close to where it was in 1983.

    An issue is that entertainment, especially recorded music, became "permanent" by the sixties and every new piece added to a growing accumulation, the archives for which will survive. We might compare the aftermath and recovery to that experienced after the Civil War (in war-torn areas) or the Great Depression.

    I guess we can jump ahead and describe the results as seen in 1989 and those of today.
     
    Last edited: May 8, 2019
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  14. mudhead Little-Known Member

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  15. creighton Mono = One; Rail = Rail

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    I guess I'm a bit more pessimistic, but I'm a lot closer to the end of Threads on here in saying that there would not really be any pop culture as we know it. Our pop culture relies on easy communication beyond everything else, and the moment a 1983 level exchange happens, that's gone, because power is going to be really hard to come by.

    This article actually lays out the challenge really well. It summarizes a short story about Charlottesville, VA riding out a nuclear war, and life afterward in the small city. So, the city survies the strikes, takes pretty bad radiation, but they've made it to the other side, and are barely getting by on the brink of starvation. The issue is, after a few years -- things are not getting better and supplies are running down. Parts break down in farms, but they never get replaced. There's some food stock left, but it's not getting replaced because there's nothing to get the ag economy up and running again. There's some oil production, but really nowhere to refine it, and no way to get refineries rebuilt. The economy's well working mobious strip has been unwound, and it can't lean on other places to get back up and running. So, transportation becomes harder and harder, electricity becomes scarcer and scarcer.

    The article ends with kind of a fork. Either, the community can specialize in a few things and keep itself afloat, or, these communities that are trying to get by on the irreplaceable parts of modern society fall into bleak substance communities.
     
    Last edited: May 8, 2019
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  16. Emote Control Plenty of genius, not enough sense.

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    The films themselves might survive, since Hollywood studios store copies of them in isolated places to prevent losing them -- they know these films are their life. But OTOH, without electricity playing the movies would be impossible. Another problem is that celluloid, which was the medium at the time, doesn't last more than a few decades without severe degradation.
     
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  17. Mark E. Well-Known Member

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    By the eighties, I believe celluloid was replaced by a different, longer lasting medium. Besides, digital audio CD's were introduced in 1982, so the technology survives somewhere, maybe not Hollywood.
     
    Last edited: May 8, 2019
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  18. Peg Leg Pom Well-Known Member

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    You're all forgetting that in the Doomsday TL not all countries are as badly hit. Australia, New Zealand and South Africa are relatively untouched as is South America. There are losses yes but they're not blown back to the stone age. Movies and music from there will fill the gap.
     
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  19. Mark E. Well-Known Member

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    That's what I am trying to say. The technology of 1983 is there, and it doesn't go away. It just gets frozen for about five or ten years until the ravaged nations can re-stabilize. As for pop culture, remember the vast stretches of rural America that are not destroyed. A restoration scenario gets into political realms, so the result could be anywhere between the most open society possible to Orwell's 1984.
     
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  20. Peg Leg Pom Well-Known Member

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    Governments in the devastated areas may not be able to import much from the outside, but they will import films and music for the sake of their peoples morale. The ability to escape the harsh reality of the post war world for a few hours will be essential for the mental health of both the individual and society as a whole.