Monday, March 16, 2009

Blicky Scores First Interview with Real Author

Blicky was initially excited when I assigned him to interview Holly Barker, coauthor of The Consequential Damages of Nuclear War: The Rongelap Report, but was crestfallen to discover that the book wasn't advocating nuclear war and wouldn't lead to any new lucrative defense contracts.

Blicky Kitty: Mao, what in the world are the Marshall Islands?
Holly Barker: The Marshall Islands is a republic of about 29 coral atolls in the Pacific Ocean between Hawaii and Australia. The Marshallese live on small narrow islands of sand that lie atop coral reefs. These reef systems form a country that is the size of Mexico, but whose total landmass amounts to some 70 square miles.
BK: Mao like Waterworld with Kevin Cosner?
HB: I guess...the Marshallese are consumate seafarers. Much of their culture and livelihood centers around the ocean. 
BK: Notice you spelled nucular "nuclear." Is that some pretentious liberal conceit?
HB: Yes.
BK: What role did the Marshall Islands play in the development of nucular weapons that I use when I covertly manufacture nucular weapons in the basement as we know them today?
HB: Well the U.S. nuclear testing program was conducted in the Marshall Islands from 1946 through 1958. The U.S. government detonated atomic and thermonuclear weapons with the aim of achieving world peace, but its actions essentially inflicted nuclear war conditions on a fragile atoll ecosystem and vulnerable population. The Marshallese, despite appeals to the United nations, were powerless to stop the testing and were left unprepared to address the resulting problems. The biggest and dirtiest nuclear detonation ever conducted was the Bravo test, on March 1, 1954. It was the equivalent of 1,000 Hiroshima bombs and it produced a mushroom cloud that was 25 miles from sea level.
March 1, 1954
BK: What was is like for them?
John Anjain describing the explosion from the Bravo test
HB: We published an account by John Anjain (shown above) who witnessed the Bravo explosion from the nearby Rongelap Atoll. They saw a light and many beautiful colors; yellow, green, pink, red and blue. Then they felt a gust of wind and we saw the smoke cloud. There was a clap that was louder than thunder and the women and children fled to the woods. Later Anjain went fishing and felt a fine powder falling all over his body. He was somewhat afraid when the powder began coating everything. It fell all day and all night. The next day, when they saw that the powder had turned the water yellow, they realized it was harmful. Later that afternoon a seaplane came and two men surveyed the damage. They left after about ten minutes which worried the people on the island. On March 3 everyone on the atoll was evacuated. The people of Rongelap were relocated in 1957 after assurances from the Department of Energy that there wouldn't be any risk. Mr. Anjain wrote that "However in 1958 and 1959 most of the women gave birth to something that was not resembling human beings."

A US worker measuring radioactivity on the roof of a Marshallese home with a geiger counter.

The medical treatment that the Rongelap people received was more for the purposes of research rather than optimal care. They were interested in documenting the radiation burns (some people had radiation burns down to the bone and weren't even given painkillers) and the thyroid cancer, but didn't respond to complains of reproductive abnormalities.
BK: Hiding the nuclear fusion rod in his pocket. Why were they researching this?
HB: The Bravo explosion was designed to keep the fallout local so they wouldn't alert other countries to the event and so they could use the Marshallese as test subjects to study the effects of nuclear radiation.
BK: That's nucular. N-U-C-U-L-A-R.
HB: Declassified documents show that they knew the wind would carry fallout towards inhabited islands. Project 4.1  outlines the study of the effect of nuclear radiation on human subjects. The Marshallese believe that this project of human study was conceived before the Bravo explosion took place but the U.S. government contends that it was accidental.
BK: People were so mean and clueless back in the 50's. Thank goodness we're so smart and enlightened nowadays.
HB: There still is no oncologist in the Marshall Islands to this day.
BK: Ta eo kwöj ba? Enana
HB: Blicky Kitty, how on earth did you learn Marshallese? 
BK: Mao. Ña DOE. One last question. What nefarious form of mind control have you used on my human to make her think you're the most awesome rock star of a human being in the universe?
HB: Well I've known her a little while (see above photo). Now Blicky, you said Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama would be here to hear about the Marshall Islands.
BK: Oh look! Something shiny!
HB: Damn you Blicky Kitty, Damn you!
BK: Kommol tata! Yokwe! Ñe ebar nana m wilim, inaaj kinake eok ñan mama.

11 comments:

Yaya said...

Blicky Kitty is the best interviewer!

CDB said...

Blicky, congrats on your first big interview. I love the not-so-subtle references to our former "shock and awe" prez, and I'm very impressed you learned Marshalese. Get that fusion rod out of your pocket. In public.

Debby said...

Er. Blicky Kitty? You need to be careful with your nucular experiments. If you annihilate your human (even accidentally), who will feed you?

Blicky Kitty said...

Hehe, thanks Yaya!

Thanks CDB. Not quite sure what Blicky wrote. A Marshallese speaking reader assured me it was funny, but that might not be a good thing.

Deb, Blicky wants to know if you'll be needing any cats in the event of my demise.

Lavinia said...

This is brilliant.

Debby said...

Tell Blicky no. We like mushrooms of a different sort.

Blicky Kitty said...

Oh thanks Lavinia :)!

I'll relay the news to Blicky -- I don't blame you Debby!

Anna Lefler said...

Seriously, where are the pro-nuclear war books?

Are they being hidden on the shelves behind the zillions of copies of TWILIGHT?

Explosion enthusiasts demand to be heard!

;^) A.

Debby said...

Peace through superior firepower, eh, Anna?

Ragamuffin Gal said...

Where does Blicky come up with all these ideas? I am so jealous of his life ~ the places he goes, the people he rubs paws with ~ What a life! Great interview! Who's next?

Paige said...

YEA Holly! you too, blicky