How Watching A Movie Turned Into A History Lesson For My Kids
Since it is winter, and we live in a tiny apartment, we've been watching a lot of TV lately. Mostly kid's shows.
Since I was home, and could not take watching another kid's show, we decided to watch an 80s classic: WarGames
The movie stars Matthew Broderick as a teenager obsessed with computers and computer games. Trying to hack into a silicon valley computer game company, he accidentally accesses a super-commuter at NORAD. The computer, thinking it is playing a game, starts a countdown to all-out nuclear war with the Soviet Union.
I ended up stopping the movie every couple minutes to explain stuff to them.
Some of the things I had to explain to them:
The Cold War - Born over two decades following the end of the Cold War, they had no idea that, at one time, we were this close to a war that would have wiped out humanity. I gave them the PG version of the Cold War. I don't need to get woke up in the middle of the night because they're having nightmares about spies and nuclear bombs.
Nuclear Missile Silos - The movie opens with a couple of USAF missileers (yes, it's what they're called) in their bunker.
NORAD - Once the biggest, most high-tech, bomb shelter in the world. It's mission was to keep an eye out for Russian sneak attacks and command the counter-attack, if that were to happen. Now, the facility's primary mission is tracking Santa Claus on Christmas Eve.
Loring Air Force Base - I explained to them that one of the biggest bomber bases in the United States used to be in Northern Maine.
Dialing The Internet - To my daughters, the internet has always been everywhere: laptops, TVs, tablets, and phones. Even though I had "dial-up" internet when I was a teen, ever since I left my parent's house, I've had some sort of "high speed" internet.
Floppy Disks - I told them they were thumb drives (memory sticks) that stored way less information.
Payphones - Now that everyone has cellphones, we have no need for payphones. The last payphone that I ever saw was outside a bar I used to frequent. That phone was removed about 12 years ago.
Honestly, I never realized just how dated the movie was until we watched it. That being said, it's a classic and if you have not seen it, you should.