Popular Culture Review 29.1 (Spring 2018) - Page 95

video widely available of them performing “War Pigs,” they now use film footage as a backdrop to their performance (as many bands do). Given that this particular song, more than any other of their many hits, has taken on a life of its own, it is fitting to look at “War Pigs” as the ultimate anti-war anthem. The lyrics are fairly general, and easily applicable to any government, any war, any era – and governments have continued to monetize their military capacity and presence over the last four decades. Smart bombs, drones, and guided missile systems still make mistakes; superpowers still maintain armaments and threaten peace on a regular basis. In this sense, the anthemic importance of “War Pigs” has never waivered, and it is fitting to look at how Black Sabbath has used technology to illustrate their iconic song while performing on tour. Throughout the song, footage of atomic bomb detonations features in tandem with live camera feeds from the show. The footage looks like it comes from the atomic testing done during WWII. The following images are a few samples. On the enormous screen backdrop, video footage of total destruction, a visual end- of-days apocalyptic message, overshadows the performance. This now-regular visual narrative (the supplement to this song has been used for over a decade by the band during live performances) is both the standard for social-protest movement rock music, and obviously has a fairly large influence on contemporary music, particularly for rock and metal bands who engage with global events, criticize government policies, and use their music to promote awareness of the dangers of complacency. Interest in the terrible potential of nuclear power has never abated. Physicist Gregg Springs, at the Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory (LLNL), is leading an initiative to collect, declassify, scan, and assess America’s nuclear history; the records of more than 200 atmospheric tests, shot from various angles, resulted in nearly 10,000 films. So far, more than 4,000 have been digitally scanned, and Spriggs’ team has analyzed almost 500 of them. 15 They hope to provide more accurate information about the effects of nuclear weapons than the often inaccurate data collected during the tests 50 years ago. Just 750 of these films have been declassified so far, but they are being made available to the public for the first time. It is likely that the readily available 15 O’Brian, Nolan. “Physicist declassifies rescued nuclear test films.” Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory. 14 March 2017. https://www.llnl.gov/news/physicist-declassifies-rescued-nucle- ar-test-films. 95