Manic Denial

Part of the Global Perspectives on War and Peace Collection.

This animated short chronicles the events that led to one woman’s involvement in an unusual anti-nuclear weapon demonstration. She remembers watching films about the Holocaust in school and how she could comprehend the idea that one delusional man could conceive of this mass genocide, but she could not forgive the masses of people who allowed it to happen. “In my mind, they are ostrich people. Anyway, I remember thinking, ‘Thank God Hitler didn’t have the Bomb.'” When she found out her uncle had a military silo containing a nuclear missile on the land adjacent to his pastoral farm, she was outraged. “I’m one of those ostrich people!” She decided to give a talk on denial at the hospital where she works, and found that many other people had experiences similar to hers. “How many times can we see a mushroom cloud before it doesn’t mean anything to us anymore?” As her voice repeats “Four tons of TNT…Four tons of TNT…” various “everymen” explain their reasons for putting nuclear weapons at the back of their minds. After they finish speaking, their images morph into ostriches. The woman returns to the narrative and explains that she decided to stage a protest. She set up 100 life-sized cardboard ostriches all around her small town. She and her accomplices woke up everyone in the town with civil defense sirens to alert them of the impending nuclear war, in order to force people to think about the arms race. As she pondered her arrest, she felt even stronger in her resolve that she was behaving courageously. “Your honor, I have been authorized by the entire defending party to plead guilty to all charges.”



  1. Ashley says:

    Do you have the video?

  2. Hal Rucker says:

    There is a better version of this film at

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