When Irony Meets Satire: Ice Cream, Mandrake. Children’s Ice Cream!

Shortly before the end of World War II, controlled experiments in water fluoridation began in the United States. The purpose of these experiments was to prove the hypothesis that moderate levels of fluoride in drinking water could prevent cavities. The experiments were deemed a success and by 1951 fluoridation became an official policy of the U.S. Public Health Service. By 1961 water fluoridation reached widespread use in the United States affecting the drinking water of some 50 million Americans.

Almost from the beginning fluoridation has been condemned. Condemnation ranging from the dire — government overstepping its boundaries by supplying, in the words of the right wing John Birch Society (which perceived fluoridation as a communist plot to poison Americans), “mass medicine” to its population — to the more mundane: ineffective, unhealthy and unnecessary.

Fortunately for us, the controversy helped to inspire the best film satire of all time (IMHO) — “Dr. Strangelove or: How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Bomb,” known by most, as simply, “Dr. Strangelove.”

Based on the novel “Red Alert” by Peter George, the film was produced and filmed during the spring and summer of 1963. With the 1962 Cuban Missile Crisis still fresh in our collective consciousness, Kubrick and screenwriter, Terry Southern, took George’s novel and turned it on its head. A work of genius,  Strangelove is a satire on, what has come to be known as, Mutual Assured Destruction or MAD. MAD assumes that each side has enough nuclear weaponry to destroy the other side; and that either side, if attacked for any reason by the other, would retaliate without fail with equal or greater force. The expected result is an immediate irreversible escalation of hostilities resulting in both combatants’ mutual, total and assured destruction.

For our purpose it’s the movie’s treatment of fluoridation that concerns us.

Peter Sellers’ genius is showcased as a triple threat, playing US President Merkin Muffley, British Group Captain Lionel Mandrake and Dr. Strangelove himself.
The genius is shared though, in the following clips, by Sterling Hayden, who was coaxed out of retirement by director, Stanley Kubrick to play the part of the unhinged Brigadier General Jack D. Ripper.

Here’s General Ripper explaining why “on no account will a commie ever drink water” to Sellers’ Mandrake:

Now Ripper explains to Mandrake how he developed his theory and how “luckily I was able to interpret these feelings correctly”–

Crazy? Or crazy like a fox? Today it’s more likely to be a left wing “conspiracist” expounding on the evils of fluoridation. Is there a real health concern here?

You can reach Part2 here if you’re interested: Fluoride Deception Part 2

And another related voice here: Professional Perspectives: Fluoride in Tap Water

If you’re looking for answers, you’ll get none here. Just food for thought.

I’ll give General Ripper the last word —


Genius! Pure genius!

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