The Daily Tofu

A place for art, culture, history, and creation

Obscure Film: Freedom and You (Red Nightmare) (1962)

Obscure FilmTrey TakahashiComment

From World War II onward, the U.S. Federal Government were hard at work churning out ‘educational’ propaganda films to influence and educate American Citizens on matters of public safety and patriotism. Some of their most famous films include the famous seven part series on World War II Why We Fight (1942-1945), along with other notable short films such as The House I Live In (1945) and Duck and Cover (1952). Among these famous films, praised for their unique style and characteristics defining propaganda film, came a unique film during a peak of the Cold War. In 1962 U.S. Department of Defense Information and Education Division released a feature length film entitled Freedom and You (commonly known as The Red Nightmare), a film to truly capture the ideal American Citizen and their responsibilities thereof and to scare the American public with life in the Soviet Union. Hosted by Jack Webb and using the narrative style of The Twilight Zone, Freedom and You (1962) tells the story a father named Jerry and his ‘all-American family’ who awake to find their town under the influence of the Soviet Union.

The film plays a unique part of telling the history of fears in the United States as well as popular beliefs as to what ‘proper’ American life was really about. In the beginning of the film we see Jerry skipping out a working father’s duties such as meetings with the Parent Teacher Association (PTA) and labor union, even worse is Jerry’s notion to skip out on his U.S. Army Reserve training. The audience is told that his behavior is unacceptable as he is taking advantage of “freedoms” and “privileges” afforded to him by living in the United States. As he continues to take advantage of these liberties, Jack falls into a dream from a “guilty conscience” where he finds himself awaking in a reality where his town has fallen under the influence of communism.

Each section of Freedom and You (1962) exemplifies different aspects of American society considered to be the norm and essential for any American citizen. As Jerry discovers the newfound communist influence of American life, he finds his daughter leaving home for voluntary service on an industrial farm. Several military personnel who enter Jerry’s home forcefully remove her from the home despite her voluntary agreement to go to work an industrial farm. Representing the treat of the dissolution of the American family unit coupled with the loss of ‘inherent’ American rights. Jerry goes from a relaxed life where he has liberties to one where everything is taken away from him as he exists in a powerless society. Perhaps one of the most profound moments is when his kids threaten to report him to the authorities because of his vocal frustration with the new communist system. He tells his kids that he is enrolling them in Sunday school, and drags them to what use to be a church now converted to a State Museum.

Duty to the country through voluntary service in the armed forces; having a happy nuclear American family; practicing a healthy spiritual life; and the freedom to take action and 'think'. During both the First and Second Red Scares and into the 60s a perpetual feeling of uneasiness and paranoia existed among Americans, citizens constantly trying to blend into a mold of the model America. To stray away was to become a deviant, a trader, to the United States of America. Freedom and You (1962) came at a time when tensions between the Soviet Union and the United States were at a height from the Cuban Missile Crisis, and stands as a testament to just how crazy life was during the Cold War.

For more info about life during the Cold War and U.S. Propaganda, check out some of these suggested titles:



Opinion: What is a "Gamer?"

OpinionTrey TakahashiComment

I play video games. Most days I spend a good few minutes to hours playing video games by myself or with friends. On the busiest days running around taking care of errands and work it could be a few moments of mobile games to kill downtime. On the weekends it could be hours playing through a tabletop grand strategy games with old friends domestic and abroad. Some of my closest friends I have met playing video games, and yet I do not consider myself a gamer.

What exactly is a gamer? The term has existed for decades, describing those who play video games on some level. From individuals who dedicate their time to learn, collect, and beat video games to those who simply play casually on their downtime. Admittedly, it is quite an ambiguous term, one that strings together people from all lifestyles because they share one thing: they play video games. There have been numerous studies over the past few years that have tried to provide insight on who gamers are, such as polls performed by the Entertainment Software Association (PDF link) which found the average gamer to be 31 years old, and nearly equally split between genders (52% male versus 48% female).[1] Even female gamers over the age of 50 have been increasing drastically year after year.[2] Yet even these studies point to massive groups on each end of the spectrum, with video games becoming extremely common among most youth in industrial nations. If such large groups are considered gamers, how do are any subsets of gamers identified?

Terms are thrown around such as 'casual gamer,' 'hardcore gamers,' or 'pro-gamer' to help divide and describe specific groups of gamers. There is an inherent problem with any of these terms: they do not really describe groups too well. Nearly everyone takes photographs, but we do not call them all photographers. Casual gamers are often described as those who play simplistic video games that can be picked up and put down easily, ones often labeled as trivial or simplistic in contrast to ‘hardcore’ major studio video games. Never has there been such a clash between those who identify as proper gamers and those considered lowly casuals because of the games they play.

There is an inherent problem with any of these terms: they do not really describe groups too well. Nearly everyone takes photographs, but we do not call them all photographers.

Gaming was not always a common activity among most people. In the earliest days of limited home consoles, computer games, and arcades, there was a bit of exclusivity in being a gamer. Access to video games outside of arcades was expensive, home computers and video game consoles were outrageously expensive in contrast to modern video game platforms (example, inflation). The term gamer as someone who played video games was appropriate, after all a culture of video gaming began to develop among these players. We often hear of tales of people playing games to completion, trying to obtain the perfect score, and it all began around the earliest days of video gaming.

However, as technology has progressed it has become increasingly more accessible. Nearly every resident in an industrialized nation has access to a computer, more so technology is so accessible that there are c. 6.9 billion mobile phone owners worldwide (that is nearly 96% of the world’s population).[3] In fact, among the Americas and Europe, there are more mobile phone owners than there are people.[4] We live in an age where technology has become so affordable and accessible that it is now a basic part of life as a basis of communication and a fundamental part of both work and leisure. With that video games are more accessible than ever, with every personal computer comes some very basic video games, and nearly all phones have some games preloaded. Even in the early 2000s as computers began to become a key appliance in homes, studies found nearly 67% of households with children had a video game console of some kind.[5] Nearly everyone plays video game now, or has at some point. Many of these gamers are not hobbyists, nor are they engulfed in the culture of video games that has blossomed over the past couple of decades, they play video games for the sake of leisure, not a hobby. And this is where the term falls short.

I play video games; I am not a gamer. I do not watch every E3 Convention broadcast. I do not follow and preorder many games with gross excitement. I do not own or collect game related merchandise for the sake of commodity. I play hundreds of hours of games in a year because I find it relaxing, I find it a social past time, I genuinely enjoy it, as many people around the world do. The term gamer should be given back to those it means the most to. Those who have such a passion and drive for video games; those that partake in the culture surrounding it; all those who genuinely make video games part of their lives. Let the term have meaning, carry more weight and be something that people can own.  Let us give back what it means to be a gamer.


[1] “Essential Facts About the Computer and Video Game Industry: 2014 Sales, Demographic, and Usage Data,” Entertainment Software Association (April 2014), http://www.theesa.com/facts/pdfs/esa_ef_2014.pdf

[2] Ibid.

[3] “Global Mobile Statistics 2014 Part A: Mobile Subscribers; Handset Market Share; Mobile Operators,” MobiThinking (May 2014), http://mobithinking.com/mobile-marketing-tools/latest-mobile-stats/a#subscribers

[4] Ibid.

[5] Kaveri Subrahamanyam et al., “The Impact of Home Computer Use on Children’s Activities and Development,” Children and Computer Technology 10, no. 2 (fall/winter 2000) http://www.princeton.edu/futureofchildren/publications/docs/10_02_05.pdf

Meta: Welcome Back

MetaTrey TakahashiComment
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Here’s to all our readers old and new, The Daily Tofu returns from the ashes of her former self. For the past few years there have been individuals of triumph and despair among the few who worked so diligently on this blog who made it all possible. Despite all of what has come in the past we’re back, and by god does it feel good.

We have been working hard on rebuilding the website, writing and creating new content, and redefining what the goal of The Daily Tofu is all about. A blog and hub to discuss things that many of us are so passionate about: art, history, creation, literature, food, photography—culture. This is a place for people to express and discover what it means to be human in modern civilization.