Drug War Themes in 'Thundarr the Barbarian' during the Reaganite 80s … By Brett Waste
Themes and subtextural memes are common in the plots of both serious and popular media. It would therefore not be strange to detect such themes in such a ground-breaking series as 'Thundarr'. In particular, themes concerning Nixon's initial War on Drugs launched in 1971 and ramped up by the neo-Conservative Reagan administration during the 1980's – some would say, to distract from human rights abuses by the School of the Americas and the CIA in Central America – appear in this series produced in 1981-2. In particular, the second episode of series one, 'Harvest of Doom', is of special note due to its central American location. Episode one occurred in the devestation of Manhattan – episdoe two occurs in Chichen Itza, Yucatán Peninsula, Mexico. Here Thundarr, Ookla and Princess Ariel discover a remnant western steam train locomotive transporting harvests of Death Flowers – a narcotic weed of enslavement and “numbing” and a thinly-disguised reference to drugs supposedly coming over the southern border and into the United States from Central American countries. This is being trafficked to an evil wizard to assist in his campaign against the humans to the north by Carocs, vocal and savage reptilian drug overlords that look like biped crocodiles. This theme has been used before by Ian Fleming in 'To Live and Let Die' where British 007 spy, James Bond, uncovers a heroin dealing operation in Jamaica that is actually headed by a voodoo master (voodoo is intrinsic in understanding nocebo which was pioneered by Dr. Walter Cannon during the Second World War for the US Army). The slaver carocs even have a delivery system or “gun” for the Death Flowers which looks very much like a water pipe – popular at this time of the 'Just Say No To Drugs' Campaign of the Reagan era. This blow-gun delivers smoke into the face of the victim who becomes narcotized and easy to handle. The Death Flower is consumed within the pipe. Episode one is even more interesting – Gemini (possibly a two-faced Camelot king like JFK) is given his own personal nocebo (sniper/suicide/Green Man/inexorable journey to Dallas) 'black pill' in the form of a black pearl manufactured by the Manhats that they could possibly manufacture again now they know how – once Gemini rampages through Manhat animating Lady Liberty and subjecting them to the torch of liberty.
The Cold Warrior, Ronald Reagan, had an extensive media identity as a Hollywood actor playing cowboy roles back in the late 40s and early 50s. He also informed upon Leftists during the McCarthy Hearings. This feathered his nest for his later political career in California and ultimately the US Presidency. The 1981 episode of 'Havest of Death' fits well with this western motif of the Wild West including the trio chasing the Carocs' steam train like Native Americans on horseback.
Alll this is cast into sharper bas relief with the murder of the heroic journalist, Gary Webb, author of the 1996 Dark Alliances series in US papers, and his exposure of the Reagan/North/Nicaragua link in the trafficking of crack cocaine into American inner-city minority neighborhoods, choked from each other like highways similar to the Washington D.C. Beltway (now rubble) ...