All attention in this household—obsessive attention—is on Japan at the moment. (I apologize if any of this sounds rushed or distracted. I’m constantly checking the headlines, even as I write.) Nuclear power is a subject that took up ten years of my wife Judy’s life. Her first feature-length film, Dark Circle, (she co-directed, co-produced and narrated it) was about the links between nuclear weapons and the nuclear power industry. It won several awards, including an Emmy. In the last few years, I’ve watched her become increasingly dismayed over the renewed interest in nuclear power. She’d thought that the battle was over. She has told me repeatedly that public officials and the media will never tell you the truth about a nuclear emergency as it’s happening, and I’m seeing that she’s right. The “experts” they call on for commentary are almost invariably pro-nuclear power. Judy can read an article, dissect it—tell me what they’re really saying. The corporations, including those that own the media, want nuclear power. They are reluctant to publish anything that will make it look bad. What many people don’t understand—I didn’t for the longest time—is that all nuclear power does is boil water. That’s it. It’s just a fancy and dangerous way to boil water. The issues that nuclear energy raises are much more complicated than what most of us know. Dark Circle goes into those issues. It’s available on iTunes to rent or own and can be purchased through Amazon. This isn’t a pitch for product. Judy no longer owns the copyright. What she wants is that people educate themselves.
So I sit here working on my book and watching the news. Whenever I fall into thinking about nuclear power as simply a domestic political issue, I lose sight of the fact that there are hundreds of thousands of people in Japan suffering tremendously right now. It’s terrible to forget that. Through my exploration of Zen Buddhism as well as my encounters with the Japanese, I’ve developed an affection for Japan. I’m pulling for them.