Gods of Metal by Eric Schlosser is not about rock and, or, roll. Instead it’s about nuclear weapons and the unlikely activists that protest against them. And, tbh, it’s not even really a book, it’s around 120 pages long but is more like a long essay. Schlosser is known to me as the author of Fast Food Nation. That book dealt with the changes to the food industry in America. The film of Food Inc., which came from that book, is also really interesting/depressing.
Anyway, the title ‘Gods of Metal’, was the name given to one of the ‘plowshares’, during which activists would break into weapons facilities. They would often pour vials of their blood around, hang banners, sing, and graffiti with bible quotes. The activists that Schlosser is writing about are Catholics, they are 60 year old house painters and 80 year old nuns. The name ‘plowshare’ comes from a bible quote,
They shall beat their swords into plowshares, and their spears into pruning hooks: nation shall not lift up sword against nation, neither shall they learn war any more.
The point there being that we would be converting military weapons into peaceful tools. And the name Gods of Metal was chosen,
to convey the idolatry of nuclear weapons. Our reverence of their power, our blind faith they will keep us safe, the sisters feared, may lead to our annihilation.
One of the main purposes of the Plowshares is to highlight how easy it is for people to break into highly sensitive sights. They are often out dated, designed and built during WW2 and no longer really fit for purpose. They don’t have enough physical security, and there is poor management from the companies running it. It’s sort of terrifying when you think about it. During one incident the activists waited an hour to be arrested (they were just singing and hanging about).
It’s an interesting piece and worth a read. It reminded me of the John Oliver rant on the same subject, but with less F-bombs.