Boom Girls

There is a series on Global Television (which I always think of as channel 22: most readers won’t know the significance of that, but it shows my age) called “Bomb Girls” which entered its 2nd season this week. (Tim and I call it “Boom Girls”.) It’s quite entertaining, and challenging, and patriotic as well (at least for me). The storyline follows a number of women who have been called into duty during World War II to build bombs for the war at a Canadian munitions factory. I think one of the reasons we are drawn to it is that it illustrates a different aspect of the war that we rarely get to see. There was more than the Nazis and the Holocaust and trenches and the bombing in WW2. Much though those are important and we should not forget them, we should neither forget the effect that the war, (and the many ways of serving in the war) had for many women as they discovered themselves and found their economic and social power.

This first episode of the season was particularly interesting to me: I’ve not yet figured out the location of the factory (other than Canada… somewhere…), but I’ve had some clues. In this first episode of the season, there was a plane spotted flying over the munitions area, and all the workers scrambled into shelters underground. They mentioned “Downsview Air Force Base”… which is about a mile SE of where I live (and has been converted into “Downsview Park” over the last couple of decades). Many of my friends in High School were “base brats”, whose homes were “on base”. But to realize that the show must be set near where I live (there is an industrial area just north of the Park/Base) was rather exciting.

The characters are diverse, and their stories are intriguing. One is an older woman whose marriage is in difficulties… and who has an affair with a young soldier. Another has been injured on the assembly line and dealing the ramifications: both post-traumatic-stress (before PTSD was known) and permanent damage to her beauty. Another is the daughter of a rich business tycoon who is trying her hardest to bridge the worlds of the upper class and the working class. There’s one woman who’s a lesbian… at a time when same gender attractions were seen as “deviant”. Together these weave an intricate series of stories that are meshed together and supportive.

While looking up some reference for this post, I found an editorial on “the Toronto Sun” about “Bomb Girls”. Now I’m not a big fan of the Sun; it’s about as close as we come to a Canadian version of Fox News. The quote of interest: “I understand there was significant societal pressure to be “all in” for the war effort, publicly. But privately, were people just as confused and selfish and doubtful and reactionary and short-sighted as human beings are in 2013?” (Toronto Sun, 2013) The reason I thought it was so ironic is exactly related to that whole similarity of perspective to Fox News in the U.S. The author (Bill Harris) is reading his own short-comings into the world, exactly as they do with Fox News. And that helped me to understand them a bit better (even if I completely disagree). They don’t mind lying about “facts” (or being confusing, selfish, doubtful and short-sighted) because they think everyone goes through life that way. Much though, as conservatives, they “hearken back” to bygone days… it seems they don’t really believe that those days were much better than today. At least privately, as Mr. Harris asks in the quote. It must be a hard, depressing way to live. I suppose that’s why they’re so determined to make life just as difficult for the rest of us, who actually have hope in where we are and where we’re going. Or maybe it’s because of that hope that they want to make it difficult. Perhaps if we had more faith in ourselves and our communities, and not in external systems, economics, gods or governments, we might get along better.

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