Lo-fi Beats to Save the World

September 3, 2020
Jamie Withorne

The following was originally published in Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists.

Black and white diagram of head with brain and rays of light emitted from the brain

Graphic used with permissions from the record label Cool Mint’s website.

Recently, there has been a renewed push to get new and diverse voices into the field (see “US Department of State” above), and many of these efforts have relied on the use of popular culture and media to attempt to get people interested in reducing the nuclear threat. But 99 Luftballons and Dr. Strangelove can only go so far. It may come as a shock to those already in the nuclear policy space, but, as a borderline Gen Z/Millennial, I often think that these traditional nuclear pop culture media are old and outdated. Sure, “vintage” can be cool, but it doesn’t necessarily provide a fresh perspective; Cool Mint does.

Cool Mint is not designed for the traditionally pale, male, and stale. It’s designed expressly for young people who listen to good music and care about the world they live in (and might also just happen to wear dope sneakers or have tattoos and piercings). And it helps prove that saving the world from nuclear weapons definitely isn’t boring.

Other initiatives, such as Bombshelltoe (which is named after the classic low-top shelltoe sneaker pioneered by Adidas), founded by the incredible Lovely Umayam, also use Cool Mint’s approach—creating content not to please the executive directors of arms control organizations, but rather, specifically to attract new audiences. And because they operate on the premise that attracting new involves making new, these initiatives eschew reprocessing the same Spotify playlists and filmographies.

Continue reading at Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists.

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