2012

Sharon November 11th, 2009

I admit, I really kind of enjoy disaster movies.  Don’t get me wrong – I don’t like them because I get to say “see, I told you the end was coming!”  Quite the opposite – I actually like them for their unintentional comic value.  Consider, for example, “The Day After Tomorrow” which took the ridiculous “outrunning the explosion” convention and changed it to “outrunning the temperature change.”  See our plucky heroes race ahead of a wave of unusually cold weather…  good luck with trying to replicate that scene.

Or think about the spate of asteroid movies that hit in the late 1990s.  First there’s the one where we send Bruce Willis to save us from an asteroid.  You don’t actually even need to watch the movie to get the joke – that’s hysterical in itself.  Seriously, Bruce Willis.  

Or consider  “Deep Impact” which has my favorite product placement ever – in several scenes, those fixed to survive the asteroid are packing huge quantities of “Ensure” – you know, that stuff they feed to nursing home patients.  Not dried beans, not actual foods, but heavy cans of the most boring dietary supplement ever.  I could just see the advertising campaign – “When you Want to Survive the Apocalypse, Turn to Ensure!”

Because I think these movies are funny, I admit to kind of wanting to see 2012.  The movie has all the stuff that you want in a ridiculous disaster movie – major icons collapsing on top of people (only Christian ones, apparently), tidal waves, earthquakes, meteors, John Cusack assuring his family that they are absolutely going to make it as they outdrive the meteor strike in an RV….what’s not to love?

Realistically, at the rate I go to movies, I’ll see it on Netflix in the actual 2012.  And I should note that while I don’t necessarily expect life to be normal as we think of it now in 2012, I am approaching December 21, 2012 with precisely the same level of seriousness that I paid to Y2K – zippo. 

Yup, your apocalyptic prophetess of doom is not worried about Mayan Calendars, and I remember flipping on the radio on December 31, 1999 and saying to Eric that it some guy had gotten cash out of a cash machine in Australia, so it probably didn’t matter that we never even got extra cash out, much less bought a year’s supply of anything.  I’m concerned with the gradual degradation of our planet, and with potentially fairly dramatic drops in quality of life – but the end of the actual world I leave to other people to worry about.

In my long-abandoned doctoral dissertation, I explored end of the world fantasies in early modern literature, which arose as responses to the waves of the black death that passed through Europe during the Renaissance.  I wrote about the way that authors from Shakespeare to Mary Shelley extrapolated from the disasters, or perceived sense of disaster,  that surrounded them to feel that the end of the world was at hand.

This is as old a reaction as can be imagined – and as normal.  In Genesis, when the destruction of Sodom drives Lot and his daughters into the surrounding caves, his daughters, traumatized, having lost their mother and sisters, and witnessed the destruction of everything, believe that they and their father are the only people left in the world, and set about the hard practical work of repopulating the earth – incestuously with their father.  I tend to think of this story, appearing as it does right after Noah, as the reminder that sometimes the disaster does strike, but that we’re also supposed to check, maybe even two or three times,  before we leap to the most extreme conclusions. 

I argued in my doctoral work that our fears about depopulation and disaster and  overpopulation and disaster – these are linked to our fantasies about the same subjects, indeed, the two are inextricable.   And in this sense, I see the focus on 2012 as another species of the same – we cannot decide if we are more attracted to the disaster or afraid of it.  On the one hand, we don’t want to face it. Once we have, however, we often allow our fantasies free reign – and the fantasy of an emptied and scoured earth, and, of course, the plucky band of survivors (of which we are always one)  is a lot of fun – if you are going to accept the possibility of disaster, the modulated, gradual, ecological disaster isn’t nearly as much fun as the end of the world, complete with meteors.

I think the increasing obsession with the apocalypse – in literature, in faith, art, in ordinary people’s minds is an expression of a collective sense of wrongness that many people feel but cannot articulate.  There have always been historical periods that were more focused on ends than others, and that focus tends to reflect a sense of things being unsettled, and of vulnerability.  For most people, there is nothing to pin that general sense of unease upon – so they attach it to anything that draws popular attention, whether likely or not.   For this I don’t blame them – many people rightly have the sense we cannot go on as we are now.  What’s wrong is their vision of how it must play out.

To my mind, there’s nothing really wrong with enjoying a romp in the apocalypse – whether in novels (maybe I’ll bring back the post-apocalyptic novel club, actually!), or in film.  What worries me is the degree to which people believe this stuff – that they fail to distinguish fantasy from reality.  Or in which they come to believe that unless there is fire in the sky and collapsing monuments, we’re not in the disaster.  That is, we watch these highly dramaticized fantasies of the end of the world, and think that’s what it looks like, and anything that doesn’t look like a movie disaster film - say, millions more hungry people, millions of refugees,  an increasing and grinding poverty, the wearing down of collective infrastructure, the death of species – that doesn’t count.

It may seem strange for someone who warns about decline and fall to dismiss apocalyptic prophecy – but mostly I do.  I think end-of-the-world fixations operate as substitutes for the reality we face – that the world will go on, slowly, painfully, with ever increasing losses, and perhaps sudden disasters that are not the end of the world, but only the end of lives and places.  And after each one we will look around like Lot’s daughters and ask “did the world end, because it feels like it has?”  But it will not have – we will merely be one more vast loss up in a world of declines.

Every once in a while someone emails to ask me if I’m worried about Mayan Prophecy and 2012, and I’m not.  I probably will see the movie eventually, and add it to my list of comic disaster films.  And then I’ll go home, and try again to make people see that a far less dramatic, but more serious disaster is already underway.

Sharon

37 Responses to “2012”

  1. Nancyon 11 Nov 2009 at 8:39 am

    Actually, my understanding of 2012 is that it has nothing to do with the apocalypse or the silly Hollywood hype. And it is not something that will be happening on any specific date in 2012. My understanding of the Mayan prophecy is that it involves a spiritual awakening and moving to a higher level of consciousness by a “critical mass” of people. The “disasters” that are supposed to happen are not of the Hollywood variety, but have already begun (i.e. economic and climate crises etc.) and are moving us all toward this spiritual awakening. This may not be any easier to believe for some than the Hollywood version, but I thought it important to clarify.

  2. Sharonon 11 Nov 2009 at 8:52 am

    Well, as I understand it (and you may know better than I) there’s considerable debate about whether the new era was to be brought about by consciousness change or disaster, but point taken.

    Sharon

  3. Nom_de_Guerreon 11 Nov 2009 at 9:10 am

    Hollywood does function as a zeitgeist mirror: in times of prosperity- whatever that means- we have movies about the apocalypse and war and in times of conflict and death we have romantic comedies.

    ex:
    Musicals in 40’s, Alien invasions and horror movies in the 50’s, violent cop movies in the 80’s, the wave of bro-mances in the post 911, etc, etc.

    The current pathos derives from the widespread common knowledge that we are hurting the planet so we love to expiate that sin, even if only on celluloid.

    (loved the post)

  4. Stephen Bon 11 Nov 2009 at 9:15 am

    It’s funny you should write this as I’ve had several students ask me about 2012 just recently. My answer to them was more or less what you’ve laid out here – the real danger lies in a somewhat slower, more gradual, yet more insidious decline. You, of course Sharon, just articulated it much more completely, so maybe I’ll just clip today’s blog :-)

    Thanks as always.

  5. e4on 11 Nov 2009 at 9:17 am

    Sharon, I can’t believe you don’t buy into a questionably interpreted prophecy from the essentially extinct belief system of an essentially extinct civilization!

    Isn’t this essentially a Y2K-style interesting turn of the calendar, but without all the technology implications?

    If there’s one thing we love, it’s a fable about how reliance on technology (along with our own hubris) will bring us down. If there’s another thing we love, it’s the belief that some ancient people had great and mystical Lost Wisdom, and our lack of understanding (along with our own hubris) will bring us down.

    Somebody should combine the two. Maybe a peak oil/climate change story where only the Amish (or some aboriginal group? or Tibetan monks?) survive. A plucky band of them, naturally. I wonder how Bruce Willis would look in a full beard with no mustache…

  6. Lizon 11 Nov 2009 at 9:57 am

    I think that people in general are much more capable of wrapping their heads around an acute crisis than a chronic one.

  7. Lyleon 11 Nov 2009 at 10:09 am

    You wrote:
    ‘Or consider “Deep Impact” which has my favorite product placement ever – in several scenes, those fixed to survive the asteroid are packing huge quantities of “Ensure” – you know, that stuff they feed to nursing home patients. Not dried beans, not actual foods, but heavy cans of the most boring dietary supplement ever. I could just see the advertising campaign – “When you Want to Survive the Apocalypse, Turn to Ensure!”’

    Hey, my father (who is _not_ in a care home) drinks Ensure all the time, but it’s because we’re trying to gain back some of the weight he’s lost.

    (Just wanted to post that — I’m going to come back and post a more meaningful response later.)

  8. Debon 11 Nov 2009 at 10:20 am

    Disaster narratives have been around forever. Gilgamesh, Noah, Lot etc etc. Hollywood is just expressing a particular cultural take on them. Perhaps what we need to look at is not the disaster, but that they pretty much all have redemption and survival at the end. I like them because they tell me that even if hellfire is raining from the sky, survival is possible, if not pleasant.

    Unless, of course, you watch On the Beach.

    John Ringo’s new paperback The Last Centurion is an interesting climate change disaster novel. It’s very right wing and he changes the scenario totally but it does have some interesting points. You might want to add it to your list.

    Deb

  9. Sharonon 11 Nov 2009 at 10:22 am

    Lyle, there’s nothing wrong with ensure per se – and it is an important tool for rehydrating and ensuring basic nutrition in people physically unable to eat solid food. But you wouldn’t want to make it the basis of your survival, to the exclusion of other foods unless you had no choice.

    Sharon

  10. Greenpaon 11 Nov 2009 at 10:35 am

    I also find disaster flicks amusing; mostly because of the badly warped science they contain, virtually without exception.

    If you’ve never seen it, Sharon, you need to rush out and rent “The Killer Shrews”. And be very very careful not to miss the very last bit of dialogue in the movie. I’ve shown it to friends who’ve wound up talking about it for years.

    “The Day After Tomorrow” is generally hilarious, one cliché after another. But- it DID have one really good point- which is ignored by any review I ever saw-

    Their scenario for a completely unforeseen type of disaster – is absolutely bang-on correct.

    None of the climate modelers I know have talked about the sudden development of vortices that drag down the incredibly cold air of the upper atmosphere- but it’s not totally impossible.

    In all the bustle and fuss over what will actually happen next, climate-wise; we usually forget that it’s not at ALL unlikely that what happens next is not even on our menu.

    We’re off the edge of the map- and that’s worth remembering.

  11. Sharonon 11 Nov 2009 at 10:43 am

    Wow, Greenpa, I’ve never even heard of _The Killer Shrews_, but after reading this review http://www.badmovies.org/movies/killershrews/, I can’t wait. My favorite is his list of valuable lessons learned from the movie:

    “On the road of life there are small mammals that can breed faster than you can say “Zub zub” or “Zoom zoom”, or whatever the heck it was that kid used to say that made people want to buy cars.

    Shrews do not understand the concept of Tupperware.

    Fathers are always happy to indulge their daughter’s alcoholism.

    Hispanic men call everyone “señor.”

    If you are fat and need to climb a tree, make sure it’s not a sapling.

    Knowing the difference between a wash basin and a chamber pot can be critical.
    Mister Ed was eaten by giant shrews.

    Under the right circumstance, rotting carrion is romantic.

    Keep your friends close, and your enemies directly in front of you.”

  12. Sharonon 11 Nov 2009 at 10:52 am

    Not to deny the potential value of Greenpa’s last lines of the movie, but as I was wandering though bad movie reviews, I’m even more taken by this one: http://www.badmovies.org/movies/giantclaw/

    Lessons learned from the movie The Giant Claw:

    “Seen from space, the nations really are different colors.

    The best way to avoid saying something that you will regret later is to drink lots of moonshine.

    The French Canadians are deathly afraid of Mexican food.

    Battleships are quite large and often the target of hyperbole.

    When is a pattern not a pattern? When it is a spiral.

    The Pentagon is located across the street from the Capitol building.

    Osmosis: os·mo·sis (oz-mo’sis, os-) n., 1. When a bird eats something.

    Residents of Montana must be crack shots. It’s the law.

    Never mix particle physics and a snowmaking machine.

    Scientific instruments explode when they do not work.

    Where there is smoke, there is fire, but there could also be antimatter.”

  13. Mike Cagleon 11 Nov 2009 at 12:43 pm

    That movie seems like it might be fun. Apparently, though, the whole idea of the Mayan calendar predicting the end of the world is a misinterpretation. Here’s a good article about it that mentions that:

    http://www.nytimes.com/2009/11/08/movies/08gray.html?_r=1&scp=1&sq=Emmerich&st=cse

    This quote from the director is interesting:

    “I think we have become more and more pessimistic about the future,” he said. “I see it in myself. In ‘Independence Day’ the world was something worth defending. In ‘Day After Tomorrow,’ the message was, ‘We’ll go down if we don’t stop what we’re doing,’ and in ‘2012,’ ‘We’re going down no matter what.’ ”

    And … speaking of Noah, There’s a good book called Noah’s Flood, about the actual disaster that apparently inspired the ancient flood myths from which the Noah story evolved. It describes the seawater inundation of a former lake that became the Black Sea, in about 5600 BC.

    And speaking of Noah, Lot and his daughters, etc., a good book just out is The Book of Genesis by Robert Crumb, the amazing illustrator and comics artist.

  14. Danon 11 Nov 2009 at 1:28 pm

    The thing about Y2K is this. It’s a pretty good example of how our society was faced with a major problem: outdated computer technology that potentially wouldn’t know how to handle a date beyond 11:59:59 12/31/1999, and how we successfully responded to it: thousands of IT gurus working endless hours to bring new systems online. (This also contributed to the dot-com bubble of that time.) Because nothing happened doesn’t mean there wasn’t anything to worry about. It just means they pulled it off.

    What’s different about the predicament we’re facing now is, it requires all of us to get up and do something about what we’re facing, as opposed to just people who work within a (then) very niche market.

    Which brings me to 2012, because I think in order for that to happen, we DO need some sort of shift in consciousness. It is theorized that the Mayan Long Count Calendar (the one we keep hearing about, which actually existed prior to the rise of the Mayan Civilization, and was more likely created during the time of the Olmecs) was used to track the evolution of consciousness, much unlike our Gregorian Calendar, which of course tracks time.

    The Long Count covers a large period of time called the Great Cycle (roughly 26,000 years), which is due to culminate on 12/21/2012 (This date was reached by backdating archeological records to determine when the calendar began.) The calendar doesn’t actually end at that point; it simply resets, as it’s a cyclical calendar (while ours is linear). One fascinating aspect to this is that the “end” of their calendar coincides with a very rare galactic alignment: The December Solstice Sun will be in direct alignment with the Galactic Center. Ideas of what this meant for their culture is told in the stories of their very rich and fascinating mythology.

    There is such a huge amount of material there that Hollywood could have used, but like always, they go for the shock and awe of an “End Of The World” disaster scenario, filtering everything through our own cultural narratives… and ends up making it really hard for anyone with a genuine interest in the 2012 mythology to not get snickered at. ;)

  15. e4on 11 Nov 2009 at 1:54 pm

    Apparently The Killer Shrews movie is public domain, and available online in its entirety: http://video.google.com/videoplay?docid=820373632674837082

  16. Lyleon 11 Nov 2009 at 1:58 pm

    OK, now that I’ve had a doctor examine that tick bite (talk about recipes for possible personal disasters)…

    “Mayan Prophecy and 2012″. As a couple of your commenters have already noted, the turnover of the Long Count of the Mayan calendar (think of it as an odometer that’s racking over) isn’t about an apocalypse. As far as we (and the descendants of the Mayans) know, the Mayans didn’t even _have_ an Apocalypse myth.

    Someone, somewhere, decided that since one (!) of the surviving examples of the Mayan calendar (and not a complete one at that) doesn’t have a date past the equivalent of December 21, 2012, that must mean that the Mayans believed that the world would end on that date. That’s kind of liking saying that an ephemeris that doesn’t have entries past a certain date must mean the same thing (although most emphemerides admittedly don’t cover a time period as long as the Long Count).

    As far as Apocalypse traditions in the West go, did the research for your doctoral dissertation include the christian Millenarians/Chiliastics?

  17. Mike Cagleon 11 Nov 2009 at 2:16 pm

    Dan, I find it extremely doubtful that the Mayans even knew that we exist in a galaxy, let alone anything about the galactic center.

  18. I’m famous in my family for loving disaster movies. Even dorky disaster movies (which, you are so right, offer comic value).

    I don’t worry about the world ending in 2012, I am more concerned about a much slower falling apart caused by bad decisions of people in power. Thus, prepping is a good thing. :)

  19. Danon 11 Nov 2009 at 2:50 pm

    Mike- Why?

    The Galactic Center was clearly visible in the night sky (far more to them than it was to us) as it’s the dark rift you see in the center of the Milky Way (the galactic equator.) Their creation myth involves the sun rising in the center of the Milky Way. Their astronomy was incredibly advanced, especially when you consider the large spans of time they were working with.

    Just because they didn’t have the same kind of technology as we do doesn’t mean it wasn’t as advanced, or that they stumbled upon the technology of an earlier civilization (as I mentioned, it’s thought that the Long Count was created by the Olmecs, who preceded the Maya). And if it was indeed a tool to track the evolution of consciousness, then suffice to say their perception of the world was entirely different than our own.

    Either way, I find it fascinating…. and it’s all far more interesting than what a Hollywood Disaster Movie (as fun as it may be to watch) depicts it to be.

  20. Sharonon 11 Nov 2009 at 7:20 pm

    Ummm, let me cue husband the astrophysicist – we’re not actually lining up with the center of the galaxy in any sense – we’re about 6 degrees off, and moving further off. We’ll be very slightly *further* away on 12/21/2009. So no, nothing very interesting is happening then, from an astronomical standpoint. I won’t speak on the evolution of consciousness, but I’d need a compelling case.

    Sharon

  21. Brad K.on 12 Nov 2009 at 12:34 am

    Sharon,

    When we talk about disasters, hungry people come very much to mind – in the form of deprivation, hoarding, food riots and wanton destruction of food and infrastructure through mob violence and ignorance.

    I think the allure of “ensure” is to provide nutrition in the face of ignorance. There are lots of people that know nothing about nutrition than the grocery store freezer, the fast food store menu, and TV ads. Ensure at least allows time for people to learn about providing for themselves and their families. Maybe. Of course it is preferable for people to prepare – including what food is for, how to prepare it off the grid, how and what to grow and store, etc. But that is for peasants, and schools teach our kids they need to “master” the economic money machine trades. One for-instance – why is Home Economics on the “other” track from “college prep”?

    I am looking forward to 2012 with John Cusack, too. Have you signed up for your place in the 2012 lottery for the few seats left in the shelters that have been built? The Institute for Human Continuity (http://www.instituteforhumancontinuity.org/) site is still open for you to secure a chance for survival . .

    More realistic, and more probable, I think, given the shenanigans and apparently deliberate dismantling of the American economy by Washington, DC, is the forecast civil war and fragmentation of the US predicted for 2010. Google “2010 kgb analyst fragment us”. One report of the story was in the Wall Street Journal, http://online.wsj.com/article/SB123051100709638419.html. First presented in September 1998, Igor Panarin claims that the chances are about 55% that economic and moral failure (morale failure?), mass immigration will trigger civil war and the collapse of the dollar.

    I wonder – will Obama cause the collapse of the dollar, precipitating the very crisis that Panarin forsaw?

    Anyway, I see Panarin’s collapse prediction as being more likely than a foreseen asteroid strike. Particularly as multinational conglomerates gain more and more control over agribusiness, making our food supply even less profitable for farmers, more tightly bound to a fragile, monocultural infrastructure, and destroying the past’s diversity and resilience of food supply.

    The best remedy I could think of, to avoid the most likely food supply failures, would be to invalidate all patents and copyrights issued that cover food, seed, crop chemicals, and other related agricultural products and processes. Next would be reducing corporate taxes to 1% of gross revenue, a flat 6% income tax, and cap local and federal spending to revenues collected – not even projected revenues could be used for budgets. That all seems as likely as the Mayans predicting a meteor strike for December, 2012. For all I know, the ending the Mayans foresaw was the development of Facebook or the IRS, they just goofed up a decimal point about the actual date.

  22. Danon 12 Nov 2009 at 8:35 am

    Heh, well I certainly won’t argue with an astrophysicist. The reading I’ve done does indicate that the sun, being one-half a degree wide, will take roughly 36 years to precess through the galactic center. This process started in 1980 and will culminate in 2016. So one could say that this entire time is the “2012 era,” and many of the 2012 researchers claim that looking for something grand and monumental to happen on the pinpoint date of 12/21/12 is missing the point; it’s the whole era in which the “shift” will take place. And I don’t think anyone can argue that our world is going through some mighty profound changes right now. ;)

    Please don’t get me wrong, I’m not trying to argue with anyone or insist that this is all fact, or claim to posses any type of ancient esoteric knowledge… it’s just an area of interest of mine is all. :)

  23. Rick Springeron 12 Nov 2009 at 9:25 am

    Good one, I concur. David Brower, known as the archdruid of the environmental movement pointed out on his death bed that his life had been for naught. He had worked throughout to see some significant change and yet he had witnessed the wholesale destruction of our planet continue unabated. Apocolyptic or catastophism are not the words we need but we do need to become nearly fearless in our willingness to shift not only our consciousness but our lives. The problem is not the solution but a lack of will to implement the solution. Thanks for your continuing great blogs. As your words awaken those to change to free coffee, only one example, they have value, but we have to remember that words that do not inspire actual physical change, are dead. Knowledge is not the end all but action based on knowledge. Freedom of speech only means we have the right to complain.

  24. Frostwolf in Troyon 12 Nov 2009 at 10:01 am

    Ahhh, 2012.

    Being the both/and kind of gent that I am, I do look forward to the egg-on-face of the soy-addicted newage spewin’ crystal-suckers who will awaken December 22, 2012 and go, “oh damn. It’s just another day. Feh!”

    On the other hand, I do feel that there is something to the energetic waves that are riding the cosmos at present. Interdimensional elements are coming together in surprising confluences reminding us all that we are much more powerful than we realize.

    A Mayan cosmology researcher just released a book called “The Purposeful Universe,” which is actually an odd exploration of biology, wave forms, and the ancient wisdom from the Mayan calendrical-based science. I found it a bit over-my-head because it goes deeply into cellular structures, but one of the things Mr. Calleman strongly states is that Darwinism is something that “works” only at a certain level of organismal functioning, and that it doesn’t apply across-the-board. Scientists attempting to create a Unified Theory of Everything miss the boat when they start from the Darwinist base. Evidently as someone else posted, the evolution of consciousness was mapped out in the Mayan science with its obsession with time and the cosmos.

    Calleman is a bit of an outlier in one way though–he suggests the endpoint of the Calendar is in October 2011, and that is not meant to be an apocalyptic event but a unification of all the “underworlds” of wave-form epochs. He speculates (and interestingly enough I think Teilhard de Chardin, Duane Elgin Joanna Macy, David Korten, and Thomas Berry each in their own distinct ways agrees with him) that we are headed into a year starting next November that will be unlike ANYTHING we’ve ever experienced before. Just as the time-period since 1999 has seen our sense of time accelerate to the point of making quite a few people blippin’ utselly-nutsel-nuts batman!

    Btw, I do also like disaster flix, but … well, it IS Roland Emmerich. I still remember the laughable Independence Day (he did that one, right), which featured the dog and his owner jumping into a concrete encased room inside a tunnel when a fireball is about to incinerate everything, and we’re supposed to believe that they survived? Oh, puh-leeeeeeeez. And in Day After Tomorrow, Dennis Quaid survives the freeze-i-cane because he can turn on a gas stove? Beggars belief.

    My favorite bad disaster-sci fi film: Starship Troopers. “Wanna know MORE?” :)

  25. Debon 12 Nov 2009 at 10:09 am

    Mad Max–the post disaster world. Sometimes I wonder if it isnt all that far off.

  26. Danon 12 Nov 2009 at 10:11 am

    “Being the both/and kind of gent that I am, I do look forward to the egg-on-face of the soy-addicted newage spewin’ crystal-suckers who will awaken December 22, 2012 and go, “oh damn. It’s just another day. Feh!””

    Well, like I said… anyone who expects something magical and mystical to happen on that pinpoint in time is missing the point. :)

  27. MEAon 12 Nov 2009 at 11:33 am

    The Last Centurion — has anyone else read it — beside Deb, I mean? I started it, and just could not read it. The anti-small farm rants were too much.

    The diaster movie the make me laugh until it hurs is the one where they cut the women’s let off, first slap on a table leg and later a machine gun (apparenly a recoiless one) and — oh, god, it’s so awful that I can’t even type it.

  28. Penny Walkeron 12 Nov 2009 at 1:06 pm

    Well killer shrews aside, what your original post reminded me of are the lines from T S Elliot’s The Hollow Men :

    This is the way the world ends, this is the way the world ends, this is the way the world ends, not with a bang but a whimper.

    Cheery, eh?

    Penny

  29. Raymond in Portageon 12 Nov 2009 at 1:33 pm

    This is a good comment on the whole 2012 end-of-the-world fantasy: Carnival of Bunkum at

    http://www.hplusmagazine.com/articles/art-entertainment/2012-carnival-bunkum

    For my part I think that some people prefer the prospect of large scale death & destruction by an outside agency (supernatural or otherwise) to the hard work of dealing with the real existential threats to the human race such as resource depletion & climate change.

  30. Debon 12 Nov 2009 at 6:24 pm

    MEA–The Last Centurion is definitely the opposing view. He does make a couple points I thought interesting later on–the distribution of the food and the absolute ignorance of the corporate farmers in the wake of a climate disaster and rampant hunger. I read everything–keep your friends close and your enemies closer…

    Deb

  31. Karenon 12 Nov 2009 at 9:17 pm

    V-the original 1983 mini-series-http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0085106 -this is the possibility I worry about! Did you ever see “They Live” ?-http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0096256 – Watch it if you dare!!!!

  32. MEAon 13 Nov 2009 at 10:14 am

    Deb — thanks. I’ll give it another go as I’d like to see AGRO get its turn.

  33. Danon 13 Nov 2009 at 11:25 am

    MEA-

    They Live is one of my favorite flicks of all time, despite its absurdly over-the-top campyness (intentionally done, I believe, and part of the genius).

    It’s also shockingly relevant to what’s going on today…. maybe even more so.

  34. Danon 13 Nov 2009 at 11:26 am

    Sorry, I meant that last post to be addressed to Karen. :) But I do agree, watch They Live if you’ve never seen it. Well worth it.

  35. Rob Westonon 13 Nov 2009 at 6:42 pm

    Saw it a couple of days ago and laughed my socks off almost from beginning to end. Cried as well. I have never seen such astonishingly amazingly ingenious special effects technology put to work in the service of a more facile, banal, excruciatingly stupid plot in my entire life. There’s something quite horrifying about the juxtaposition of such technical sophistication and such philosophical poverty in the same department. Sharon’s point about the dangers of this is well made. Actually, thinking about that angle, I suddenly feel quite ill… this movie should come with a credibility warning and a sickbag.

    Rob x

  36. If It's Chili Todayon 14 Nov 2009 at 12:25 am

    …..It may not be chimichangas tomorrow.

    Lessons learned from watching Big Gobs of Ice A-Meltin’: Part I, In The Beginning

    That the French Canadians are deathly afraid to run out of Mexican food. ;)

    ¡Viva México!

    We’ll always have our fond memories.

  37. PeterCon 16 Nov 2009 at 11:12 am

    G’day!

    Let’s call it what it is, disaster porn. A dirty little thing that many of us like to watch.

    Like most Hollywood it has nothing to do with your life, what your life could ever be like, or how life ever actually happens. I have heard some REALLY bad things about this movie though and it seems many of your commenters agree.

    Still, let’s keep it our dirty little secret and go give it a watch when we can. :)

    Have a good apocalypse!
    PeterC

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