Thursday, April 05, 2007

The End Is Near

Maybe not so strangely, while driving to the car wash and listening to the news this morning, the title "Apocalypse Now" sprang into my mind. It seemed that every other story was about global warming, the upcoming hurricane season, nuclear terrorism, or more senseless murder in Iraq and Afghanistan. Thanks for nothing, Al Gore and George W. I realized I was not the only one with that feeling when I stopped by a bookstore and noticed all the titles having to do with end-of-world-as-we-know-it scenarios of one sort or another. And now, I find an article discussing this exact topic. So despite the absolutely wonderful weather that Houston is enjoying today, this has all made for a rather depressing day.
In one, a thick layer of ash covers everything as a nameless man and his son push their cart through a land of absolute silence and darkness without end.

In another, the world inexplicably floods, sending a watertight hospital full of sleep-deprived doctors and their young patients bobbing on the waves like a new Noah's Ark.

And in a third, the Manhattan Company dispatches a team of rogues from a devastated Northeast to settle an untouched part of tidewater Virginia inhabited by a 21st Century Pocahontas.
The notion of apocalypse -- the word is from the Greek for "the lifting of the veil" -- has been with us, in various forms, for a long time. But it's still worth asking: What does it mean that the dream life of the richest, most scientifically advanced nation in history is troubled by nightmares of the end?

Being the cynic that I generally am, I have to believe that those producing the bulk of the books and movies on the end-days topics are cashing in on a trend rather than expressing any real concerns that they may have. Some are cashing in at the bank, some are making political points to be used later, and some are doing both. Oh well, I suppose this beats movies about out-of-control monsters from Japan.


  1. Hi Sam,
    Just dropping by to let you know that I nominated you for the Thinking Blogger Award

  2. Ah Sam, forget the end of the world books, I saw today that Godzilla vs Mothra is now on DVD! Much more entertaining plus there's a happy ending, unless you live in Tokyo I suppose, which you don't, so you'll be fine ;)

  3. Thanks, Amy, much appreciated. I'm flattered that you thought to do that.

  4. :-) Stefanie, I grew up on the original Godzilla kind of stuff...used to spin all day Saturday at the local theater where for 35 cents (I kid you not...this was in the late '50s) we saw a double feature with serials and cartoons galore. It was an all day event.

    You're right. This end of the world stuff is a downer when there's so much of it around. A little bit of that stuff has always been around and I love it in small doses...not when it is everywhere.

  5. The good news is, if you keep digging through the bookstore, you'll find books on the same subjects but with the opposite point of view.

    What you see on display is all marketing and politics... I know; unfortunately I put it there.

  6. The problem, though, as I see it, Anne, is that the media only hypes one side of the argument. Even the bookstores realize that bad news sells books and that good news is not nearly so profitable to all involved.

  7. You're right. It's a big problem. Sometimes, when we're short books for a table, I'll try to put the opposing viewpoint on the table too. I don't get the opportunity much, though. And there's nothing I can do about it. It makes my skin crawl when I sell "An Inconvenient Truth," knowing that "The Politically Incorrect Guide to Global Warming" is sitting on the shelf collecting dust.