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It’s the end of the world as we know it

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"It’s the end of the world as we know it"

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Today’s question:  Why exactly does this garner so much media attention, including a front-page story in the New York Times?

Abby Haddad Carson and Robert Carson say Saturday is Judgment Day; the children, Joseph, Faith and Grace, right, do not.

The NY Times found its own snarky way to justify coverage of the imminent non-rapture, with its Friday front-pager, “Make My Bed? But You Say the World’s Ending.”

The NYT notes, “Thousands of people around the country are preparing for Saturday, also known as Judgment Day, when believers expect they will be absorbed into heaven in a process known as Rapture.”  Abby and Robert Carson “believe that the earth will begin to self-destruct on Saturday.”

And here’s something fascinating from one of the captions from the online photo gallery:

While Ms. Haddad Carson has quit her job, her husband still works as an engineer for the federal Department of Energy.  But the children still worry that there may not be enough money for college.

So much for that conservative meme that federal bureaucrats are liberal atheists.

Does all this coverage tell us more about the people like the Carson’s — or about the media itself?

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51 Responses to It’s the end of the world as we know it

  1. Esop says:

    Interesting indeed. It is sort of like giving climate change “skeptics” attention in the media. Their gullibility is remarkably similar. I hope the NYT will do a follow up interview with them tomorrow.

  2. Dickensian American says:

    I want a version of the shirt the guy in the middle is wearing. Except mine would be revised to say in red “It Began [the date in 1986 when Reagan removed the solar panels from the White House]”

    http://www.scientificamerican.com/article.cfm?id=carter-white-house-solar-panel-array

    Of course it began before that. I guess you could even make a shirt that says the following:

    The End Of The
    Universe
    Is Coming

    It Began
    At t sub 0

    A few edumacated folk might get it. Unless of course something like m-brane theory comes along proves this to be as wildly an inaccurate cosmology as apocalyptic pentacostalism.

  3. Adam R. says:

    At the same time the media are having a grand, giddy time with this foolish story, they are mostly ignoring a dire warning from 17 Nobel laureates that “Science makes clear that we are transgressing planetary boundaries that have kept civilization safe for the past 10,000 years.”

    http://globalsymposium2011.org/wp-content/uploads/2011/05/The-Stockholm-Memorandum.pdf

  4. Mark Shapiro says:

    Perhaps one reason that our Grey Lady puts nonsense like this on the front page is that it does not trigger the avalanche of hate mail and hate comments that they get with anything even vaguely liberal.

    I have even seen the right-wing noise machine disparage global warming and clean energy on technical blogs like CNET and MIT Technology Review. They are often the first commenters, and they are mean and ugly.

    Maybe they have trained the folks at the NYT to avoid “liberal” news topics through simple aversion therapy (in conjunction with the power of advertising that Jeff Huggins cites).

  5. prokaryotes says:

    Warm-up for the real impact, which is going to hit almost randomly throughout the entire globe. You cannot pinpoint it and it’s a creepy misery, which aging people have a hard time to even grasp. The human brain is adjusted to think positive, to understand the current and avoid unknowns. That is why the denial is so successful. Just world believers we are and that flaw will take a huge hit on the industrialized civilization.

    Though we like to watch 2012 or read about end of times, because in our just world believes we ultimately believe it will pan out ok for us. Heck the hole bible is based on the climate scenarion, starting with the gilgamesh epos.

    The Epic of Gilgamesh is epic poetry from Mesopotamia and is among the earliest known works of literature. Scholars believe that it originated as a series of Sumerian legends and poems…

    A flood myth or deluge myth is a mythical or religious story of a great flood sent by a deity or deities to destroy civilization as an act of divine retribution. It is a theme widespread among many cultures, though it is perhaps best known in modern times through the biblical and Quranic account of Noah’s Ark, the Hindu puranic story of Manu, through Deucalion in Greek mythology or Utnapishtim in the Epic of Gilgamesh. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Great_Deluge

    Though the author would today write part 2, how we kept dreaming about immortality and build the hall civilization around it. Early philosophic logic uses metaphoric text and if you see Uruk the protagonist as “us”, the “human race as one unit” we have become again, The destroyer of Worlds we are.

    This kind of subliminal message is what drives “The end of the world as we know it” themes and addiction.

  6. George Ennis says:

    It is ironic that stories like this based only on one persons religious beliefs and calculations that the world is ending could garner so much media attention while the real story about what may end our way of life on this planet struggles to get heard.

  7. Don says:

    NYT had a front page photo last night of a PETA guy in a chicken suit carrying a sign that said something like, “Make your last supper vegan.” This is hugely amusing stuff. Lighten up!

  8. Berbalang says:

    I’m reminded of a newcaster’s comment that is so applicable to stories like this: “We’ll be back with more alleged news in just a moment.”

    They fired him.

  9. Don says:

    NYT. “At Apocalypse Central…”http://www.nytimes.com/2011/05/21/us/21doomsday.html?ref=us

  10. TomG says:

    Matthew 24:36
    “But of that day and hour knoweth no man, no, not the Angels of Heaven, but my Father only.”
    The words of Jesus.
    If these doomsdayers truely believe the bible, that passage alone should have clued them into the fact that Harold Camping is nuttier than a Christmas fruit cake.
    The sheer arrogance of this man that he thinks he knows more than Jesus and actually puts himself on the same level as God is simply mind numbing to me.

    Maybe that’s the problem…numb minds.

  11. Mike Roddy says:

    Harold Camping, the latest fruitcake to announce the end of the world, will bounce right back when nothing happens today. Fundamentalist religions have come up with specific dates like this many times, and their membership increases afterwards. Johovahs Witnesses predicted Armageddon several different times, and their ranks grew so fast that they ran out of room in Heaven for them and had to create new gallery seats.

    I was living in the San Francisco area in 1975, and a bunch of stoned out hippies went to the top of Mt. Tamalpais to get the last view of the holocaust below. Several goofy religions had converged on a date that year, just as there’s a Mayan 2012 bandwagon now. Big surprise: nothing happened, and their gurus did some fast talking about “recalculations”.

    It’s embarrassing. We’re not too bright. Just look at our movies, which have to have explosions and car crashes. It’s ironic that when some people take the trouble to learn about something that actually will cause catastrophe- global warming- most Americans draw a blank. Maybe it’s because gradually receding icecaps and slow starvation don’t produce exciting enough visuals, as boilerplate Armageddons do.

  12. dhogaza says:

    Today’s coverage in the NYT was better, as it dives into the financial empire Camping has built, discloses that about 80% of his own employees don’t believe the world will end today, that the organization is continuing on for its future plans, etc.

    I wish they’d started and ended there, one article exposing the scam aspect (apparently the upcoming rapture is a great fundraising tool).

  13. catman306 says:

    @Mike Roddy:
    “Maybe it’s because gradually receding icecaps and slow starvation don’t produce exciting enough visuals, as boilerplate Armageddons do.”
    It’s because TV has changed the consciousness of people who watch it daily. Now only events that would make interesting TV are considered worthy of our time. At least that’s what TV tells us. And most people believe it and that makes it real (to them).

    There’s supposed to be a big earthquake soon, maybe more than one, according to some. How about a big one that breaks many undersea communications cables simultaneously?

    The internet slows down to a crawl, then collapses due to power failures at too many hub locations. Wouldn’t that directly cause the end of the world as we know it? Almost every system we can think of depends in some way on the internet. A greatly slowed internet would really put almost everything we call ‘modern life’ into crisis mode. An EMP would do the same.

  14. Leland Palmer says:

    I think that this story is tapping into the anxiety that we all have about global warming, and tipping points. I think we all fear the tipping points- the deniers as much as the rest of us. It’s fear based denial and fearful acceptance of AGW that is driving this, IMO.

    Is it a positive thing or a negative thing? Is it similar to the Ethiopian jokes that people make when they hear about famine in Ethiopia- a way of accepting the news reports, acknowledging them, but going on with our daily lives?

    There were jokes about the Challenger disaster, for example, and the Heaven’s Gate cult suicide. Jokes appear to be a way we have of acknowledging these disasters.

    Did you know that they found another Heaven’s Gate victim, by the way? Yes, he was found under the sink…behind the Comet. :)

    My wife and I have had a fine time with this one, actually. We were joking about going outside and leaving little piles of old clothing, artfully arranged, as if someone had ascended into heaven and left his clothing behind. :)

    There also seems to be a atheist group which is charging people $135.00 to care for their pets, after the rapture, which we find particularly funny. It’s just another neglected business opportunity. :)

    It’s frustrating, but I think the reason this is so popular is that people are afraid of AGW tipping points. This craze is tapping into that fear, and it’s a sort of hysterical reaction to it, IMO.

    So, it’s not a way of ignoring AGW, at all, I think. Consciously or subconsciously, it’s a way of dealing with that fear, and finding some temporary relief from it.

  15. Sou says:

    If it’s good enough for Climate Progress, it’s good enough for the NYT.

    /joking

  16. GFW says:

    Dickensian American, I have James Peebles’ textbook on my shelf, so I can say I got your joke.

    Aside: the Haddad sister 2nd from right (Faith?) is hawt! :-)

  17. dp says:

    they’re making fun of ordinary people. plain and simple. ordinary people believe in magic. the NYT, on the other hand, believes in wall street, confidence fairies, and invisible bond vigilantes.

  18. The end of the world meme is quite ancient and has the benefit of coinciding with human experience, since many nations kingdoms and empires have promised to last forever and yet have all collapsed and returned to the dust. All this religious talk of the end of the world (which happened to peak in the years leading up to the new millennium) isn’t necessarily nonsense (though inspired by nonsense, misinterpretations of the Bible, and the garbage in – garbage out intellect of the gullible).

    I don’t imagine that the news story merited front page space on the New York Times, but it really isn’t much worse than the normal content of that newspaper.

    I’ve spent the last several decades telling people that this world is going to end and then explaining to them that the tragedy of the world ending is that it doesn’t actually end. There is no Divine rescue plan, no Jesus waiting up in Heaven to provide the Christians an easy escape from their troubles, and there are no intelligent aliens with technology and science capable of solving our self-generated environmental catastrophe just in time to save humankind from its alloted fate.

    In addition, I think it safe to say that there aren’t any Einsteins among the present day scientists who will receive whatever inspiration is necessary to provide humankind with a solution to the overpopulation – resource depletion – environmental destruction – climate change problem and lead humankind to the utopian future envisioned by science fiction, futurists and economists.

    The Earth existed quite well for billions of years without humankind and the Earth will be perfectly fine once humankind is extinction, our civilization gone, and all memory of humankind’s existence departed from the Universe.

    When speaking to the Christians I tell them that God was perfectly fine with the dinosaurs going extinct even after 160 million years of thorough domination of the Earth. The loss of a humankind after such a brief tenure of world domination doesn’t amount to much in the great scheme of things.

    But I’m willing to wait this controversy out if any Christian insists otherwise since they really do believe that God created this whole Universe and every living species on the planet for our own sake (evidently so that humankind could destroy them all).

    If God actually did create humankind in God’s own image … poor god! Atheism is less blasphemous than that idea!

  19. Fire Mountain says:

    May 21, 2011? Those fools – Don’t they know the real end of the world is Dec. 21, 2012, just like the Mayans said? :)

    Seriously, there is an apocalyptic air around today, because we have constructed a world that is deeply unstable – economically, socially and environmentally. We sense somewhere inside that we no longer are living on solid ground, but on seismically active turf ready to rumble. And we are right to feel that way.

    The real “end of the world” is the loss of climate stability we are now witnessing, and the emergence of feedback loops signifying high potential for a loss of any human possibility of control. From melting Arctic ice and decaying methane reservoirs to Amazonian drought and forest dieback, we are seeing a horror unfold before our eyes, and behaving like the classic deer in the headlights.

    If Arctic ice is replaced by blue water in summer 2012, maybe I’ll think those Mayans had something :) + :(

  20. Joan Savage says:

    As a cliff-hanger story that will be resolved by 6pm sharp, this one is a media plum in a slow news week. I relate it to climate change as an example of how people can reach for what looks like a certainty to reduce the anxiety that can come with uncertain conditions. Climate change includes the prediction of increased disruption, increased uncertainty, so reaching for false solidity may show up in several versions.

    As metaphor for dealing with the tortuous emergence of climate change, The Rapture, Noah’s Ark and the Book of Exodus are very difficult, as they are about escapes of a few to a pre-existing place of sanctuary, to be provided when it is needed, and to hell with the unfaithful.

    I contrast that to the Tolkien trilogy in which the main characters voluntarily leave a comfortable life and put themselves in harm’s way, reach out to make new friends and allies, and learn to build a sanctuary for the world through unselfish acts.

    Although it’s not a Tolkien quote, the directive of the wise young Whale Rider, “…take everyone with us,” speaks to this way.

  21. Richard Brenne says:

    My next-door neighbor is a little hard for the rest of us to get to know but generally seems like a pretty nice guy.

    Like so many Americans I’ve never seen him leave his house except in a 300 or 400 horsepower vehicle. His huge pick-up (hauling something 1 in some hundreds of trips), Corvette and now ear-splitting Harley each shake our house as he backs out his driveway, and the only thing they accomplish is to haul his literally fat ass around. Any thinking person in our society should have known about the dangers of Peak Oil, Climate Change and the other effects of such consumption and pollution for years if not decades, so there’s no excuse except the willful and wanton selfishness we call “freedom.”

    And he’d be viewed by most as one of the good guys, as successful and validated.

    So maybe many if not most Americans and those like us have it coming. (There’s no explaining the current and typically earlier suffering of billions of comparative innocents, however.) Not the absurd sudden Apocalypse but the agonizing decline into a lack of resources and environmental calamities with all the uncertainties, global then local wars, warlords, crime, confusion, injustice and finally starvation that means.

    And with no instantaneous redemption except what is earned, maybe over countless lifetimes as some Buddhists and others believe, because I sure don’t see redemption being earned here now by very many.

  22. Richard Brenne says:

    Joan Savage (#20) – As always I love your ideas. Our daughter reminded many of the girl in Whale Rider and I love that movie as a realistic yet deeply spiritual classic, and even enjoyed the real-life emulation epidemic of countless teenagers riding whales everywhere.

  23. Richard Brenne says:

    The NYT photo shown here doesn’t reveal, happily, their backsides, but in appearance aren’t this attractive family kind of the Kardashians of Doom? Too bad their reality show would be cancelled so abruptly if the parents are right.

  24. Mike says:

    Anti-depressants have been shown to help in some cases of OCD. Has anyone tested anti-depressants on these people? Maybe I should get some!

  25. OregonStream says:

    It’s interesting that these people are being compared in some circles with those concerned about accelerated climate change. Of course, one is backed by solid science. And like a friend of mine said of the 21st, we ain’t gonna get out of it that easy. Pushing things too far in a world of several billion territorial humans will likely mean a long slog. But that lacks a certain media “sex appeal”.

  26. GFW says:

    I nominate dp for comment of the week:

    > Ordinary people believe in magic. The NYT, on the other hand, believes in wall street, confidence fairies, and invisible bond vigilantes.

  27. Ray Kondrasuk says:

    Scroll down on this Common Dreams article… find the video clip of Bill Maher doing the Rapture Weather forecast… it’s a scream!

    http://www.commondreams.org/further/2011/05/20-5

  28. Yvette says:

    If we really wanted to sell the truth of climate change just wrap it in religion. The apocalypse story is there; just devise a promise of an everafter. The converts would flock to the cause and the destructive path we’re on might have a chance of turning. Only thing, if done, it would call for people to lie to those starving for something more ethereal to believe will come save them.

    Sadly, I’ve never grasped what it is in some peoples’ psyches that drive them to jump on the far out religios bus. I’ve never felt I needed the promise of heaven or the threat of hell to live an ethical life and treat others and this planet the way I wish to be treated.

  29. Richard Brenne says:

    What’s interesting is the History, National Geographic and Discovery Channels have had by far the best and most frequent Climate Change and Peak Oil programming totaling far more hours than the mostly incomplete seconds-long non-sequitur snippets the three networks, CNN and the Weather Channel have had, to their eternal shame. (ABC’s excellent “Earth 2100” is one major network exception but ran only once in June on ABC but has been repeated on History or one of the other cable networks.)

    Of course all the best programs at History, Nat Geo and Discovery are dwarfed by their programming selling junk science and junk history about Sasquatch and other monsters, alien and UFO nonsense. Also more Americans sit and watch programming of others doing real work than the numbers doing the real work itself including large trawler fishing, ice road trucking and deforesting stately trees.

    But Hollywood and its growing Post-Apocalyptic genre (that started after WWII and the development of nuclear weapons) as well as some of the cable programming reveals that many if not most Americans in their deepest intuitions know something is fundamentally changing and could soon forever alter their lives, even if they don’t know anything about what is coming or how.

    The success of Apocalyptic programming nonsense on History, Discover and Nat Geo also indicates that we want something supernatural either to do us in (Armageddon, asteroid, comet) or something supernatural to save us (Jesus Second Coming though most Christians have completely ignored the teachings of his first, aliens who will explain everything to us even though our brightest terrestrials including many here could do a better job than any alien).

    Either way, as Ed Hummel and others have said on related recent posts as well, we don’t want to do the necessary mental, spiritual (to me), moral, ethical and physical work of understanding, taking complete responsibility, changing, and making amends.

    And as the situation worsens the wingnuttery will also. The chances of dying in future decades from an ideologically brain-washed attacker are a little higher than those from an asteroid, Armageddon or Apocalypse. Let’s see, “Attacker, Anthropogenic Global Warming, Acidification of Oceans, Asteroid, Armageddon and Apocalypse” – I’m not saying we’re totally up against it, but those are just the A’s.

  30. Merrelyn Emery says:

    These periodic outbreaks of the doomsday scenario are born of a deep seated hopelessness that appears to arise after years of being ground down. They also appear to be triggered when the general level of anxiety floating around in the social field hits a certain high point. There is certainly sufficient unease or anxiety floating around now because of the rash of disasters, and this combined with the poor economic outlook in the USA is more than likely to provide that trigger.

    At these times of high uncertainty, people grab at whatever they know. And they know a lot more about religion that they do of science. As the disasters keep coming and the economy recovers very slowly, if at all, as there is absolutely no hope that the global economy will hit its previous giddy heights, thank goodness, we can expect to see more and more of these outbreaks. It should be really feverish around December 2012 if Hansen’s predictions are right.

    When a population is as skittish as this, Obama must choose his words very carefully, to reassure and get the population working with him. He has started down this track with clean energy and introducing climate change gradually. I expect to hear him do more of this and in a way that encourages people to better see the links and do more to lower consumption and emissions, ME

  31. Richard Brenne says:

    More great wisdom from ME – meaning of course Merrelyn.

  32. Scrooge says:

    I realize there are delusion filled people in this world. And my guess is radio has a higher percentage than the general public. What scares me is the number of people that were following this nutter. These people need to be watched because they may be a danger to society.

  33. otter17 says:

    You know, it is a bit strange. It’s the end of the world as we know it, and I feel fine.

  34. Vic says:

    I’d like to thank the guy on Twitter who came up with the idea of releasing hundreds of helium filled inflatable sex dolls into the air. Priceless !

  35. Berbalang says:

    I think End of the World Predictions have a lot in common with Conspiracy Theories. Notice that the only Conspiracy Theories people like to believe in are the ones that aren’t true. The same seems to be true of End of the World predictions. The more likely the eschaton, the less likely they would believe it would happen. The last thing they would want is actual proof the world was going to end.

  36. Dorothy says:

    I just wish it were true – the end of *their* world, not ours. At six o’clock my time and yours, just a half hour from now PDT, all the fruitcakes and nut cases would be raptured right out of here, leaving our planet a kinder, gentler and smarter place. And we could get on with the business of saving it.

  37. Sunshine says:

    A little message from my own 5/21 universe… Our Netflix queue delivered to our postal mailbox the DVD GASLAND today.

    I was having a fine little day making jokes about the rapture – “people are making rapture jokes like there’s no tomorrow” and “don’t worry if you don’t have a joke – it’s not the end of the world.”

    And then that film showed me the real fiery-eyed Monster that will haunt me till my last day.

    Needless to say, no one should rest until everyone you know watches this film. Ignorance used to be bliss.

  38. William P says:

    Not sure of the point of this post, but….

    Isn’t it interesting thousands focus on and believe a rapture fantasy unsupported by any evidence, while easily dismissing, or denying, the real END OF THE WORLD represented in global warming and its cascading mountains of evidence?

    Can anyone explain why human nature is so?

    [JR: You figured out the point of this post!]

  39. Mike # 22 says:

    These periodic outbreaks of the doomsday scenario are born of a deep seated hopelessness that appears to arise after years of being ground down. They also appear to be triggered when the general level of anxiety floating around in the social field hits a certain high point.–ME

    Escapist thinking is nothing new.

    –Mike

  40. Mark Shapiro wrote in 4:

    I have even seen the right-wing noise machine disparage global warming and clean energy on technical blogs like CNET and MIT Technology Review. They are often the first commenters, and they are mean and ugly.

    Crockweilers: the angry attack dogs of the conservative right. Their ready to become defensive and abusive at the slightest hint of rational opposition and rip its throat out.

  41. Merrelyn Emery says:

    Mike #22 @39. I didn’t say it was new and different cultures experience such outbreaks with very different frequencies. The incidence rates and the extent in terms of number of people affected tell you more about the state of the culture in which they occur than they do about ‘human nature’, William @38, ME

  42. BobG says:

    I think there is a meme in the zeitgeist today that the end of the world or civilization is just around the corner, whether from climate change or terrorism or world economic meltdown or alien invasion or whatever. There is a feeling that everything is out of control and that we are confronting a myriad of massive problems at once. Even if people don’t know all the whys and the wherefores, they have this sense about an impending catastrophe.

  43. Biomapper says:

    Leland, I was walking the dog today and couldn’t figure out why I saw such configuration of jeans, shirt, and shoes on a front walk of a house in the neighborhood. D’oh! Of course, this array was also complemented by a beer can and sunglasses on the sidewalk. Aaaaaaah, Madison…..

  44. prokaryotes says:

    William P “Isn’t it interesting thousands focus on and believe a rapture fantasy unsupported by any evidence, while easily dismissing, or denying, the real END OF THE WORLD represented in global warming and its cascading mountains of evidence?

    Can anyone explain why human nature is so?”

    Maybe it has something todo with the history of human religious believes and the so called “God Module” part in our brain, which evolved and helped earlier to gather society? This is no excuse but could help to understand the roots of reasoning at least of some parts of the population.

  45. John Mason says:

    Mike Roddy #11:

    “Harold Camping, the latest fruitcake to announce the end of the world, will bounce right back when nothing happens today.”

    Perhaps he will point at the latest (and fairly routine) Icelandic eruption and say, “well, it ended a bit”….

    A more interesting point is that attempting discussion with such people is remarkably similar to attempting discussion with climate change deniers. The mindset is almost identical.

    Cheers – John

  46. a face in the clouds says:

    Ever hear the one about Jerry Falwell killing Billy Graham in a pistol duel? A friend of mine started that rumor while we were attending Falwell’s college alma mater once upon a time. Actually the original rumor didn’t even mention Falwell. In the breakfast line that morning my friend simply tossed out a casual comment about an emergency forcing Graham’s private plane to land. By lunch the campus was up in arms over a mid-air attempt by Graham to ram Falwell’s plane. By supper students were cheering the rumors that Falwell forced Graham’s plane to the ground then shot him in the duel. The rumor was easily debunked and yet a few weeks later some lunatic claiming to be an FBI agent was able to cause a panic by waltzing through the campus warning students that Communists had infiltrated the school and planned to cut our throats as we slept.

    Apparently it still doesn’t take much thunder to arouse and stampede some cattle. Fortunately Harold Camping’s latest stunt shed some timely light on false prophecies, and reasonable people tried to calm everyone with their sense of humor (especially the after-rapture pet kennel). The bigger question, as pointed out by others above, is what happens when rapture fantasies give way to the reality of a critically-polluted world that wants us gone too? I’ve been closely following some agnostic-leaning radio personalities who wanted to believe in the Camping prophecy, and they got singy-songy about it all until a piece of bad climate news they couldn’t avoid discussing came across the desk. Suddenly it wasn’t all fun and games any more. The subject switched abruptly to where to run and hide, and how many guns they would need to take.

    Which reminds me. There are already indications that Branch Davidians are planning to gather in Waco next year for the Second Coming of Vernon Howell.

  47. Sunshine says:

    Howard Zinn quote of note:

    “TO BE HOPEFUL in bad times is not just foolishly romantic It is based on the fact that human history is a history not only of cruelty, but also of compassion, sacrifice, courage, kindness.

    What we choose to emphasize in this complex history will determine our lives. If we see only the worst, it destroys our capacity to do something. If we remember those times and places—and there are so many—where people have behaved magnificently, this gives us the energy to act, and at least the possibility of sending this spinning top of a world in a different direction.

    And if we do act, in however small a way, we don’t have to wait for some grand utopian future. The future is an infinite succession of presents, and to live now as we think human beings should live, in defiance of all that is bad around us, is itself a marvelous victory.” — Howard Zinn

  48. Jim Groom says:

    I’m still here. Does that make me a bad person? Seriously, I feel so sorry for folks like those pictured above. There are entirely too many among us these days who are frightened of their own shadows. Fear of the present, longing for those halcyon days gone by and apoplexy over the future that takes up the majority of their time. What do these people do when the world does not end…just push the end times date forward?

  49. Mulga Mumblebrain says:

    I think that the prevalence of apocalyptic themes in mass culture, and the undue publicity given nuts like these is deliberate policy. I’m pretty convinced that the Masters are preparing us psychologically for a great rupture, not rapture. For years I’ve noted how the media has concentrated more and more on promulgating fear and hatred, of a bewildering variety of ‘enemies’, with one notable exception-businessmen and the rich. These we are increasingly encouraged to admire and wish (laughably) to emulate.
    The militarisation of mass entertainment in the West is similarly remarkable. Years ago it was considered gender stereotyping to give little boys toy guns. Today there is a frightening array of hyper-violent computer games available, graduating to the stuff of homicidal insanity. We are assured by the peddlers of this mental and spiritual poison, and their paid apologists, that this is ‘harmless’. Bulldust!
    I think that the Western elites are preparing us for a world war, and a genocidal one at that, to keep the Western jackboot firmly planted on the throat of the non-Western world. For China to usurp the position of the US as global economic hegemon is an inconceivable psychic insult for those who believe viscerally in the racial and cultural supremacy of the West. There will be war over China’s rise, and, indeed, judging by the torrents of hatred against China that are flowing through our media already, I’d say that the ‘Phony War’ is upon us already. And, there being no way that the planet can sustain a Western lifestyle for the teeming billions of the poor world (or even for the burgeoning Western underclass) that too must be addressed, and soon, in the West’s favourite language, violence, which remains its last resort.

  50. Jim Groom says:

    Mulga, well said. There is indeed a “Phony War” already taking place. In fact there are several of them. The ‘phony war’ against the American people by the GOP is harming this country in so many ways, and unfortunately most of the population is wrapped up in nonsense and so-called reality shows on the tube. Reality is far too troubling to view so we spend our time watching the cartoon version of our world shown by the media. There are points-of-light out there in the media, but you sure have to search for them.