So I was reading Mark Morford’s latest post, “Your imminent apocalyptic death” and he got me to thinking (and yes, he is still delectably lickable). He talks about our latest pandemic, and the some news that Mt St Helens is possibly a supervolcano (of the hide the sun and bury us all in pointy volcanic ash variety).
The spirit of all this, says Morford, is that our extreme shit luck to be here and in this time is a type of precarious life that blasts through meaningless to profound. And furthermore, that we kinda hanker to bring it on a little faster:
We can hardly wait. I mean that quite literally. So fascinated are we with such potentially lethal phenomena that we often seem to invite them in, offer up our wrists to the universe, somewhere subconsciously hoping, craving to accelerate the whole shebang. It’s just so mesmerizing.
It’s not just the fundamentalists from the South who are gleefully supporting “military events” in the hopes of triggering the events of Armageddon (which Morford doesn’t touch on, but is surely familiar with via the recent Bush administration), but all those bucks we spent on Armageddon. Look no further Discovery’s popular imminent death shows.
So here’s my theory: apocalypse as permission to be someone else – the hero, the plucky survivor. No cubicle hell, no soccer schedule for the kids. Some kind of new “freedom” where your main jobs in life are to forage for food and find creative ways to deal with your environment. Because we’re in the day and age of extremism, the only way we can achieve it is through some karmic intervention of a meteor. It’s an acceptable excuse to chuck your quotidien existence.
It would also the perfect opportunity to hook up with someone that otherwise wouldn’t have been hook-upable. Just sayin’. Plus, it’s a great excuse to blow things up real good in the movies (bring on 2012 – bonus nutters!)
Let’s assume there’s an element of wish fulfillment at work here – there’s some reason why we want to watch this stuff. Then, I’m wondering what it says about us if our utopia is some kind of a dystopia?