I’d like to be able to say that I’ve been in deep cover, embedded with a doomsday cult so that I can fathom their motives, ideas and motivations. I’d like to be able to say that I’ve been taking time to ‘harden’ my defenses and prepare my own personal “secure, undisclosed location” for potential fire, flood, plague and general mayhem. Heck, I’d like to say that I was just sitting back in a hammock sipping mojitos and reading the Left Behind series of books. Alas, the truth is far less glamorous.
I’ve got a lot to catch up on, as we’re more obsessed than ever before, and the (perpetually) impending end of the world as we know it has been in the news quite a bit lately. We’ve narrowly missed having yet another asteroid smack into us, and somehow we’ve endured despite the terror of blood moons, and strange cloud formations, eerie lights in the sky, and the onslaught of a dizzying array of “weird tricks” to cure everything from bad breath to some folks dissatisfaction with fiat currency.
Meanwhile, there have been more mundane and prosaic apocalyptic obsessions lately, including a resurgence of the Sovereign Citizen/Posse Comitatus movement, and a doubling down on the “all against all” tactics of the culture war we had good reason to think was long over. Alas, Tumblr sits in for Babylon these days and proliferates so many ways of seeing and theorizing about the world that we might as well be speaking different languages. Only the most obtuse could think that we would find it easy to come to some kind of consensus over the question of race relations or economic inequality, but lately it seems we can’t even manage to have a civil conversation over the question of fiction, with everything from movies, to video games, to my own beloved science fiction being shredded by partisans in a bitter, endless, and nihilistic attempt to destroy everything held dear by those who view the world in a different way.
It’s definitely time for me to stop musing on this by myself, so I’m making a resolution, a May Day resolution, to freshen up the bunker a bit by getting all of this out of my head. In the coming days and weeks, I want to think a bit about the return of widespread social unrest to the streets of American cities (as opposed to merely simmering and festering in the shadows) and I’d like to take note of what I think is a corresponding return of the figure of the apocalypse ‘prepper’ (such individuals always become an object of curiosity when unrest moves from the fringe to the center of discourse). I have in fact been consuming as much popular apocalypse culture as I can make time for, from the sublime to the execrable, and taking copious notes for discussion at a later date.
(A May Day resolution that’s coming over a week late. There’s always something, it seems!)