I find all of these end of the world FPP's curious. January 9, 2007 10:13 AM   Subscribe

I find all of these end of the world FPP's curious. We had this excellent one about the film Threads on Dec. 21st and this other about a new film called Ever Since the World Ended from Nov. 14th and of course the one about the game DEFCON from Oct. 2nd.

I wjust learned this was addressed on Metatalk back in March of last year. (Please feel free to remove this if it is considered an un-necessary duplicate), but I thought it would be interesting to ask mefites what s going on? Why are we averaging one FPP per month in the last four months? Is it some sort of generalized abstract fear, is the much touted "hive mind" responding to feeling the second hand of the doomsday clock moving closer to midnight or do people naturally turn to apocalyptic movies, books (and now video games) in times of uncertainty?
posted by Skygazer to MetaFilter-Related at 10:13 AM (30 comments total)

Why are we averaging one FPP per month in the last four months?

Perhaps there's a correlation with streaming video sites taking off this year, the number of older, interesting films being rebroadcast through them, and the number of posts on Metafilter focusing increasingly on the best of YouTube and similar sites?
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 10:19 AM on January 9, 2007 [1 favorite]

The world ends with a sly wink
So eat a neighbor, raise a drink.
Hell is eager, Heaven's waiting
And Ceiling Cat is
posted by It's Raining Florence Henderson at 10:21 AM on January 9, 2007

I think it may also have something to do with the tastes of folks who are drawn to metafilter. I've always dug media or art with a post-apocalyptic bent (Dr. Strangelove was my favorite movie growing up), and I was drawn to Mefi originally because it tended to feature links to media and art that matched my tastes. If we looked back further might we find that apocalyptic style stuff has been here all along?
posted by jrb223 at 10:23 AM on January 9, 2007

Pre-springtime ootchiness.
posted by amro at 10:25 AM on January 9, 2007

I just think that MetaFilter is chock-full of folks I'll be proud to go to Hell with.
posted by It's Raining Florence Henderson at 10:27 AM on January 9, 2007 [2 favorites]

we'll all be there in hell, forced to read the archives of fark.com for eternity
posted by localhuman at 10:29 AM on January 9, 2007

I blame my mohel.
posted by and hosted from Uranus at 10:33 AM on January 9, 2007

DEFCON is just really good, is all.
posted by cortex at 10:35 AM on January 9, 2007

God tells Pat Robertson about a massive terrorist attack in the latter part of 2007, with ensuing chaos. "I'm not saying nuclear, the Lord didn't say nuclear..."

But did He say nukular?
posted by weapons-grade pandemonium at 10:39 AM on January 9, 2007

Personally, I think it's because of the widespread excitement about my novel.
posted by staggernation at 10:54 AM on January 9, 2007

Must have been, because I just ordered it.
posted by It's Raining Florence Henderson at 10:58 AM on January 9, 2007

posted by staggernation at 11:01 AM on January 9, 2007

That wasn't god, it was Dick Cheney.
posted by ninjew at 11:03 AM on January 9, 2007

Must have been, because I just ordered it.

Now you're on his radar.
posted by cortex at 11:09 AM on January 9, 2007

Now you're on his radar.

Probably. But the book looks cool. And I haven't regretted getting on your radar (yet).
posted by It's Raining Florence Henderson at 11:15 AM on January 9, 2007

Speaking only for myself, the motivation for my post was the powerful reaction I had to reading Cormac McCarthy's new book The Road. As the NYT review amply illustrates, there is in this book a profound attempt to describe the fragility of the human contract and the ways in which ethics might be sustained in the absence of supporting social institutions.

Reading the book engendered in me an urge to go back and try to situate McCarthy's book within the genre of American doomsday literature, and the post is a quick survey of some of that.

I think this genre was a particular American obsession during the cold war, and I think that it's coming back into our cultural discourse. The facile explanation would be that post-9/11 doomsday scenarios are injecting the topic of the end of the world back into our imagination. But it may be more profound than that. Staring into the abyss, as a political and ethical act, forces one to affirm the things which really matter, to say: "this thing or these things are the ones I will sustain even until the end." In that regard, doomsday literature is, despite its dark subject matter, deeply affirmative. By invoking the genre of apocalyptic, an author or filmmaker is given an opportunity to show what he or she considers to be essential in the human condition.

For the producers of Jericho, this is very obviously the family. The series is insipid philosophically, but quite profound culturally. I think it's turning out to be a popular, American critique of the sort of eroticized militarism which has taken root in our culture, and in that regard, it's very important as a cultural act.

McCarthy is so much more profound because his is an exploration of the tension between the obligations of family and the basic mandate to do good ("be one of the good guys", as the book says repeatedly). Even at the end of the world, McCarthy tells us, we don't stop struggling between safety and ethics. Our humanity is defined, in fact, by this tension. Go too far in one direction and you cease to be a human subject. Go too far in the other and you're dead. So you see, even though McCarthy's book isn't prima facie about 9/11 or the War on Terror, he's giving us a parable by which we can meditate upon the forces at play in our political reactions to these events.

People seem a little unsatisfied with the post and for that I'm sorry. Perhaps I shouldn't have been so quick to do a genre survey and should instead have given a little more of a framework for the works I'm looking at these days. But nobody that I know of is talking about these things in a direct way and so I thought it best to trace the genre and see if an interesting conversation resulted.
posted by felix betachat at 11:18 AM on January 9, 2007 [1 favorite]

All this talk is making me want to listen to Nuclear Assault and Carnivore.
posted by The Straightener at 11:34 AM on January 9, 2007

Liked your Cormac McCarthy post Felix. Which I knuckleheaded forgot to reference above. I agree with you that there is something affirming about the genre.
posted by Skygazer at 12:05 PM on January 9, 2007

Man is inherently fascinated with his demise, and by extension, the eschaton. The end.
posted by Eideteker at 1:11 PM on January 9, 2007

Just chiming in to add that the pictures linked in this post are gorgeous.
posted by nathancaswell at 1:28 PM on January 9, 2007

Ooh thanks for that Nathancaswell! I forgot about that one. ::adds to favorites::

If I had joined earlier I wouldn't have to keep going back to find my favorites to add them to my favorites...

Err. Sorry. Carry on, all.
posted by CitrusFreak12 at 2:15 PM on January 9, 2007

I'm with jrb223 in having been obsessed with the end of the world for a long time, but there is a lot of pre-apocalyptic anxiety in general these days. Why do you think zombie movies had that recent resurgence?
posted by brundlefly at 2:30 PM on January 9, 2007

Thanks for that nathancaswell, I missed that post. Those pictures are stunning. It's too bad they portend to the horiffic. Anyhow so we're up to 5 posts over 4 months. Might there be a sixth? Going once, going twice...
posted by Skygazer at 2:48 PM on January 9, 2007

I blame my mohel.
posted by and hosted from Uranus at 1:33 PM EST on January9 [+] [!]

posted by quonsar at 2:56 PM on January 9, 2007

Eschatological thinking is dangerous. It allows us to tramp mindlessly and heedlessly over our very real, looming future. It affords us the fevered imagination that tomorrow doesn't matter, because tomorrow is when it all ends anyway.

It's not true, and allowing this plague to infect our minds is going to be what causes "the end of the World", because we will have destroyed it.

Well, that and explody stuff is cool.
posted by loquacious at 3:22 PM on January 9, 2007

"Eschatological thinking is dangerous."

Well, it's not the end of the world...
posted by It's Raining Florence Henderson at 4:03 PM on January 9, 2007

Are you guys blind!!? The Rapture index is at a soaring 162!!! The end is nigh, Bri!

More apropos:

cortex writes "DEFCON is just really good, is all."

Damn effing right. I'm still waiting for the MEFCON Bucket of Nukes Tournament.
posted by goodnewsfortheinsane at 4:21 PM on January 9, 2007

I think it's because we're all so excited for Jesus to return.
posted by loiseau at 4:31 PM on January 9, 2007

I like to case whatever building or community I'm in (I walk a lot) and imagine scenarios and survival plans to fit them.

I have a theory it's related to depression, being in a rut, and an inability to instigate necessary changes in one's life - survivalist fantasy forces one to consider a life fully lived, a life in which living is the one true, worthwhile goal.

I have another theory that I probably shouldn't have watched The Road Warrior so often growing up, but damn, could that Vernon Welles wear a pair of chaps!
posted by Alvy Ampersand at 7:56 PM on January 9, 2007

Where is Feral Kid these days, I wonder. I'd like to have him on my side.
posted by brundlefly at 12:02 AM on January 10, 2007

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