Monday, November 10, 2008

Manic Monday Apocalypso: The Monsters Are Due

Can a story be apocalyptic when it's not really apocalyptic?

OK, that's a stupid question. Can a story be apocalyptic when the objective reality is actually not?

Submitted for your approval: "The Twilight Zone". TZ did apocalypse and post-apocalypse better than any one, because whatever they did only had to last 22 minutes. (Let's just forget those over-extended hour shows.) So, they could look at any aspect of a potential apocalypse intensely, and leave the rest of the details to our imaginations.

The particular episode for today is "The Monsters Are Due On Maple Street". It's a fiendishly simple premise that given a few banal, but rattling and inexplicable circumstances, people will turn on each other. Presented with a potential apocalypse, in other words, people will act to destroy the world.

This is particularly a propos of last week's election. In any given US election, a substantial portion of the population is convinced the world will end if their guy doesn't get in. In the past eight years, we've heard a lot of screaming that it actually has or did come to an end, if only we'd been paying attention. (Fortunately, whatever damage has been done is instantly reparable by The Other Guy. But now that guy's gonna bring on the apocalypse.)

I don't think that the phenomena in "Monsters Are Due On Maple Street" would bother anyone much today. We're already used to rolling black outs. But our elections herald the new monsters.

The South Park episode airing the day after the election played on this a bit, with the winners celebrating and the losers fearing the post-election world. But in that episode, it only took the night for people to begin to realize that not much is different. And I think in real life, it'll take a minimum of two years for people to get over this one.


  1. You fools. You scared, frightened rabbits, you. You're sick people, do you know that? You're sick people - all of you! And you don't even know what you're starting because let me tell you...let me tell you - this thing you're starting - that should frighten you. As God is my're letting something begin here that's a nightmare!

    From McCain's Concession Speech - First Draft.

  2. That would've been interesting.

  3. I"ll admit it, I had a few incidents of ODS before the election. I've since convinced myself that Obama will govern as a moderate, so that keeps the nightmares at bay. : )

  4. knox,

    It's a pretty good system. It survived Buchanan and Pierce.

    Granted, it survived FDR, LBJ, Nixon and Carter less well.


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