It’s snowing here, lightly but steadily. Winter is on us early this year, usually we have to wait a couple of weeks before we get snow. This won’t be construed as a global warming storm, at least not by competent authority. They are very careful lately about attaching local weather to global warming. It’s too bad that others aren’t so careful about claiming “proof” of coming disasters. We get a lot of that these days, don’t we?
I attribute it to the tremendous advances in global communication. The penetration of global exposure down to the level of every man, woman and child. There’s a lot of accumulated wisdom that’s being released as well as a lot of paranoid baloney. Maybe paranoid is the wrong word. Paranoids don’t want the worst to happen they are just terrified it will, while lot of these people seemed thrilled at the prospect. Like a poisonous affirmation of their predictions they are hoping for the great “I told you so!” at the end of the apocalypse. It’s been disappointing for them so far. Not a “That’ll learn ‘em!” in sight.
Of course we could say this peeked during the recent election furor, but what about things like the Mayan Calendar disaster which has been end-of-times thrilling for years? It’s really too bad that the Catholic church has always felt free to screw around with the calendar, so “2012” was so last year, Mayans. Wow, what if you threw a disaster and no one noticed? What sound does the tree falling in the woods make when there is no one to hear it? A very awkward one.
Even with the election, somehow when we woke up the next morning we weren’t communists, I checked my apple stock just in case. No one lost a single gun, rich people were still firmly in the one percent and there wasn’t a free hand out to be had. There’s still a lot of hope for the coming devastation though, the up-sell is fantastic. We’ll just have to forgo a few of the older, more embarrassing, failures to devastate.
There was the “We’re all going to be put in ready-made FEMA interment camps!” which mostly turned out to be either defunct railroad facilities or trailer storage lots. And of course the awesome “Double-Dip” recession which has the benefit of being able to happen at any time. I have my hopes and my stock stops in, but it better happen soon or it will be just any old recession. If only people would just shut up about housing coming back and job growth.
Then we have the “Magnetic pole reversal,” sorry, still not available on demand. The smashing of the Earth by Nibiru (planet X) whose existence turns out to be a miscalculation of Neptune’s mass (talk about awkward! There’s just no trusting inferred planets) and of course Harold Campings prediction of the coming of the Rapture last year, which he then revised, and re-revised. Zero for three Harold, zero for three. Three words for you: aluminum siding sales.
Is it a deep need for disaster, or just bad information and a willing, or possibly chilling heart? The wikipedia list of disaster predictions is several pages long with many repeat offenders like Pat Robertson and Jeane Dixon but few as prolific as Harold. Darn civilization, once you get one started they refuse to die in apocalyptic pain. I hate when that happens.
I think the real trouble here is that the real disasters get lost in the deep brown (and lumpy) sea of misinformation and bogus worries. We just went through another late fall hurricane (superstorm) which make us two and zero, and for some that somehow reinforces the prediction that global warming is a hoax? Although more of that talk is coming around to the “we just don’t know” line of obfuscation, except of course for people who are now able to surf in their living rooms.
However, once someone is convinced of a particular doom there’s just no reasoning with them, so on they go shrilly echoing their mantra of devastation. Tea partiers shout “we’re broke, we’re broke!” even when our economy is the biggest in the world by far, and investors are lining up around the block to lend us money (no begging required). Southern Republicans insist that millions of illegal voters are sneaking in to town halls and voting booths everywhere, but they must be invisible or something. Perhaps like a dog whistle, we just cant perceive them on our level?
Some of this “weapons-grade baloney-um” is difficult to even think about, like the size of the universe or comparing someone’s butt to two bull dogs fighting in a pair of pants. Barrack Obama is a socialist (or communist) and he’s in league with Wall Street? Does than make him a socio-authoritarian or a commie-fascist? Cut the federal budget and people on social security will up and earn their own keep for a change? This means you, grandma!
I have no great advice about this problem. I can only say that in the age of information a few of us need to look more stuff up and pay less heed to the stranger theories. For the rest of us, take the time to challenge things you hear or read. Faith doesn’t make facts but it’s often thicker and gooier.
P.S. I’m sad to announce that there are probably no nazis on the moon (fun movie though) and when polar ice sheets melt, it is getting warmer.
Copyright Prentiss Gray 2012