Ever since the start of the year 2012, I’ve been entertaining/freaking myself out by pondering the prospect of an impending apocalypse. Do I believe in that new-agey Mayan calendar misinterpretation nonsense? Heck no. But you must understand something: I was raised on B-movies, comic books, dystopian futuristic novels and punk rock. Whether it was horror flicks about hostile zombie takeovers, paranoid ‘80’s hardcore nuclear fallout anthems, or William Burroughs’ opiate-fueled ranting, visions of the fast-approaching collapse of civilization have been digging their claws into my brain from day one, and they’ve played no small part in shaping my outlook on current events.
I’ll admit that this is mainly a silly and juvenile obsession that my stunted mind won’t let go of, but it might have a bit of validity to it. Take a look around. Natural disasters and dangerous weather trends are breaking precedents worldwide. Many of the most powerful political and economic machines are hanging on by a thread. Nuclear threats are in the air. Down on the streets where the bottom gets lower and lower while the top gets further and further beyond reach, the people are restless; the Occupy movement, riots and uprisings all over the place, libertarian Tea Party types with God and the NRA on their side calling for an end to government as we know it. Scientists are predicting that we may very well completely exhaust the world’s energy supply within a few decades.
The shit is hitting the fan.
Is life imitating art? Could it be that my adolescent sources of amusement are actual prophecies? The widening of the wealth gap is making our society look more and more like H.G. Wells’ The Time Machine (or the more pedestrian but no less awesome Demolition Man (Snipes and Sly at their greatest!)) every day. Who’s to say that the 99% won’t wind up living in sewers while the 1% stomp all over them from aboveground without a care in the world? That’s as feasible an outcome as any at the rate things are going.
And what would really happen if we tapped the last of our oil reserves? It would be sheer lawlessness. It would be like Mad Max. Specifically part two, The Road Warrior. If there was only one tanker full of fuel left in the world, and with partisan political rivalry boiling over, what else could possibly go down but survivalist warfare? Of course, after civilization is reduced to rubble, only the roughest and toughest will be around to compete for that last tanker. Just substitute Humongous and his crew with gun-toting extreme rightists and the Feral Kid’s hippie-cult-like family with…Actually, that’s probably exactly what the surviving left-wingers would be like in real life. Oh well.
Sometimes truth is stranger than fiction. Sometimes it’s hard to tell the difference between the two. Sometimes there’s no difference at all. And you simply never know where or when the truth is going to sneak up behind you and slap you upside the head.
Thank you for letting me indulge my childish obsessions.
Mad Max 2, Kennedy Miller Productions, 1982