Sunday, August 23, 2009

Lazy Sunday # 82: It Was The Best Of Times. It Was The End Of Times.

Everybody has heard that ancient Chinese saying: “May You Live In Interesting Times”. It gets trotted out to describe virtually every difficult news day or life crisis. For me, it’s always been one of those phrases of inscrutable wisdom reminding us that while things may feel chaotic and overwhelming, nobody really wants to live in “uninteresting” times.

In my own lifetime, I’ve seen men walk on another heavenly body, the fall of the Berlin Wall and the Toronto Maple Leafs win a Stanley Cup. Since there’s a good chance none of those things will ever recur in what remains of my life, I’m fairly pleased to have experienced those “interesting times”.

But a lot of people insist that when things get too interesting , using all sorts of snippets of news and hard to understand human activities as proof, it’s a sign that the end is near. Apparently, there’s a part of some of us that just short circuits when Life gets overly complicated and, well, there’s no longer any point. So it’s just gonna be OVER for everybody.


A few weeks ago, I shared a cup of tea with an elderly guy from a trailer park, who went to great lengths pointing out the locations where I would be safe when the end of the world comes in 2012. None of the spots on his map are very populated, or at least they aren’t --- at the moment.

His theory is based on some stone carved Mayan calendar created by a civilization that didn’t count too far past three.

My own theory is that we’re dealing with a stone carver who just ran out of rock or got hauled off before he was finished to be one of those human sacrifices the Mayans used to ensure a good harvest.

You’ll note the clear intelligence of that belief, so of course their calendar must be more accurate than an Atomic clock.

About 30 years ago, some cult or other publicized that the world would end on an absolutely precise time and date. In Toronto, it was around three on a Summer Sunday afternoon.

A few friends and I happened to be drinking beer on my front porch as the time approached and the Rock DJ we were listening to was doing a countdown in case any of his listeners had a Bucket List to get through.

About ten minutes before the allotted time, however, there was a big roll of thunder and we looked up to see this massive storm rolling in over the city. It was a definite “Holy Shit!” moment. But a few minutes later the rain was gone and the sun was shining again. The best part of that afternoon was that the cult issued a press release a couple of hours later insisting that indeed “The world we once knew has ended”.

Nothing I like better than a cult that remains committed to its ideals no matter the reality.

Which brings me to Hollywood and its endless commitment to the cash to be made from the Apocalypse. From Cecil B. DeMille to Michael Bay, there’s always been somebody in Tinsel town ready to destroy whole civilizations for our enjoyment.

There’s already a movie version of “2012” on the way from Roland Emmerich, a guy who has wiped most of us out a few times now with “Independence Day”, “The Day After Tomorrow”, “Godzilla” and “Eight Legged Freaks”. Surprisingly, the last two didn’t also wipe out his career.

Most of these movies are Special Effects showcases designed to do little more than quicken pulses and sell popcorn. But every now and then one comes along that wants to be something more.


“Legion” won’t be out until the end of January next year. Just about the worst time to release a movie and suggesting it isn’t good enough to be a Christmas blockbuster. But I have a feeling, it’s got “something”.

I liked this concept when it first came around in 1995 as “The Prophecy” starring Elias Koteas as a disillusioned priest turned homicide detective and featured Christopher Walken as the avenging angel Gabriel and Vigo Mortensen as Lucifer. Basically, God decides he’s had enough of our crap and it’s up to somebody to change his mind before it’s too late.

Based on the video below alone, I’m looking forward to “Legion”. And if this trailer is any indication, the end of the world actually is getting closer for TV shows that don’t want to spend money to compete with these kind of visual thrills and networks who won’t really push the content envelope.

I guess when all’s said and done, the best of times for some will be the end of times for others.

Enjoy your Sunday.



deborah Nathan said...

I am so there!!!

BlaineW. said...

While never believing it for a second I was actually enjoying the whole Mayan 2012 thing until Hollywood came along with their giant perennial buzzkill.

Can't vouch for the science - but on the winter equinox of 2012 apparently the Sun, the Earth and the Milky Way are all supposed to align themselves in some special way that has never happened before and this will then cause the Poles to 'shift' - and then its on I guess, and even TV itself won't be able to save us. That's the rumour. Just saying.

If that photo in your previous post is from the actual Durham tornado of last week then that is some scary shit.

Mark said...

Penn & Teller has made a show on this topic...

I'm running up my credit cards!

Anonymous said...

As someone who had to live through a thorough indoctrination of the "the world will run out of resources by the year 2000" swill back in the 80s (i.e., "The Fate of the Earth", "Entopy", etc.), I'll just put this in my ever-growing "Failed Prophesies" file on January 1, 2013...