When Worlds Collide

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If Chuck Klosterman were a manufactured food item, he would be the Rice Krispie Treat. A tasty morsel composed primarily of air and sugar, yet enjoyed by many. You loved it in small bites-sized portions, but couldn’t make a meal of it. For many reasons, both Klosterman and the Treats bring back memories of childhood. If Proust were alive today and smelled a pan of freshly baked Rice Krispie Treats, he would have written Sex, Drugs and Cocoa Puffs. Or at least a shitty review of it on his blog.

In his latest essay, Chuck takes a break from sports, heavy metal, failed relationships and hipster metaphors to tap into the national subconscious. Either that, or he’s been reading the blogs. Aren’t they the same thing, really?

Something has been occupying my mind as of late, and I can’t tell if this thought is reassuring or terrifying: I’ve been thinking about the possibility of revolution, or—more accurately—the impossibility of revolution. I’ve started wondering what would have to happen before the American populace would try to overthrow its own government, and how such a coup would play itself out. My conclusions are that a) nothing could make this happen, and b) no one would know what to do if it somehow did. The country is too large, its social systems are too complex, and its people are too complacent, too reasonable, and too confused. I’ve decided that the U. S. government is (for lack of a better, preexisting term) “unoverthrowable.” And this would probably make a man like Patrick Henry profoundly depressed, were it not for the fact that he’s been dead for 207 years.

Compare that with the “massively read” Blogger Blaster’s

What is being asked here.. is simply… is it Go Time?

The answer is obviously no… because if the answer was yes, we wouldn’t be reading silly things on the net right now… we’d be shooting, looting, hiding, being shot at, blowing things up, and generally having a great time. These things are not happening… so clearly its not Go Time.

Yet.

But when is Go Time? To answer the emailer, we really do need to sit and wait. Its coming… for sure. The dollar is rapidly falling to hell. Big Oil is converting their pricing to Euros. China has made it clear that they are getting out of the dollar. At best, recession is on the way… at worst?

Roughly at the same time, the proprietress at Tiny Cat Pants starts kvetching about the 2nd amendment at her place:

I have a few thoughts. I think it’s clear that the intent of the second amendment is to insure that ordinary citizens can pose a credible threat to the government, if it should ever become necessary. As scary as I find guns, I think that, if we agree that that’s the point of the second amendment, there really should be no ban on what kinds of arms individuals can own.

What is it in the national zeitgeist that has folks wondering about the stability of our government? It isn’t that anyone necessarily agrees on the who, what, when or how, but something in our lizard brains is triggering the “fight or flight” mechanism. Like when animals can sense an earthquake before it happens, our collective spider-sense is tingling.

Be it the Left Behind cash-cow of the Religious Right or the current popularity of zombies in film and fiction, it seems like everyone has the end of the world on their minds.

Max Brooks, author of World War Z: An Oral History of the Zombie War, explained it like this in the New York Times,

“People have apocalypse on the brain right now,” Mr. Brooks said. “It’s from terrorism, the war, natural disasters like Katrina.” Several zombie aficionados said there was a zombielike quality to the spread of the bird flu.

Zombies, Mr. Brooks said, are the perfect goblin for such times, in part because they suggest broad social collapse, when anyone — a policeman, a nurse, a friend — can turn into a force of evil. With a werewolf or vampire, all the evil is concentrated on a single creature; with zombies, the evil is everywhere.

“They go hand in hand with apocalyptic scenarios,” Mr. Brooks said. “You can’t have one zombie. You’ve got to have millions of them. Society has to be breaking down. And zombies aren’t in conventional horror settings. Zombies find you. The sun comes up, and they’re still there. You call the cops, and they’re still there. They create a chain reaction of societal collapse.”

Societal collapse. We see it every night on the news. You can’t run the Baghdad office of Randstadt without half of your workers going up in a fireball each and every morning. It is happening right in front of us. The obvious question then becomes, “What if that happened here?”

Klosterman brings up the scenario of what if the Feds did even less during the Katrina mess. What if they wrote off New Orleans as a bottomless pit of despair and futility? Imagine Brownie saying, “This filthy city will always be under sea level, no amount of levee building and local corruption will stop it from flooding again. So, we’re cutting our losses and blowing the bridges. If you choose to remain, I suggest you rent a copy of ‘Escape From New York’. Good Luck.”

DC Comics did the same thing after Gotham City got levelled by an earthquake a few years ago. The Feds just wrote it off as a lost cause and it became a dystopian nightmare, rather than the run of the mill crime-ridden nightmare.

Will it be a natural disaster that causes folks to overthrow the authorities? It probably came close in New Orleans as FEMA officials kept citizens from going out in private boats to look for survivors. At what point, say, in the increasingly boring show Jericho, will the residents tell the government to “fuck off, we’re doing just fine without you?”

The question we have to ask ourselves is, “If one of these nutty predictions came to pass, do we have the skills necessary to survive?” That doesn’t mean, “Do you own a gun?” Although, that would come in handy. More like, can you grow your own food? Do you know first aid? Can you do any number of things that our grandparents knew how to do back when people were a little more self-sufficient?

When this apocalypse/societal collapse comes, guess who is going to wind up at the top of the heap? The illegal aliens, that’s who. They grow our vegetables, butcher our meat, repair our machines and build our shelters. The skill sets they posess will be in far greater demand than political science professors, record executives and C++ programmers.

All I know is that I’ll be safe in my cabin in the woods.

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13 Responses to “When Worlds Collide”

  1. Katherine Coble Says:

    I LIKE Jericho, dude. But beyond that, I think we all want to see the government take it up the ass because,frankly, what have they done for us lately? And you all will be coming to me for my mad first aid and knitting skillz when those zombies come calling.

  2. Sean Braisted Says:

    Being a Democrat, it will be my natural inclination to collaborate with whatever enemy/power has overtaken our Government.If that doesn’t work out, I think I’ll be screwed. I’ve never hunted, or caught anything the few times I’ve fished. Here’s hoping for a quick death.

  3. Mack Says:

    I don’t see it all going to hell in one big, apocolyptic fireball. Rather, it is already occuring, but it’s a steady erosion, and there is probably time to shore it all up. You make an excellent point about our lost skills. I can hunt,(though I don’t) grow food and prepare it, and build shelter. Just the basics. Perhaps I’ll start a commune here on my farm, where everyone has a role to play, a job to do, and a skill to teach. Eventually, I’ll get all Koresh about it, since I won’t have to answer to the Feds. (By the way, you forgot a nod to the Amish, who actually can be almost entirely self-sufficient.)

  4. Exador Says:

    I plan on quicky establishing myself as leader of a marauding group of nomads. All I need is a hockey mask, a stolen car, and a bunch of easily-led rubes; shouldn’t be too hard to drum up.Once I have a small band of myrmidons, it won’t be difficult to build power off the stragglers.The trick is to start small; take over the neighborhood; get about 20 followers; go to the next neighborhood; conquer it; get about 20 more. You get the idea.

  5. Sarcastro Says:

    Kitty, I recommend "Alas, Babylon" by Pat Frank. It’s been about twenty five years since I read it, but it was a better slice of "small town America surviving Armageddon" than Major Dad has got going on.Mack, I thought you were going to be a tortilla-eating surrender monkey like Senor Braisted. After all, you don’t think a couple of AKs can compete with the full force of mechanized infantry, armor and close air support. Seriously, save me a spot in your fortified compound.You and I had a similar discussion about how the skills necessary to survive if the lights go out are being passed down to fewer and fewer people. I’ve grown my own vegetables and couldn’t eat them because they didn’t come from a store and were therefore suspect.I left out the Amish because their aversion to violence places them in the "victim" category.Ex, just who exactly lives in your neighborhood again? I suggest you brush up on your conversational Spanish. They are used to having a gringo jefe. So in a post-apocalyptic scenario, it should be a smooth transition.Also, rehearse the speech you are going to have to give the Mrs. about how for humanity to survive, you will be forced to take on some extra wives.

  6. Holiday Grinch Says:

    I don’t need this shit. I just found out I’m supposed live to be 95 from that friggin’ quiz Brittney linked to on NIT. That’s bad enough, now I’ve got to worry about this too? PS:"I’ve grown my own vegetables and couldn’t eat them because they didn’t come from a store and were therefore suspect".Me too.

  7. SistaSmiff Says:

    Cause I’m one of them crazy Born Agains and all that, this kinda stuff doesn’t worry me none. I don’t necessarily get all excited about the thought of it, but, see, this is where having faith comes in a mite handy.

  8. Sarcastro Says:

    Sista,If it weren’t for you Rapture types leaving your vehicles unmanned, my goddamn car insurance would be a WHOLE lot cheaper.

  9. Exador Says:

    The Rapture-wanna-be’s, left wandering around, equally surprised and let down, will be the low-hanging fruit to my band of marauders.We need a name.

  10. Sarcastro Says:

    Given the ethnic makeup of your band of marauders, try:Chicos and The Man.

  11. Magniloquence Says:

    Oh you’ve got to be kidding, I can’t post on Sarcastro’s blog either?

  12. Sarcastro Says:

    You just did.

  13. Magniloquence Says:

    I had written something longer, but it would only let me post that sentence. *sighs* It’s the same as at Aunt B’s.

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