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Apocalypse on paper and digitized for your enjoyment

If you keep up with upcoming movie releases, and the current crop, you will notice something. A fascination with the “End”. You can also find this trend in reading material as well. Let’s rattle off a few.

Movies: Chappie, Insurgent, the Mad Max reboot, and Terminator continues with Genisys.

Television: Dig (on USA) deals with the end times according to an Evangelical reading of the Revelation of John, The Last Ship (on TNT) with it’s super flu outbreak, The Walking Dead (oh who can resist?), and the The Last Man on Earth (a comedy series, we’ll see FOX, we will see).

Books: The Divergent series, the Silo series (Hugh Howey, and optioned for a movie), and pretty much anything in the YA category.

There are more, but that would be the big name list.

California, by Edan Lepucki, looks at things from the literary side. Much like the Handmaiden’s Tale did. I don’t think Hollywood has caught on to doing things like that in the mainstream (Melancholia aside). In all honesty I did like Melancholia, but only because it painted a picture of what annihilation is. The absolute end, and there is nothing you, or anybody can do about it. Which is the difference between the demographics.

Like all things there is a demographic. I see it even in the apocalypse, which we really should not call it because that is not what the word means. Apocalypse= revealing, or revelation. This genre deals with disaster, decay, destruction, oppression, and the end. But whatever. They co-oped the term, I’ll go with it.

In the demographic of young adults it isn’t so much about the end but about oppression. The Hunger Games ( a ripoff of Battle Royale) has an oppressive government regime, and the ones leading the charge to topple it are teens and twenty-somethings. Divergent has an oppressive government regime, and the ones leading the charge to topple it are teens and twenty-somethings. The Giver has an oppressive government regime, and the ones leading the charge to topple it are teens and twenty-somethings. See where this goes? YA apocalyptic fiction and movies involve oppressive governments that must be ended. There is hope, as long as we fight the power.

Compare this to the offerings for adults (those in the 30 and up demographic). World Made By Hand by James Kunstler is set in the near future after “peak oil”. A small community where the machines are powered just like in the good ol’ days, humans, animals, or a grist mill. Cormac McCarthy’s The Road is bleak, and does little to offer any hope. In both these works the world is over, much like the end of Melancholia (although the world was actually over in that one, with nobody making it). There is no oppressive regime, only a grinding down and then death.

Which one is a more accurate depiction? In one the circumstances are completely up to the people, and in the other they are all victims of the circumstances unable to shed the yoke. That is the difference in the demographic. The younger you are the more hopeful you are. The older you are… well, let’s just say we are pragmatic to a fault. But it doesn’t have to be that way, government regimes and deadly viruses be damned. Art survives, as in Station Eleven, and people go on smoking weed (like in California). What is it with all this doom and gloom? I remember when the Left Behind novels came out and people were falling over themselves.

“This is how it will be. The anti-Christ, and his evil cohorts, will enslave Christendom.”

Or what about Hal Lindsey and his “Late Great Planet Earth”? Or all those “preachers” and “prophets” predicting a religious tribulation complete with locusts and oceans of blood?

The truth is actually stranger than fiction. If I were to pick one, it would have to be the YA demographic as being most accurate. You can see it play out in real life. Especially here in the U.S. of A.

Divided political agendas, one very irrational, and vocal group, advocating a complete libertarian Ayn Rand style of social-economic structure. Another pushing for a more reasonable approach. And all the while a group of old Baby Boomers siding with a group that is secretly working against them (take heed Tea Partiers), who in the end will lose housing, social security, and medical benefits (just like they asked for). Right wing zealots clamoring for unbridled firearm ownership in the event of a hostile government enslavement, while their children take those same guns and walk into schools, theaters, or their own homes to mow down those who are not armed (a’la Clint Eastwood, “he should have armed himself”). The handing over of the throne to corporations in order for them to rule and set policy, while the ones who begged to be ruled by them begin to suffer under those policies. Next thing you know we have “The Hunger Games” or “Divergent” taking place on a slightly different scale.

It won’t go down like a “Walker beat down” scene from the Walking Dead. It’s going to go down like a Robert Redford political drama. That will be the apocalypse. A bunch of paranoid, delusional, gunbillies, giving up because it’s just to hard to think. But that movie was already done. Enjoy the end of it all, it looks like fun.

 

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