Sep 3, 2009

When Pigs Fly

I have a fairly apocalyptic point of view concerning the course of human events. The seed was planted in church, and grew via frequent watering from any number of Hollywood disaster blockbusters, but it is the "real world" news that really gets me going. You really don't need to look very far to find serious existential threats to human civilization, many of them ironically caused by billions of our own individual actions, cumulatively added over time.

I guess that's why I'm drawn to the Book of Revelation, or in other words, John's Magical Mystery Mushroom Tour. And the part I'm most fascinated with is the appearance of the "firstfruits" - those legendary 144,000.

And I heard a sound from heaven like the roar of rushing waters and like a loud peal of thunder. The sound I heard was like that of harpists playing their harps. And they sang a new song before the throne and before the four living creatures and the elders. No one could learn the song except the 144,000 who had been redeemed from the earth. These are those who did not defile themselves with women, for they kept themselves pure. They follow the Lamb wherever he goes. They were purchased from among men and offered as firstfruits to God and the Lamb. --Rev 14:2-4

Obviously, I'm not the only one. The 4400 television series posits that these fabled witnesses are UFO abductees, who when returned to earth exhibit paranormal abilities - the "new song". These abilities are enabled by a brain chemical called Promicin (promise within) for which the gov quickly moves to create an inhibitor, that also has unfortunate side-effects for the 44,000 - causing a fatal immune deficiency disease. Huh.

The Secret Sun has a recent post about the alien invasion meme, via Invasion - the 1997 TV miniseries based on the novel by Robin Cook. In a nutshell, aliens infect Luke Perry (of Beverly Hills 98210) with a virus that gives paranormal abilities, and the brave doctors battle the alien invasion via an "antibody". The anti-body of Christ consciousness?

I've tracked this alien invasion virus up one side and down the other, via films like the Invasion of the Body Snatchers, The Andromeda Strain, 28 Days Later, Little Shop of Horrors, and now we have celebrated director Guillermo del Toro (Hellboy, Pan's Labyrinth, the Hobbit) release the first book of an intended trilogy joining the meme scream - The Strain. A vampire virus infects New York! Right on cue, David Barton opens a gay Goth gym in Manhattan!?

Meanwhile, in the real world, the gov takes unprecedented measures against H1N1 virus - a flue no more or less lethal than all the other flues we've seen over the years. If I wanted to focus the nation's attention on an economic "recovery", the LAST thing I'd do is beat the pandemic drum. So why now? It's not like there's some imminent alien INVASION or something...


Esperanto Grrl said...

I always thought the apocalypse mentality could be summed up by a few quotes by James Watts, secretary of the interior under Ronald Reagan.

When a reporter asked him how conservation of our national parks would go, he responded by saying that within our lifetime Christ would return and so maintaining national parks for future generations was ultimately irrelevant.

Right there is the heart of the entire apocalypse mentality: the scary idea isn't that we're all going to die. The scary idea is that we'll probably survive, and what really alarms people is the idea of facing an unknown future that we do indeed have to plan for.

Freud said that people don't think about disasters unless they long for them to happen and I'm inclined to agree.

I always found the concept of the alien invasion absurd. For one thing, aliens have more to fear from us, the warlike and greedy and rapacious human race, than we probably have to fear from them.

What's more, alien invasion movies appeal to our worst instincts: people that are the Other, and Not Like Us are going to "get" us, want our women, etc.

The worst one, I thought, was that goofy miniseries V. You know originally it was going to be about the Nazis taking over America? That sounds a billion times cooler and more terrifying. It goes to show a rule of science fiction that Harry Harrison once said: if you can tell a story without a science fiction element, don't use the science fiction element!

Children externalize their fears and project them on "monsters." A more adult and thoughtful kind of story, like say, District 9, is acknowledging our flaws as human beings, our xenophobia, superstition, bloodthirst.

Anadæ Effro said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Anadæ Effro said...

Sorry, kidses, but there was one particular whirred so spectacularly misspelt, that, out of pride for my impeccable grammatical reputation, I had to delete the original & repost. Ooof.

You & me both, Michael, the reason that my first ink (seen in my thumbnail avatar) is THEE Lamb of the Apocalypse, seven-eyed, seven-horned, seven spirits of the Man Upstairs … swoon! … love, love, LOVE fabulous animals, as strange, unearthly beasts were once referred to as, in the days of yore. Yes, something big's coming, but methinks that it's a Satanic theocracy, not a vamp takeover.

Funny abite that Goth gymn. I used to live near there all throughout the '80s. Us androphiles are just SOOO often ahead of the trends, oft times by 20 years t'would appear.

Esperanto Girl? You'll be surprised ( or, mayhaps not so surprised ) to learn that a bigger, better, new-fang-led ((sorry, I jus' couldn't resist)) version of the reptilian invasion "V" is soon coming back to reign supreme on TV this Fall, view the trailer.

Oh! My Jungian analyst, Geoff Byrd, just so happens to have a mechanical, wind-up, flying pig in his office, speaking of meaningful coinky-dinks.

Have thee & Varen a brilliant Labour Day weekend,
Anadæ Effro (•8-)}

Michael said...

EG - "Apocalypse" is from the Greek apokalupsis: "uncover, reveal". Alien invasion, especially alien spore invasion, has become the classic apocalyptic sci-fi event, so it becomes an interesting vehicle for "revealing" hidden layers of the psyche - as you point out, some not very appealing layers. Since Anadae brings Jung to the party, my internal Jungian analyst muses that alien invasion is the ego's representation of the appearance of the true Self - resulting in ego death, which it mistakenly believes is the literal end of the world - much like James Watt - secretary of the INTERIOR (of the mind)? Ha! You can't make this stuff up!

Anadae - I also think something big is coming (see the Porky pic at the top). Just look at the size of it... gasp!! Have a great Labor Day also, and BTW, Sean over at Buff Muscles is having a 3 Day Weekend-a-thon, so go help him party!

Devin said...

Facinating article as always Michael! Thanks to Esperanto Grrl and Anadae also. I remember when James Watt said that and was like WTF? -but then of course came 43 with "who cares about how I will be written about in history-we will all be dead" something to that effect haha!I also remember Reagan himself (think it was anyway) saying something about Chernobyl possibly being the "star that fell to earth" in the Bible called wormwood as that is what Chernobyl means-I apologize if I have got any of the politcal critters wrong or the Bible-The only parts of the Bible I even slightly remember are The Book of Rev, Ecclesiastes, and some Psalms and Proverbs. This Swine Flu BS is out of control and I wonder whats up? I constantly go between a small hope that some people will make it to the thought that humanity might be engulfed (and extinguished) in some apocalyptic nightmares or a series of them that will make that tsunami back in 2004 look like Valentine's Day. Right now I just try to live each day or hour as it comes-or in my case as it doesnt cum! sorry I couldnt resist crude and awful attempt at humor! best to you and Var as always!!

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