I once heard a very tantalizing bit of conspiracy theory around the then-rash of ET movies on the circuit. It goes something like this: Extraterrestrials that have infiltrated the very top of capitalist influence are ensuring the funding of such movies, in order to make humankind comfortable with a looming encounter.
In other words, they want to ease us into accepting the idea of aliens, so that we don’t get too much of a fright, when we eventually DO meet them face-to-ugly face.
Now that we are aware of the fact that the ancient Mayans couldn’t count beyond 21.12.2012, it is perhaps prudent and especially relevant to revisit this conspiracy.
But if you’re reading this on Saturday morning, then it’s pretty safe to say that 2013 will sneak up on us in the exact same drunken haze as previous years, and snare us into the exact same hurly burly of debt, indifference, Pluto mania and economic Russian Roulette as previous years.
Let’s consider that old conundrum that concludes with the question “… or does life imitate art?”, because if it does, then details of the end of the world lie in the imaginations of Tinsel town executives and their 2013 offerings.
Some of the big post-Doomsday-themed movies due for release next year are Will Smith’s “After Earth,” Brad Pitt’s “World War Z;” “Oblivion,” starring Tom Cruise and our very own Neill BlomKamp’s “Elysium,” starring Matt Damon and Jodie Foster.
All these flicks have one thing in common – the aftermath or impending destruction of Earth, mostly by our own doing. No “Independence Day” heroics, or the cerebrally taxing “War of the Worlds,” or even the mmmm-factor of “Men in Black!”
Prior to “2012” and “The Day after Tomorrow,” futuristic films made aliens out to be the bad guys, but movie directors are now almost unified in their depiction of humankind being our own worst enemy.
So while The UN climate talks (COP-18) in Doha this year dealt with climate change-induced rises in droughts, floods, rising sea levels and storms, the silver screen will have us believe that Zombies, capitalist-driven resource depletion or meteor impacts will be what spells our doom.
There’s been a lot of humour around the supposed Apocalypse - from doomsday parties, to snorts of derision at the Sowetan who wants a Constitutional Court-ordered governmental task team to prepare us for the aftermath of the end … non-ironically speaking. The world was supposed to have ended a few dozen times in the last few decades.
But between the humour around the Mayan apocalypse and the entertainment with which Hollywood’s CG gurus tackle the subject, lies the discomfort of our own ecological inaction.
The fact is, the world is not going to end tomorrow; and not because the Mayans or Nostradamus possessed limited arithmetic.
It won’t end in some cataclysmic event that snuffs out all life in an instant either. In fact, the world is NOT going to end, period. Much like she always has, Mother Earth will continue to survive whatever we throw her way.
However, we will slowly strangle our own ability to live on this planet. And humans being the selfish reactionary beings that we are, won’t collectively and willingly do anything about it, unless it’s legislated. We just don’t act until we are told to, or unless it affects us directly! Having an ancient civilization’s calendar, or clever 3D destruction by passionate film directors, are simply not enough. The one is not tangible enough, and the latter is easily forgettable popcorn entertainment.
So I’m betting on yet another regular dawn on the 22nd of December, but not all my cash … just in case I’m wrong!
And if I’m wrong and the world DOES end tomorrow, then on Saturday morning, you can always say “I told you so…!”