Life After PeopleThe History Channel tonight aired their Life After People show, which I did not catch thanks to the Penguins-Capitals game. (It was good, then came the part where the Pens lost.) H to the C hyped it big time, including buying advertising on Slate, and I was intrigued despite this prime example of my shifting-focus theory of the History Channel. I’ll have to Tivo that mug when it rolls around again.

I don’t think this show would have the same audience if it weren’t for I Am Legend coming out last month, what with both being all deer-in-Times-Square and whatnot. Those two are in turn a hell of a lot like Alan Weisman’s The World Without Us. Add in the upcoming movie adaptation of Cormac McCarthy’s The Road — now shooting near Pittsburgh, though that isn’t quite so flattering when they’re evoking a post-apocalyptic landscape — and we have an end-of-it-all trend. Sounds like a certain nation is rocking some sort of end-of-empire vibe.

I can’t predict the possibility that any of this stuff will come true, but then if I could, waiting around for it wouldn’t be fun either. I certainly hope we don’t end up with The Road, because that book single-handedly messed up my Road Warrior-based distant concept of civilizational collapse — featuring crazy football-padded dudes fighting in the desert — and turned it into existential nightmare No. 1. (It was really not a fun book. Tremendously well-written, but relentlessly disturbing.)

So I’d like to make two points about this whole cultural trend:

1. Everybody dying, while probably good for the Earth, would not be cool at all.

2. If we’re watching decline-and-fall shows here in the “declining” U.S. — as much as a nation of 300 million entrepreneurially oriented people can decline without suffering some society-immolating event — do you suppose rising powers India and China are rocking Hindi / Mandarin shows about Romulus and Remus getting Rome off the ground?

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2 Responses to “Eschatological”

  1. Hells yeah the Chinese are rockin the inspirational propaganda. They know they are on the way up and want to motivate the society they have to put them on top. Look at how they are tackling the Olympics. They see that as their coming out party to the world. They will have images of China on millions of televisions through out the world for those 2 weeks. And they want the impression they are a modern society portrayed to the universe. And they will have it like that.

    I watched Life After People and got a kick out of it. they had some good points and it was better than watching Hitler’s Henchmen again.

  2. There’s a lot to chew on there. Is the vibe objectively legit? Is it a recognition of being fortunate and a fear of falling (vs. almost nowhere to go but up)? Is it more pronounced in certain sectors (by race, class, what have you)? Who or what is responsible for the vibe? Can the vibe change? (Recall the seventies. Older folks can no doubt think of other eras.)

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