Pre-apocalyptic zeitgeist • 26 January 2012 • The SnowBlog
The extent to which I don't have my finger on the common pulse is considerable. For instance, I rarely get my news from TV, which means the current-affairs I know about tends to be skewed towards what seems bad when you think about it rather than on what looks bad when you watch the video of it. But even without all the Mayan calendar nonsense about 2012 being the end of the line, I keep picking up the vibe that lots of people think the end of the world is coming. Soonish.
More and more I read about people obsessing about where they live, where they stash their money or what sort of supplies they keep in the house all considered in the light of Something Bad Happening. And I suspect one of the reasons for the explosion of interest in zombies of late is that it gives us all a chance to consider "what would I do in that situation?". The Walking Dead is a chance for us all to do a bit of personal End of Days planning. And in fact you can find scads of answers to the question of how we should respond to the undead overrunning the Earth from everyone from the CDC to multi-tool maker, Gerber's, Apocalypse Kit.
As well as evangelicals worrying about The Rapture and the rest of us contemplating the Zombie Apocalypse, we've got the real life prospect of climate disaster, we've got the potential catastrophic lock-up of the global banking industry, we've got wars and famines, we've got terrorist threats and we've got periodic panics over pathogens like H1N1 and SARS. And I suppose people can be forgiven for letting those threats seep into the general psyche because - after all - they are real (well, except for terrorism, which statistically speaking, is insignificant in the West) We've always had Survivalists. I suppose if you go back far enough, most people in history were effectively survivalists. But serious interest in what is now called 'Preparedness' waned after the end of the Cold War. Bunkers went out of fashion. And people stopped worrying about whether they had enough candles and tinned food in the house. But if you take a look online now you'll find a lot of very serious thought going into 'prepping' for when SHTF* and we end up WROL*. You can buy Bug-Out Bags from mainstream manufacturers. And there are many sites where you can compare your Everyday Carry (EDC) with others.
And among those who don't wish they had a nickel-plated pump-action Mossberg shotgun to fend off the zombies with you can still pick up hints of 'prepping'. Twenty years ago I didn't know many young women who weaved, knitted, grew their own vegetables or made their own clothes. Now the internet is packed with them. In a world where it's easier and cheaper than ever to rely on shops for everything, more and more people are interested in providing for themselves. Handy, if shops ever become a thing of the past.
And given that this is a publishing blog I should mention all those manuals of recent years that teach you how to survive a myriad of life-threatening situations. Why on earth have SAS Survival guides and Worst Case Scenario handbooks sold so well to comfy urbanites?
So what do you reckon? Have you noticed more than the usual amount of armageddon-ism and what I've come to call 'pre-apocalyptic tension'? And if you have, what do you think it all means?
*Both abbreviations refer to 'endtimes': S*** Hits The Fan and Without Rule Of Law