Prophet and Loss


That’s great, it starts with an earthquake, birds and snakes, an aeroplane
“It’s the end of the world as we know it.”
REM, 1987

My cat Gretel is a prophet of sorts. Well before the onset of a storm she goes into warning mode. Slithers about all snake-like and mews inconsolably. She hates the thunder. She hears it or feels it or whatever critters do while I’m still blissfully unaware of what she is convinced is pending doom.

Our respective feelings about the thunder offer an important insight into the differences in critter and human thinking. While she’s hyper-attuned and near hysterical about the coming commotion, I’m not particularly concerned because I’ve lived through a ton of these things and have yet to be harmed in the least by thunder.

It seems simple enough. We understand our roles and play them well. I suspect most folks and their cats do the same.

There’s a human kind of cat out in Oakland California I’ll bet you heard about recently. Bible thumper by the name of Harold Camping. The Good Reverend Camping has devoted a lifetime to doom and the prophecy thereof. The mechanics of his doomsday predictions vary quite a bit, but the outcomes do not. Like clockwork, they are invariably way off the mark.

Yesterday was to have been a doozy. About 9:00 pm epic earthquakes were going to commence along with the highly unusual spectacle of people spontaneously taking flight. The quakes were for the naughty and the flights were for the nice. Good Christians floating away to meet Jesus is called “the Rapture.” But that’s a very simplistic description of it.

Christian theologians have engaged in a centuries long pissing match over how the Rapture is going to go down. If you wish to know more about that you risk getting between the Dispensationalist Premillennialists and the Amillennialists and that is probably not a place you want to be. But if you insist you might start here.

Meanwhile, back on Earth, Reverend Camping, against all evidence to the contrary, believes with all his might that he’s got the Rapture figured out. And he’d been telling anyone who would listen that yesterday, May 21, 2011, was the big day. Note that I said ‘anyone who would listen.’

I’m profoundly sorry if this offends, but if you’re listening to this guy you may be just as crazy as he is and are most definitely setting yourself up to look like it. He’s more than a harmless prophet of doom. He’s intolerant, divisive, prejudiced and suffers genocidal delusions. That’s one of the parts of this episode that bothers me. If you listen closely to this clown you’ll hear him predict that only 200 million of this planet’s six billion inhabitants are to be among the chosen. The rest, will burn in hell. Does it take a great imagination to figure out who he’s talking about?

The other part of this that concerns me greatly is the coverage that this crazed predictor of genocide received from the mainstream media. It’s not like it’s a slow news day. Take your pick. We got several wars going, intense battles in congress and state legislatures over kitchen table issues, massive flooding along the Mississippi and a rift between Israel’s prime minister and the U.S. president over the borders of a future Palestinian state. Yet Camping’s crazy predictions got him ticktock coverage.

Coverage of an event every human not wearing tin-foil on their noggin knew was not going to happen. Astounding levels of coverage. I just googled “Harold Camping” and got 2,800,000 hits.

My cat Gretel got no coverage yesterday. Yet oddly enough, she was absolutely right about the apocalypse. She didn’t slither about like a snake and mew inconsolably because she knew there wasn’t an apocalypse. Trust me. If there had been, she’d have felt it first and let me know. Gretel is literally a more reliable source on apocalypse than the mass media.

One of the things that’s wrong with the media these days is that it’s more than happy to “flood the zone” with coverage of something they know damn well is nothing.

Their Prophet. Our Loss.

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