Bad predictions, false prophecies and the nostalgia factor

Fred Clark has a post up today in which he notes that the pop-cultural flotsam and jetsam produced by Hal Lindsey, Larry Norman and other end-times enthusiasts back in the 1970s continues to have its fans, even though the dire warnings of imminent doom made by those people never came true. Noting that a Southern Gospel band called The Hoppers recently covered ‘I Wish We’d All Been Ready’ — a song that Norman first recorded way, way back in 1969 — Clark writes:

Shouldn’t the fact that it’s now more than 40 years later cause us to question that message a bit? It reminds me of the book-store customer in about 1994 who wanted to special-order a copy of Hal Lindsey’s The 1980s: Countdown to Armageddon. She was terribly disappointed when I told her it was out of print.

This reminds me of my surprise when, in the early days of DVD, I was flipping through the discs at a local store and discovered that someone had actually re-issued the movie version of The Late Great Planet Earth (1978) in that format. The film, narrated by Orson Welles and based on a best-selling book by Lindsey, makes a number of ominous predictions about the 1980s, none of which came true — and yet, here was the movie, over two decades later, still “in print”, as it were.

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