This week in the End of the World

This week we had a large meteor ripping across the sky over Chelyabinsk, Russia, which is just exactly the sort of spectacular event that gets people talking about the End of the World.

But then people don’t really need anything so spectacular to get them talking about the End of the World — it’s a popular topic, and an obsessive one, for millions even on days when we don’t have multiple dash-cam videos of terror from the skies. Since Phil Plait literally wrote the book on Death From the Skies, I’ll let him explain what you’re seeing in those videos and how it relates to Friday’s other close-encounter with an extraterrestrial visitor.

The fact that this occurred over Russia reminded many of us of Russia’s earlier, more devastating encounter with a meteor — the Tunguska event of 1908. John McKay wrote about that on its 100th anniversary and he reposted that essay Friday.

This explosion in the skies above Russia also prompted a daunting reminder from BooMan that the End of the World is far less likely to come from a meteor or asteroid than from ourselves:

We’re lucky that people have cameras and that Russia has sophisticated radar and the ability to quickly test radiation levels. Because fifty years ago, a meteorite like the one that hit in the Ural Mountains today might have caused World War Three and ended all our lives. Forever.

Joe Hanson notes that events like the Chelyabinsk meteor “are not rare in Earth’s atmosphere, happening at least once per decade.” That makes them almost routine compared to the resignation of a pope — the other big event that had people talking about signs of The End this week.

Here are a few other recent items related, one way or another, to the End of the World:

• John R. Coats at The Huffington Post on “What’s Real About the Rapture?

• “20 Actual Facts About Kirk Cameron That Sound Like April Fool’s Jokes” (both of those via AZspot)

• This came up in my Google reader this week: “Nicolas Cage Ž confirmado em remake de Deixados para Tr‡s, confira p™ster

O primeiro cartaz do remake de Deixados para Tr‡s (“Left Behind”) foi divulgado e confirma o astro Nicolas Cage no papel principal. O filme Ž uma refilmagem do longa-metragem hom™nimo de 2001, que por sua vez Ž uma adapta‹o da sŽrie de livros da dupla Jerry B. Jenkins e Tim LaHaye.

I never realized until just now that I could read Portugese.

Or SpanishOr French.

• Libby Anne on “Growing Up Evangelical at the End of the World

“Dad, when do you think the rapture will happen?”

“Oh, probably in the next five or ten years.”

I was eleven. Eleven.

• Doktor Zoom of Wonkette continues a tour of the textbooks used by fundamentalist Christian homeschoolers, finishing up the A Beka Book publication, World History and Cultures in Christian Perspective.

And what do youngsters learn from their Beka Book history lesson? That the UN is a menace dragging us toward an Antichrist-led one world government that will rule until Jesus comes back:

The movement toward world government and the ongoing conflicts in the Middle East have great significance to those who study world history and cultures in Christian perspective. We are reminded that this tiny region where history began will also be the scene of history’s final events, when Christ returns in triumph to defeat the forces of Satan and to establish Jerusalem as the center of the kingdom of God on Earth. The Scriptures assure us that Christ will bring lasting peace to this troubled area and will personally rule the entire world in righteousness for a thousand years before crushing the final rebellion and ending world history. Knowing this, and knowing the earth-shaking events that will precede the reign of Christ, Christians can view current events with confidence, thrilling at the fulfillment of prophecy and continually endeavoring to be salt and light to a needy world until Christ, the Center of all history returns for His own.

• If you think those last two items just reflect fringe views that don’t affect the rest of America, then please read Andrew Sullivan’s post on how End Times, “Bible prophecy” ideas have shaped the debate over our next Secretary of Defense. Sullivan quotes from Oklahoma Republican Sen. James Inhofe:

I believe very strongly that we ought to support Israel; that it has a right to the land. This is the most important reason: Because God said so. … That is God talking. … This is not a political battle at all. It is a contest over whether or not the word of God is true.

• Is it a sign that the end is near when the Holy Land brings in the closer?

 

 

 

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  • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_OAUXAA362EXWLYVMPJOKLFB5JQ Incipient Madness

    Can anyone provide a reference for the last of those Kirk Cameron Facts? Is he really an advocate of saddlebacking? 

    And thanks for the Libby Anne link. Great as always.

  • http://apocalypsereview.wordpress.com/ Invisible Neutrino

    Nicolas Cage perdu dans le désert sur la première affiche de “Left Behind”

    Nicolae Cage lost in the desert in the first movie poster of “Left Behind” – hmm! It sounds like they’re going to have Rayford in his fully-loaded 747 land in the middle of the Mojave instead of in Chicago.

  • Tricksterson

    The more I hear about this movie the more I’m convinced that it will bear only a minimal resemblance to the book.  Which gives me hope.

  • http://apocalypsereview.wordpress.com/ Invisible Neutrino

    The names of their children are Jack, Isabella, Ahna, Luke, Olivia, and Chaim.

    Oh, hell, he did NOT name one of his kids after Chaim Rosenzweig.

    *blinkblink* He did. Damn. :O

    It was during one of these delusional episodes in which Cameron felt the presence of God inhabiting Moore.

    Okay, I … wow.

    Dudley Moore was acting. Okay?

    How on Earth did acting lead to Kirk Cameron thinking this was in any way divine providence?

    This is the bizarrest and actually most uncomfortable religious conversion story I’ve ever heard. I keep thinking of those stories you hear of people who think they actually are Jesus Christ.

  • http://dpolicar.livejournal.com/ Dave

     FWIW, I know a few folks IRL who believe actors channel disembodied spirits as part of playing a role, whether the actors know it or not. Some of them are themselves actors. (shrug)

  • http://mistformsquirrel.deviantart.com/ mistformsquirrel

     People are weird.  (I say this a lot in RL; there’s always some belief (logical or no) that I’ve never heard of before that pops up and makes me think that.)

  • http://profiles.google.com/marc.k.mielke Marc Mielke

    My guess is that’s probably a $cientology belief. It sounds rather close to how longtime members can recall ‘past lives’, and I wouldn’t be surprised if there was some teaching they had that said it didn’t matter whether said past lives were of fictional characters. 

  • Anton_Mates

    Dudley Moore was acting. Okay?
    How on Earth did acting lead to Kirk Cameron thinking this was in any way divine providence?

    If the article’s correct, it wasn’t Moore’s acting that impressed Cameron but rather his actual delusional episodes due to actual progressive brain damage.  Because progressive supranuclear palsy (which my grandmother had) is a clear sign of God’s favor, you know.

    Although I could see Cameron concluding that only divine providence could explain why Dudley Moore was so much better an actor than himself.

    In his time, he strongly disapproved of applying the theory of evolution to human societies.

    Mind, he strongly approved of applying the theory to human societies descriptively.  For instance, Darwin thought physical differences between various ethnic groups were the product of sexual selection based on differing standards of beauty.  He just didn’t think it had direct implications about the morality of various political or social positions.

    In the Descent of Man he observes (correctly) that vaccination will eventually weaken our genetic resistance to various diseases.  He also observes that compassion and decency require us to vaccinate everyone anyway, because if we didn’t care for the sick and weak we’d become horrible people.

  • http://stealingcommas.blogspot.com/ chris the cynic

    In the Descent of Man he observes (correctly) that vaccination will eventually weaken our genetic resistance to various diseases.  He also observes that compassion and decency require us to vaccinate everyone anyway, because if we didn’t care for the sick and weak we’d become horrible people.

    That’s the thing I hate about the idea that natural=good.  (Insofar as a distinction can be made between natural and unnatural given that human beings, and thus everything they create or do, is a product of nature.)  Nature, left to its own devices is cold and it is cruel.  Nature lacks compassion.

    It is only the beings within nature, ourselves amoung them, that can show compassion.  Not just can, but are obligated to.  Because if nature is left to run it’s course without the interference of compassion the result will be horrible, and we will be horrible for letting that happen.

    We are not the only beings in nature capable of compassion, but the only reason we know this is because those other beings are saying, “Fuck evolution, I want to help,” via their actions.  And, for the record, natural selection and evolution seem to have been pretty kind to those who tell them to go fuck themselves.  It got us here, after all.

    If we wanted a stronger humanity we would kill off the weak, if we wanted a smarter humanity we would kill off the unintelligent.  If we wanted a faster humanity we would kill off the slow.  (All of these things before the individuals in question had time to breed.)  If we want a better humanity we need to try to help everyone.

  • http://twitter.com/FearlessSon FearlessSon

    That’s the thing I hate about the idea that natural=good.  (Insofar as a distinction can be made between natural and unnatural given that human beings, and thus everything they create or do, is a product of nature.)  Nature, left to its own devices is cold and it is cruel.  Nature lacks compassion.

    I would take some argument with that.  Nature is amoral, but not necessarily cruel.  Further, compassion is, in some ways, a core part of our nature.  We, like many other kinds of mammals, are social creatures, evolved in such a way that we have a better chance of survival by watching each other’s back and taking care of the others in our respective packs than we would alone.  In terms of gene theory, we might lose our lives individually for the sake of the group, but the chance for our children and siblings to survive us is higher because of it.  It is why we put such a big importance on family.  We are bred to be compassionate because that is what worked for us in the evolutionary game, and those who were compassionate and took care of each had more opportunities for successful breeding than those who were selfish pricks.  

    Unfortunately, this kind of compassion tends by nature to be of a limited scope.  We are used to thinking in narrow concepts of how our compassion applies, we think of extending compassion to our own tribe, but only secondarily for those in other tribes.  We are at times like a dog who acts happy and friendly with those it knows well, but barks and snarls at strangers.  I think that perhaps one of our more noble traits is the ability through cognition to abstract this instinctual compassion and extend it beyond the narrow boundaries we would be inclined to.  Our compassion can be set beyond our tribe, beyond our community, beyond our nation, and beyond our own species when it comes down to it.  

    I think that is our test of morals.  

  • http://stealingcommas.blogspot.com/ chris the cynic

    Nature is amoral, but not necessarily cruel.

    That’s true.  It’s just that often the difference between amorality and cruelty is meaningless to the one on the receiving end.  But you’re right, calling it cruel assigns a standing that isn’t really there.  Nature simply doesn’t care.

    When I said, “And, for the record, natural selection and evolution seem to have been pretty kind to those who tell them to go fuck themselves.  It got us here, after all,” I was referring to the benefit (to the group) of working for the survival of those who were not the fittest.  Even though it seems to go against the grain of natural selection as a force evolution, compassion has actually been rewarded by selective pressures.

    Compassion works, and that’s how we got here.  It seems counter-evolutionary (those that would be weeded out are instead protected and allowed to pass on their genes) but since it works evolution has drawn certain species, our own amoung them, in that direction.

    We are at times like a dog who acts happy and friendly with those it knows well, but barks and snarls at strangers.

    My dog is a rescue, thus breed unknown.  But it appears to be a Mountain Cur.  (Look up Mountain Cur on wikipedia and you’ll see a picture that looks like it could have been taken of my dog.)

    This is a breed that was bred to bark.  Both to scare potential dangers away from its humans and to frighten game during hunts.  It wasn’t bred to do much of anything once it got to the game, in fact better that it didn’t since sometimes, apparently, the game in question was bear (dog vs. bear is not a good spot for the dog) it’s just bred to bark in a frightening manner.  In spite of my family’s best efforts to the contrary, his breeding seems more powerful.  He barks at anything he doesn’t recognize, and sometimes people he does recognize until he’s close enough to sniff them for extra surety.

    This has nothing to do with anything on topic, but I decided to bring it up anyway.

  • ohiolibrarian

     Actually altruistic behavior exists throughout nature. It’s much more common than used to be thought.

  • http://blog.trenchcoatsoft.com Ross

     It drives me nuts when people claim that human intelligence “breaks” evolution because humans develop selection pressures that are suited to living in a civilization rather than living out in nature without the  benefit of civilization. As if it violates the principles of natural selection that humans would adapt themselves to take advantage of the environment we actually live in.

  • http://apocalypsereview.wordpress.com/ Invisible Neutrino

    Well, in that respect consider the coelacanth: So perfectly adapted to the environment it lives in that the species has gone essentially unchanged for millions of years.

    Humans have just short-circuited the process by adapting the environment to ourselves instead of being ever-more-adapted to the environment we live in.

  • http://blog.trenchcoatsoft.com Ross

    The specific sort of claims I’m talking about are things like “Humans break evolution because we become reliant on things like clothes and medicine and most of us aren’t strong enough to kill our own food and people need glasses, and men are sometimes attracted to women without good birthing hips. If civilization collapsed all those people would be fucked. Proper evolution would make us better suited ot live out in the wild,” completely overlooking that we *don’t* live out in the wild, and my ability to hold down a job and get along with my neighbors does way more to help me propogate my DNA than the ability to chase down an antelope would.

  • caryjamesbond

    With such people, it is often helpful to point them towards the blobfish as the triumph of evolution it is.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Blobfish

    Any organism, from a virus to a bluewhale to a human to a blobfish, has one inherent purpose- pass on its genes.  That is it.  The mechanisms for doing so are incredibly complex and often strange, but boil down to the same thing.*

    So the blobfish- it lives in extremely deep waters. It’s environment is about as unchanging as you can get. Freezing cold, intense pressure, no light, barely any nutrients. So it drifts, eats whatever it bumps into, stores virtually no nutrients in its body (making it not worth chasing) and is almost the consistency of water (reducing its energy expenditure and probably making it harder to hunt.)  In any other environment- terrible adaptation. In incredibly deep water- a magnificent example of evolution.  It is perfectly adapted to the exact stresses of its environment.  Stresses which are not likely to change.  deep oceans are deep oceans- I seriously doubt that the deep oceans of 100 million years ago had significantly different conditions than those of today. 

    We live in extremely varied environments that change much more rapidly, so the ability to adapt is most useful to us- and thats what we do, adapt.  We live happily everywhere from arctic wastes to Amazonian tree-villages. That means we’re one of the most successful species at passing down genes. I look at glasses and other such aids  as essentially, removing a stress from the habitat. Glasses have made bad eyesight neutral where evolution is concerned. 

  • Jenny Islander

    Glasses were hailed as the best thing to happen to humankind since something or other (the invention of steel?) within a few decades of their invention.  Seriously, somebody preached a sermon on this exact topic.  It’s been hypothesized that without eyeglasses the Renaissance would not have been so vigorous.  Their market grew rapidly, considering the infrastructure, because everybody who saw them in use could grasp their usefulness instantly.  People didn’t have to retire as their eyes changed in their old age, so they could keep on working, inventing, teaching, creating.  It’s been hypothesized that the Renaissance would not have been so vigorous, or have begun when it did, without eyeglasses–it is often dated to about the time when they became available throughout Europe.

    As for the superiority of being out in nature–people who are “out in nature” today are only out there because they have technology!  Take an African hunter-gatherer who can survive with a bow and arrows and a toolkit small enough to carry on his belt.  Take away his bow and arrows and his toolkit.  What happens? He is forced into a miserable scavenging existence until he can make more weapons and tools, and if he can’t find the materials to make more weapons  and tools, he dies.  We don’t even think about the technological advances that were required for us to be able to colonize parts of our planet at all.  Without a complex, painstakingly maintained, and meticulously taught technological package, pre-industrial Eskimos would have died within minutes in their own ancestral homeland.

    Technology has been used to trump physiology for as long as we have been human, and any Social Darwinist who fantasizes about surviving in the raw wilderness with nothing but his bare hands and his mighty brain is stupid.

  • Jenny Islander

    Hit Post before done editing, my apologies.

  • Carstonio

     Yes. I don’t see much difference in evolutionary terms between beavers’ ability to bring down trees to build homes and humans’ ability to build civilizations. Both are adaptations. “Breaking” evolution is a fundamental misunderstanding of the concept. The claims you criticize are really Social Darwinist.

  • arcseconds

     I think this sort of thinking is connected with the idea that evolution is about ‘improving’ creatures —  making them harder, better, faster, stronger.

    (and caryjamesbond’s example of the blobfish is indeed a remedy for that, but there’s plenty of others! take any sessile animal, for example. sometimes evolution makes you slow, soft and squishy.)

    The view pretends to be based on science, but commits the naturalistic fallacy and projects values onto us and nature all over the place.  Evolution *betters* things, we *should* be *bettering* ourselves as a species, we *should* be trying to make the environment in which we grow and live (i.e. civilization) more like the environment which shaped us, harshness is *good*, soft easy lives are *bad*.  

    (It’s obviously got a lot of values in common with social darwinism, as Castenio points out, but it’s not actually social darwinism.  This perspective has eugenics as an obvious solution, and it’s possible to be both a eugenicist and a socialist: give breeding rights to ‘the best stock’, but keep everyone happy even if infertile)

    To really ‘break’ evolution would mean that there is no selection whatsoever happening on us, and I don’t even know what that would look like.   You can see selection happening all the time.  Lots of people don’t breed for any one of a number of reasons.   People with genetic disorders often don’t breed, sometimes by choice, sometimes because they can’t, sometimes because they don’t get an opportunity.  A world without selection would require that neither survival nor breeding are at all statistically correlated with ones genes.  As selection happens even prior to conception, at minimum this would require the process from meiosis onwards be carried out as a careful laboratory procedure.   We’d also have to allow every sperm/ova pair that’s randomly selected to produce a new human to itself be able to produce offspring — no matter how unviable the resulting embryo.

  • http://blog.trenchcoatsoft.com Ross

    In 2010, Comfort sent out appointment cards to elderly people
    advising them of the date and time of their death, and informing them to
    contact evangelists to avoid going to hell.

    There are not enough words to express the utter and complete assholish asininity of this kind of thing.

    I just keep thinking of that Joke From A Church Bulletin Board:

    Services will be delayed as the Rev. John Smith departed for heaven at 10:30 AM today

    3:30 PM: Hasn’t arrived yet. Getting worried — St. Peter

  • AnonymousSam

    The idea of the end of the world becoming a meme is what led me to start writing my current story, which is currently on the third chapter and a little over 10,000 words. ^_^

  • http://www.blogger.com/home?pli=1 Coleslaw

    You left out the part where “lightning strikes tall structure with metal object on top” made headlines around the world.

  • Lori

    Downey points to Gertz’s decision to leave him for Cameron as the
    beginning of the drug habit that would derail his career in the 1990s. 

    I can certainly understand why being left for such a moronic asshat would be upsetting, I still find this the most depressing thing I’ve read in a while. CamCam is so totally unworthy of RDJ’s notice in any way.

  • http://stealingcommas.blogspot.com/ chris the cynic

    I have a habit of making Tunguska references* but for today I’ll steal someone else’s:

    Dr Ray Stantz: Are you okay?
    Louis: Who are you guys?
    Dr Ray Stantz: We’re the Ghostbusters.
    Louis: Who does your taxes?
    Dr Ray Stantz: You know, Mr. Tully, you are a most fortunate individual.
    Louis: I know!
    Dr Ray Stantz: You have been a participant in the biggest interdimensional cross rip since the Tunguska blast of 1909!
    Louis: Felt great.
    Dr. Egon Spengler: We’d like to get a sample of your brain tissue.
    Louis: Okay.

    Moving to the present event.

    I’m told that most of the injures were from curiosity.  Big giant light out side makes you go to the window.  Shock-wave shatters the window.  I probably would have done the same thing, and thus gotten just as injured.  Curiosity can be a dangerous thing, but it’s also, I think fundamental.  If we don’t wonder what and where and how and why and such, then science wouldn’t exist.

    I think part of the reason for interest in the end of he world is that it can only happen once.  The world can not end every moment of every day, as it has done for as long as there has been a world, but you only get to have one ending.  That uniqueness makes it seem special.It’s why I sometimes realize that a part of me is rooting for the bond villians, or Tommy Lee Jones in Under Siege.  Yes they’re evil, but they’re also fun.

    Yes Alec Trevelyan is going to send London back to the stone age but he’s also got a really inventive way to rob a bank and his, “Spare me the Freud,” speech appears to be at once off the cuff and cuttingly accurate.

    Yes Tommy Lee Jones is going to nuke Honolulu but he plays the part well enough that you really, somehow, don’t give a damn.  You just want him to kick Steven Seagal’s ass and get away with it.  Meanwhile Gary Busey is taking a hands on approach (he repairs the submarine himself) rather than sitting back and letting other people do all the work, and the guy who plays O’Brian on Star Trek is the guy who plays O’Brian on Star Trek.  When they toast “Welcome to the revolution,” it’s just plain fun.  So, especially if you tuned in after they committed murder, they’re so much more compelling than Steven Seagal and co. that you really do want them to somehow win.

    It’s like what’shisface said in Die Hard 4 where he always thought a fire sale would be cool, and it would be, in fiction.  Not in reality.

    *The fact that I gave that it’s own tag implies I originally planed for there to be more than one post.  Maybe I should get back to it at some point.

  • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_2CUJHSQSQYTYT4DPZSKTVESYNQ B

     Bert the Turtle: Now tell me right out loud, what are you supposed to do when you see the flash?

    1950s: Duck and cover!

    2010s: Run outside to take a video to post on YouTube!(That said, I’m glad it’s no longer the 1950s.)

  • http://twitter.com/FearlessSon FearlessSon

    This reminds me that this weekend I have been playing through Metro 2033 (based on the book of the same title from which I hear it is a fairly faithful adaptation.)  So named because it takes place in Moscow after an apocalyptic world war and the surface is shrouded in nuclear winter, with the survivors moving underground and living in the old Moscow metro tunnels.  By this point the setting is alternate history since it has been twenty years since the war, the main character was born just as people were going underground, and he has never known anything else.  

    We talk a lot sometimes about the Cold War paranoia, and the fear that global nuclear annihilation was a very real possibility.  But the perspective we see in the west on this scenario is necessarily western.  It is nice to see the perspective on the scenario from the other side of the former Iron Curtain.  

    Here in the west, we tend to see atomic horror as being arid, blasted wastelands, all hot and desperate, like the nuclear test sites in the southwest.  In Russia, they see atomic horror as being frigid darkness, all cold and desperate, like a Russian winter.  

  • http://twitter.com/FearlessSon FearlessSon

    Doktor Zoom of Wonkette continues a tour of the textbooks used by fundamentalist Christian homeschoolers, finishing up the A Beka Book publication, World History and Cultures in Christian Perspective.

    I really wish we could clamp down on this kind of stuff on a national level.  Have only a certain subset of textbooks approved for home school use, require home school students to go into public schools to take supervised tests to ensure that they are meeting the same standards as those students attending, and do not let sectarian slants get in the way of objective education.  We need to choke the life out of this kind of student-sabotaging “education”, because while I respect a parent’s freedom to educate their children how they please, we need the results of those methods to put them in the same place as everyone else.  

    Those children grow up and vote, and if we cannot agree on a certain set of basal assumptions about the nature of the world we live in, how can we ever expect to form a consensus about how to deal with that world?  

  • Stressfactor

    Thanks to his ‘electioneering’ efforts I’m afraid I’ve become an occasional watcher of good old William Tapley — the self-proclaimed “Co-Prophet of the End Times” and “Third Eagle of the Apocalypse”.  With all that’s been going on lately he’s giddily tying himself in knots to explain how all this is ‘End Times’ events. 

    I’m a little ashamed of myself of getting such enjoyment out of his insane interpretations but on the other hand I’m also really super puzzled about how a man who claims to be a devout Catholic got jumbled up with ‘Rapture Fever’.  

    What’s going to be fun over the next several years will be watching the man tie himself in knots as he insists he is a devout Catholic but also insists that whoever the Cardinals in Rome elect as the next Pope will actually be the ‘Anti-Pope’ whose job it is to “introduce the Anti-Christ to the world’.

  • Rhubarbarian82

    …the next Pope will actually be the ‘Anti-Pope’ whose job it is to “introduce the Anti-Christ to the world’.

    We’ve actually had lots of Antipopes! I didn’t know this until just last week. I dunno how it fits into the crazy Rapture conspiracies, but according to Wikipedia we’ve had around 40 Antipopes over the last two millenia.

  • http://twitter.com/FearlessSon FearlessSon

    We’ve actually had lots of Antipopes! I didn’t know this until just last week. I dunno how it fits into the crazy Rapture conspiracies, but according to Wikipedia we’ve had around 40 Antipopes over the last two millenia.

    If a Pope and an Antipope come into contact, do they annihilate each other in an explosion of grace?  

  • http://blog.trenchcoatsoft.com Ross

    All through the middle ages, there were sworn legions of knight-priests roving the countrysides of Europe to prevent the pope and the antipope from every running into one another.

  • P J Evans

     It must have been fun, the year that there were three popes.

  • AnonymousSam

    Indeed. You couldn’t predict their trajectory after more than a few units of time.

  • christopher_y

    It must have been fun, the year that there were three popes.

    What, 1978? Oh. You mean three at the same time?

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Ann-Unemori/100001112760232 Ann Unemori

    Sure, they even made a film about it, well, sort of, just check out the link:
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DOtP7O5Bpcs

  • Trixie_Belden

    Thank you for that link.  I still remember the joy of discovering SCTV one day while I was idly flipping channels.

  • http://jamoche.dreamwidth.org/ Jamoche

    All through the middle ages, there were sworn legions of knight-priests roving the countrysides of Europe to prevent the pope and the antipope from every running into one another.

    OK, I’m saving that to use in a D&D campaign someday.

    Also, I’ve got a line in an Avengers fanfic where Natasha can’t go undercover anymore because, as Tony puts it, “Every New Yorker with a smart phone posted something to YouTube – can’t say much for their survival instincts.”

  • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_2RAPF5V3YPOUWAZGAJ2VCQM76Q Alicia

    I like the Antipope though. He has some refreshingly modern views on same-sex marriage and keeps a bowl of condoms on his desk at work. He still wears the robe and hat, but only on formal occasions to keep the College of Anti-Cardinals happy.

  • http://jesustheram.blogspot.com/ Mr. Heartland

    No, not by mundane ‘contact’.  But the universe would collapse if the pope had sex with an antipope. 

    This is actually a bigger danger  than you’d think, since every new Pope must access the Vatican Time machine and make love to his  immediate predessesor, Innocent III, and Simon Peter himself before being formally crowned.  So there are actually four or five living Popes walking around in most time loops and it’s only a matter of when before one of them gets fatally confused. 

    A lot of good men had to die for me to learn this information. 

  • http://stealingcommas.blogspot.com/ chris the cynic

    Crap.  I meant to mention Stanislav Petrov.  Want to know why there wasn’t a nuclear war on September 26, 1983?  Stanislav Petrov.  He saved us all.  I wouldn’t have been born if not for him.  (My older sister would have been born, but would have died before her first birthday.)

  • Matri

    This is the most important reason: Because God said so. … That is God talking.

    In that case, God sounds a lot like a cosmic-grade asshole.

  • http://stealingcommas.blogspot.com/ chris the cynic

    Also, wasn’t there that whole thing where the rabbis were 3 to one on a topic and God said, “The guy who is outnumbered is right,” and the rabbis responded, “That makes it 3 to 2, your side still loses”?  God can be out voted.

  • LoneWolf343

     The punchline I heard was “You stay out of this!”

  • http://stealingcommas.blogspot.com/ chris the cynic

    Haven’t heard that before, but I like it.  Thanks for sharing.

  • Tricksterson

    I’ve heard both versions.

  • stardreamer42

     As the saying goes, “Two Jews, three opinions.”

  • http://hummingwolf.livejournal.com/ Hummingwolf

    In addition to the asteroid and the Russian meteor explosion, there was also an unrelated, smaller meteor spotted over California.  There were reports of a fireball in the sky over Cuba in that same 24-hour period as well, though I haven’t heard yet whether that’s thought to be related to the California sightings or not.
     
    So far, the conspiracy theories I’ve seen about these “signs” in the sky haven’t been nearly entertaining enough to be worth the effort of reading them.  It’s been a great disappointment to me.  Here’s hoping there’ll be more interesting and bizarre theories this week!

  • Stressfactor

     Check out William Tapley’s 7 or 8 part YouTube video exploration of how the music video for “Gangnam Style” is actually a secret prophecy from Enoch — who had been reborn on Earth… in South Korea apparently as well — and how said video prophesies such things as the fact that the Anti-Christ will probably be gay and will get married to another man, and so on and so forth….

    I so wish I was actually kidding about this…. or maybe I’m not because I have to say again that the crazy is entertaining.  Also, cannot find any signs that this is a poe….

    But any rate — yeah, 7 or 8 videos devoted to how “Gangnam Style” is prophetic.  Instead of just being… you know, a crazy music video that doesn’t even make that much sense in the context of Korean culture….

  • Consumer Unit 5012

     I have to ask… if this guy is the Third Eagle of the Apocalypse, what happened to the First and Second?

  • LeRoc

    Somehow, your reader left out all the accented letters from the Portuguese.

  • Trixie_Belden

    Re the Kirk Cameron link:

    “…..becoming a born-again Christian. As a result, he demanded that his fiance on the show, who was played by Julie McCullough, be written out of the show because she had appeared in Playboy. McCullough did a follow-up episode a year later but was not happy about it because she resented Cameron for having her fired.

     After Cameron’s religious conversion, he accused three of the producers who attempted to introduce light adult themes to the show of being pornographers. The three producers resigned rather than deal with Cameron, who had become increasingly difficult to work with after his conversion.

    In 1989, Cameron forced producers to kill off the character of Tracy Gold’s boyfriend, who was played by Matthew Perry, because he believed that Perry was an agent of Satan.

    For crying out loud – how on earth did one “teen heartthrob” on a sitcom end up with so much clout?  Wasn’t Alan Thicke on Growing Pains ?  Wasn’t he kind of popular?  Couldn’t he or someone else step forward to stop Cameron’s reign of terror?   Why didn’t some one point out to Cameron that they could swap him out for Willie Aames and no one would notice?  (Am I the only one who finds it rather creepy how much alike Aames and Cameron look?)

    Baio, his “Charles in Charge” co-star, Willie Aames (also an evangelical Christian) and Cameron pitched an idea for a sitcom to ABC about three down-on-their-luck roommates — a gay man on public assistance, a drug addict, and a environmentalist free-spirit — who straightened out their lives after a religious awakening.

    Well, now I’m wondering: which one of them wanted to (ahem) play the part of the gay man? 

  • http://apocalypsereview.wordpress.com/ Invisible Neutrino

    Five bucks it was Kirk. There’ve been rumors going around that he actually is bisexual, if not gay.

  • Trixie_Belden

    That, sir, is a bet I’m not taking.

    Re: your point about him getting leeway because of his looks – while I never watched an entire episode of Growing Pains -yeah, I can understand that being the cute guy on the show would give him a certain amount of leverage, but that much leverage?  I always thought the harsh fact about Hollywood was that there were always hundreds of equally good-looking actors out there just hoping for a break; ready to step into someone else’s shoes at a moment’s notice (e.g. Willie Aames, who looks to me to be a Cameron clone).  I’ll bet there were other actors out there.  Too bad the show didn’t have the courage to call his bluff.

  • hidden_urchin

    They were probably worried that he would sue for religious discrimination or something. That’s the only thing I can think of because, in addition to your point, I always heard producers outranked actors when it came to creative decisions.

  • Lori

    I always thought the harsh fact about Hollywood was that there were
    always hundreds of equally good-looking actors out there just hoping for
    a break; ready to step into someone else’s shoes at a moment’s notice (e.g. Willie
    Aames, who looks to me to be a Cameron clone).

    This is true when you’re getting started, but doesn’t really apply once you’re a phenom. Hollywood likes a bird in the hand. Once CamCam got on the cover of Tiger Beat there was very little chance that he would fired, no matter how terrible his behavior. Spoiled brats of all ages are thick on the ground in the business.

      I’ll bet there were
    other actors out there.  Too bad the show didn’t have the courage to
    call his bluff. 

    They didn’t need Willie Aames or some unknown, they had Leonardo DiCaprio. He had actual talent, even then, and from what I’ve heard he’s never been a PITA. What they should have done was fired Cameron, writen Mike off the show and focused on DiCaprio’s character. In retrospect I bet the writers and producers really wish that’s what they’d done.

  • Turcano

    Why didn’t someone point out to Cameron that they could swap him out for Willie Aames and no one would notice?

    Well, except for a possible uptick in acting talent.

  • http://www.nicolejleboeuf.com/index.php Nicole J. LeBoeuf-Little

    Wasn’t Alan Thicke on Growing Pains ?  Wasn’t he kind of popular?  Couldn’t he or someone else step forward to stop Cameron’s reign of terror?

    At the very least, Thicke needs to come on back and ground that boy. “Go to your room! And don’t come out until you’re 50! …Give me that cell phone.” swipe! “And don’t you let me catch you posting to the Internet while you’re up there, either.” mutters “‘Way of the Master’…? Of all the nonsense–Hey! Quit stomping or I’ll come up there and stomp YOU!”

  • http://apocalypsereview.wordpress.com/ Invisible Neutrino

    I think if someone had sat Kirk Cameron down the day he started insistently pushing around his religion like Rayford does in the LB books, and told him that his behavior was plainly unacceptable and would not be indulged, he would have learned a valuable lesson: That being a pushy asshat to get what one wants is just not on.

    It would definitely have taught a lesson one generally learns: that social graces include being able to ask nicely for things and be able to take “no” for an answer.

    I think being laughed at over that ‘proposal’ for some kind of wayward trio helped deflate Kirk’s ego a bit, but it doesn’t seem to have set him sufficiently in the direction of non-asshattiness and compassion for others (as witness his ignorant remarks about QUILTBAG people).

  • http://www.facebook.com/jon.maki Jon Maki

    I worked as a janitor for my student job when I was in college, and one night at work in one of the supply closets I stumbled upon some old copies of Playboy that had apparently been stashed there years before by one of the former employees.
    One of them was the issue that featured Ms. McCullough, and I remember thinking, “Hey, it’s that actress that Kirk Cameron had fired!”
    I brought the magazines home, and when my then-wife saw the issue she said, “Isn’t that the chick that Kirk Cameron had fired because she posed for this?”  After checking out the pictorial, she said, “What a dumbass.  I mean, just look at her.”
    It was funny, because prior to seeing the pictorial she had liked Kirk Cameron, but seeing the woman who had lost her job because of him made her dislike him from that point on.

  • http://apocalypsereview.wordpress.com/ Invisible Neutrino

    To be fair to Kirk Cameron, Chelsea Noble was a real knockout when she was younger and she still looks quite good today.

  • http://www.facebook.com/jon.maki Jon Maki

    Yeah, it’s true – she was/is a looker.
    I always get her mixed up with the actress who married Scott Bakula.
    Chelsea…Noble, maybe?
    The one who played Teela in the live-action Masters of the Universe movie.
    Edit: See? I continue to get them confused. Is it Chelsea Field?
    Edit 2: Yep, Field.

  • Lori

    Wow, Chelsea Field and Scott Bakula are still married. That’s so sweet. Hollywood marriage years are like dog years, so 17 for them is the equivalent of about 50 for normal people. Go them.

  • http://deird1.dreamwidth.org Deird

    As a result, he demanded that his fiance on the show, who was played
    by Julie McCullough, be written out of the show because she had appeared
    in Playboy.

    “After deciding to follow Jesus, Cameron got a coworker fired.”

    …does not compute.

  • http://stealingcommas.blogspot.com/ chris the cynic

    “After deciding to follow Jesus, Cameron got a coworker fired.”

    …does not compute.

    Turbo-Jesus.  Completely unlike that other Jesus.

  • Emilyoren1

    The most important thing for a certain very large group of Christians in the U.S. to do is slut-shame. The only thing that approaches the centrality of slut-shaming in their belief system is homophobia. Standing on street corners shouting at female college students that they’re whore-sluts who are going to hell; getting co-workers fired for showing their bodies, if those co-workers are women; claiming that female virginity before marriage is the only important thing about women before marriage, and rests in the hymen, while male virginity isn’t even a thing; claiming that a married woman exists to service her husband, period; rape cheerleading; hating any woman who shows any sign of sexuality.

    I would have been shocked if I found out a vocal celebrity Christian in this country opposed firing any woman who had posed in Playboy. Or who had talked favorably of masturbation for women. Or who said she did not want children. Or who had had sex with people she was not married to, and did not pretend to regret it.

  • http://twitter.com/FearlessSon FearlessSon

    The most important thing for a certain very large group of Christians in the U.S. to do is slut-shame.

    You know what we need to do?  We need to start a culture of slut-shaming-shaming.  If people start mouthing off about other people being sexual degenerates who are tearing the moral fabric of the nation apart  then we need to start booing them and calling them judgmental assholes who ought to know better.  For shame, shame!

  • MaryKaye

    When I was a little girl in Alaska, we got our TV, including news, via tapes mailed up from the Lower 48, so everything–including “live news”–was 2-3 days late.  My family’s joke was that the world would end and we wouldn’t know for 3 days.

    I just read that a joke is making the rounds in Russia–this meteor strike was meant to be part of the Mayan Apocalypse, but it’s well known that the Russian post can’t deliver anything on time, so it’s just arrived now….

    Made me chuckle, it did.

  • http://apocalypsereview.wordpress.com/ Invisible Neutrino

    It has been said that for some young actors, the consequence of the way they get spotlighted and feted and in general made much of, is that they have poor personal boundaries and so get into trouble (excessive drug use, excessive drinking, etc).

    I guess for Kirk Cameron, the result instead was to be steeped in Christian dogmatism and to not understand in any realistic manner how a person ought to behave when it comes to making his faith part of his life.

    I suspect the reason he was given so much leeway is because to be perfectly honest, in his teenage years particularly he was quite physically attractive. The people in charge seem to have decided at the time that pulling him off the show might have hurt ratings.

    It’s a real shame, though, that he became such a holy terror to people back then.

  • Carstonio

    I had confused Noble with Lori Loughlin, which is appropriate because Loughlin’s co-star John Stamos supports gay rights. Is it fair to call Stamos the anti-Cameron?

  • http://apocalypsereview.wordpress.com/ Invisible Neutrino

    Oh PS everyone

    Guess how old Chelsea Noble was when she had her first pregnancy with Kirk Cameron?

    Thirty-Six.

  • badJim

    I  had no idea that what Cameron suggests for preserving virginity was generally accepted. In any event, here’s a hilarious song about it from Garfunkel & Oates (definitely NSFW!)

  • Rae

    That Russian meteor totally made me want to invest in a dash cam, or at least a dashboard mount for a cheap flip cam. Not that it’s likely that it’ll catch any other meteors, but there’s been enough times driving in LA that I’ve seen something awesome and hilarious and wished I could film or photograph it…

    And those Christian history textbooks… I used a slightly earlier edition of that exact textbook and the science textbooks by the same publisher. How in the world did I end up a well-adjusted adult, with a real science degree?

  • flat

    people like kirk Cameron and justin Bieber were the reason when I was young I never wanted to be a celebrity.

  • Mark Z.

    For all his teen-heartthrob self-contained-punchline-ness, Justin Bieber seems to be a pretty decent guy. He doesn’t belong in the same sentence with Kirk “I demand that you fire this slut that I somehow know appeared in Playboy, not that I read it or anything” Cameron.

  • http://apocalypsereview.wordpress.com/ Invisible Neutrino

    That said, Bieber has availed himself of problematic statements about abortion.

  • Mark Z.

    Ah, “problematic”. The prized white ermine of weasel words.

    “Problematic” is a great word for passive-aggressive scolding, because it has no factual content. If you said “wrong”, then you’d have to show how his statements don’t line up with reality. If you said “harmful”, the obvious question is “what harm did he do?” If you said “ignorant”, you’d need to show how he’s displaying a lack of understanding.

    But “problematic” can’t be argued with. It’s a naked assertion of social power: I declare that you are a problem. And you don’t have to be wrong, or harmful, or ignorant, or foolish, or hateful, to be a problem. It’s just a way of whipping up the mob against someone.

    When one of the monkeys does something we don’t like, we throw shit at him. “Problematic” is flying shit in a four-syllable word.

  • EllieMurasaki

    Justin Bieber’s statement about abortion, quoted in full as presented in the article linked in the comment you reply to:

    “I really don’t believe in abortion,” Bieber says. “It’s like killing a baby?”

    That statement is problematic because women have the right to do as they like with their bodies, in particular making sure nothing is in their bodies that is not welcome, and also fetuses are by definition not babies. Bieber is welcome to think that killing a fetus is like killing a baby, provided he understands that ‘is like’ is not ‘is’ and that he does not have the right to say that anyone other than himself is forbidden from evicting a fetus from inside them (an experience he will not, of course, ever have). I doubt he understands that.

    There, laid out at least some of the reasons why Bieber’s statement about abortion is problematic. Am I still throwing meaningless shit by saying ‘problematic’?

  • Mark Z.

    Yes. You haven’t disputed any factual claims he made, because he didn’t make any; you haven’t criticized any action he’s taking or proposing to take, because, again, he didn’t. You have expressed doubt that he understands something. I suppose, on some level, you’re accusing him of ignorance. But the word you use is not “ignorant”, but, perversely, stupidly, like some kind of Turing-test chatbot written by a USC undergrad and trained on the comments section at Shakesville, “problematic”.

    (And he certainly does have the right to say that anyone other than himself is forbidden from having an abortion. He just doesn’t have the right to try to stop them. I can’t say I follow the life of Justin Bieber in great detail, but if he had chained himself to the doors of a women’s health clinic I probably would have heard about that.)

  • vsm

    So do you always do this when someone utters the word problematic, or…?

  • EllieMurasaki

    I just wanna know what’s actually problematic about ‘problematic’. Far’s I can tell, the word doesn’t hurt anyone, he just doesn’t want it used on account of it describes too broad a concept. Well, yeah. It describes a broad concept we don’t otherwise have a word for. It’s not wrong, for example, to have a piece of media that focuses on heterocis white men to the near exclusion of everyone else, but it’s problematic, especially in context of a thousand pieces of similar media and only a handful that are different. It’s problematic, to narrow the focus some more, that most of Supernatural’s black male characters are antagonists and every one of them is dead, but I find it hard to argue that it’s wrong.

    We need a word for the concept of ‘poses a problem but isn’t inherently wrong’. ‘Problematic’ suits. What’s wrong with the word?

  • http://dpolicar.livejournal.com/ Dave

    I assume that the piss in their Cheerios derives from the fact that stronger claims like wrong are easier to challenge, and they prefer conversational styles that make it easier to challenge people.

  • vsm

    I meant to reply to Mark Z. I don’t find problematic problematic at all. Well, I suppose it’s annoying if someone just says a given work is problematic without explaining further (which is not what Invisible Neutrino did, because the link makes it clear enough), but that applies to any negative label. Here it’s just a bit more pronounced because of how vague the word is. Say, if I called Psycho queerphobic, readers would probably guess I was talking about Norman’s portrayal, but if I just called it problematic, I might be referring to anything from the whole sex=murder thing to its depiction of Arizona.

    However, I’ve found that most people who regularly use the word tend to love a bit of media analysis, and are thus usually happy to explain their problem without prodding.

  • http://apocalypsereview.wordpress.com/ Invisible Neutrino

    I did rather think the link explained all I needed to say on the matter.

    Anyway, as an addendum, yes, Bieber is young, and hopefully with some age he’ll understand more about the troubles that face young women and come to grasp that his initial views on abortion were hurtful.

  • EllieMurasaki

    The word I used is ‘problematic’ because his opinion poses a problem. I went on to explain exactly why his opinion poses a problem, which I thought addressed your objection to the use of ‘problematic’ without explaining what the problem is. I suppose I skipped the bit where Bieber is old enough to vote for pro-forced-birth politicians who make pro-forced-birth laws, but silly me thought that was fucking obvious.

    And if actions and factual claims are the only things that count, what exactly do you object to about ‘problematic’? I haven’t heard anything from you about actions you plan to take and I sure as hell haven’t heard any factual claims. Just a whole bunch of bullshit.

  • http://blog.trenchcoatsoft.com Ross

     Now, I’ve had some very liberal women defend Bieber based on the notion that he’s young and his statement was pretty mild and that hopefully he’ll wise up in time.

    But me, I just can’t get past the idea that, somewhere, there’s a very frightened fifteen year old girl who thinks that Justin Bieber just called her a murderer.

  • http://dpolicar.livejournal.com/ Dave

    > But “problematic” can’t be argued with.

    Certainly it can. Many things in the world aren’t in the least bit problematic, and to claim that they are is to make a false claim, and therefore one which can be argued.

    But, sure, I agree that “problematic” is a weaker claim than “wrong” or “harmful”, and therefore more difficult to disprove or challenge.

    And I guess if it’s very important to you to be able to disprove or challenge people’s claims, I can understand why you consider that… um… suboptimal.

  • BaseDeltaZero

    How on Earth did acting lead to Kirk Cameron thinking this was in any way divine providence?

    For Kirk Cameron, acting might as well be an act of divine intervention.

    He ties Darwin’s theory to Nazi eugenics.

    FUCK YOU Kirk Cameron, you contemptible jackass!

    To be fair, eugenics, Nazi or otherwise, is somewhat based on ‘Darwin’s Theory’… it’s just that it’s what happens when you apply an utter lack of morality to an incomplete understanding of evolution.  (And you’re totally right in saying Darwin would have disapproved)

    If a Pope and an Antipope come into contact, do they annihilate each other in an explosion of grace?

    If by ‘grace’ you mean Alpha and Omega radiation, then yes.

    “And, for the record, natural selection and evolution seem to have been pretty kind to those who tell them to go fuck themselves.  It got us here, after all,”

    ‘Them’ being natural selection and evolution, rather than ‘the weak’, I take it?

    To really ‘break’ evolution would mean that there is no selection whatsoever happening on us, and I don’t even know what that would look like.

    Complete transhumanist self-selection, either genetic or mechanical?  If you have that kind of level of control over one’s ‘genetics’, then…
    A: You lose the connection of ‘fitness’ to ‘ancestry’.
    B: It’s not a ‘natural’ mechanism in any event.

  • http://dpolicar.livejournal.com/ Dave

    eugenics, Nazi or otherwise, is somewhat based on ‘Darwin’s Theory’.

    Can you expand on this further? Animal breeders existed for a long time before Darwin, and it seems to me that eugenics can easily be based on the knowledge underlying animal breeding.

  • BaseDeltaZero

    Partially, yes.  But the modern ‘science’ of Eugenics is explicitly based on evolutionary theory (according to its own founder).  The fact that it’s not precisely what one would call moral, and based on a drastic underestimation of how difficult it is to accurately predict the effects of its ‘interventions’, is irrelevant to that fact.

    Just like the Westboro Baptist Church is ‘based on’ the Gospel.

  • http://dpolicar.livejournal.com/ Dave

     Ah, so when you talk about eugenics you’re referring specifically to Galton and his followers? Fair enough.

  • http://blog.trenchcoatsoft.com Ross

     

    To be fair, eugenics, Nazi or otherwise, is somewhat based on
    ‘Darwin’s Theory’… it’s just that it’s what happens when you apply an
    utter lack of morality to an incomplete understanding of evolution.
     (And you’re totally right in saying Darwin would have disapproved)

    Yes. Nazi eugenics is part of a long tradition of radically misunderstanding and misapplying evolutionary theory.

    The same tradition that leads to the ridiculous pronouncements of folks like Kirk Cameron and Ray Comfort.

    (I need to save this as a response. The next time someone pulls out “You know who else believed in evolution? The Nazis,” I can respond, “You know who else radically misunderstood and misrepresented how evolution worked in order to score cheap political points?”)

  • KevinC

    Is it just me, or does that poster at the top express the spirit of Left Behind perfectly?  The plane has crashed, the city behind it is burning.  People are dead and dying and bleeding and crying–but hey, would you look at that?  High Status White Man in a Suit is just fine, thank you very much.  And feast your eyes on how dramatically he’s posed in front of the mass misery and suffering of others while doing absolutely nothing to help!  Whew!  That’s a relief!  I was worried the End of the World might be depressing.  I sure hope his cell phone still works.  ‘Cause if it was broke, or not getting any bars, that would be a tragedy!

  • http://apocalypsereview.wordpress.com/ Invisible Neutrino

    His suit looks pretty rumpled and he looks a bit shell-shocked.


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