Monday, September 18, 2006

End of Days

There was a fascinating, and frankly bizarre programme fronted by Tony Robinson a few days ago about "Endtimers" those (mostly) Americans who believe we are in the "end of days" and actually want to make catastrophe a self-fulfilling prophecy. I did get the feeling that the appropriate response was to just laugh at these idiots, rather than stoke them up into a 2 hour documentary; but apparently they have some clout in the White House - which is increasingly appearing as prone to madness as the early days of Apple records. You have to be fascinated though - "Revelations" has always seemed one of the more exciting parts of the Bible, and the fact that it's still part of that scripture does make you take the whole thing a little less seriously - though of course Noah and Job show that the Bible's no stranger to catastrophe. The positing of the toothless United Nations as "the Great Satan" always seems a bit weird, a bit too Omen II - surely the White House itself would be a better candidate, or the House of Saud? The worry, of course, is that these extreme views can become terribly destructive in the wrong hands - a church in Uganda that had its own apocalypse was just the most horrific example. But the "end of days" is a fascinating subject for a writer. There seems to be a return to an interest in apocalyptic visions - in David Mitchell and Michael Cunningham recently for instance - that have perhaps been green-lighted by 9/11 and the Iraq war: and language is becoming one of the battlegrounds, as the Pope's travails this week have shown. As Katy Evans-Bush's recent blog entry makes clear nuance is being lost even as we try and explain and understand these events.

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