Archive for the ‘apocalypse’ Category

My Women’s Shuffle inWashington

January 29, 2017

shari-pussy-hat

Here I am, totally ignorant of what will happen, trying on my pussy hat for the Women’s March on Washington. ( “SPES” by the way, is Latin for “hope”, something in short supply lately.)

People asked me why I felt I had to take my walker and go all the way across the country to do this when there were protests in town.  There are either too many answers to that, or none.  One reason is that more than half my ancestors have been in the country since before 1700.  They settled the land, served in the armies and government.  Some were kind, compassionate people, some weren’t.  Some clear cut trees for their fields, fought Natives in King Joseph’s War, owned slaves and persecuted Quakers.  One can be proud of Colonial ancestors but also see the results of their actions.

I stand with Standing Rock, because they were among those who pushed Natives onto reservations.  water-is-life

 

I stand for women’s rights because my  male ancestors refused to vote for them.susan-c-davis-young

I believe Black Lives Matter remembering how those of my family believed their lives were property.  black-women

In short, I believe in not repeating history but in working hard to make the world better and more equal for all.

So, I went to Washington and it was a euphoric experience.  Whatever you hear, I was surrounded by people of all ages, ethnic backgrounds, ages, genders and professions.  They say that there were so many causes that it was chaos.  I didn’t see one sign I didn’t agree with.  Heidi Stemple put it better than I can:

I’m seeing lots of criticism of the Women’s Marches. Let us all remember, that whatever it meant to each of us– every one of those reasons are important and significant. Did we save access to health care for women? Did we stop the pipeline or make undocumented people more safe? No. But, we needed each other and we showed up to prove that we are here and not to be taken lightly, forgotten, or discounted. We are women who, when pushed, will push back. Will letters or phone calls help these causes? Perhaps not. But, we, the daughters, mothers, lovers, and sisters, we will raise our voices and shout down those who wish to keep us down–every damn time– until the time when we find or make or learn other ways to make a difference. We ARE the wall. We will take care of the children you will leave behind and we will boil the water you make unsafe to drink. We will nurse the ill who have no access to health care. We will teach the science you refuse to believe. We will remember the souls you shoot and kill on the streets. We will form the secret networks to help all the people you care nothing about. We are not snowflakes. We are the people who birthed you, fed you, nurtured you. Do NOT mistake our femininity as weakness. Because, even when we are down, WE ARE NOT WITHOUT POWER.

What she said.  Here are some examples of the wonderful people who came out to support us all:

united-health-care-workers

 

United Health Workers.  There were at least a hundred of them, with shirts, purple hats and stickers.  (They gave me one)  They marched for health care for all and better working conditions for those who do the real caring; home health workers, CNAs and nurses.

queer-to-stay

There were many people supporting gay and trans issues.

 

domextic-workers

Domestic workers came to many of the marches all over the country.  They wanted respect, immigration reform, health care and decent pay.  Or, as they said. Human Rights for all.

These speak for themselves.  Personally, I think that a man wearing a pussyhat is very appealing. A man who takes his daughter to a march for human rights is a treasure and an example to fathers everywhere.

i-roll-for-my-future

When your congress person votes to dismantle the Affordable Care Act, this young man is the one who will have fewer treatment and education options.  Many people were concerned about health care cost and availability.  I rant about this all the time.  We are the only first world country without national health.  Could is possibly be because there is such a powerful health insurance lobby ?

we-the-people

So, this is my new Facebook image, partly because I need to keep reminding myself not to fear and partly because I really would like to look as beautiful as she.

 

Did you miss the rapture?

December 3, 2012

I know we have almost three weeks until the Mayan calendar (one of them, anyway) ends and the galactic Death Ray will disintegrate the earth etc. but one group has already vanished, the True Believer cows!

Cow clicker inventor, Ian Bogost, informed me of this.  While humans are still waiting to be raptured up, the cows have made their getaway, rather like the dolphins in Douglas Adams’ SO LONG AND THANKS FOR ALL THE FISH.  I’m so pleases that someone else is taking the matter as seriously as I am.

http://kotaku.com/5814207/in-cow-clickarg-the-cowpocalypse-is-nigh

cowpocalypse

For all of you who were worried about there being milk, cheese and hamburgers in Heaven, relax.  You can count on the Holy Cow to provide for you.  The rest of us will have to make do with products from heretical cows, slightly curdled, no doubt.   But that’s what happens on the edge of oblivion.  More to come….

Weathering the Apocalypse in France? What a Great Idea!

November 26, 2012

 

I’ve spent a lot of time in the back country of Southern France.  I even drove up to Rennes-le-Chateau for my book on the Da Vinci Code,   but even when I was researching THE REAL HISTORY OF THE END OF THE WORLD, I totally missed the news about the town of Bugarach (really) apparently known as being a psychic vortex and, when the world ends, will be the only place spared.  It seems, from the articles I’ve read, that the people who survive will largely be reporters.  This should make the post-apocalyptic world interesting.   For those who, like me, have missed this, here is a link from The Guardian:  http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2012/nov/19/bugarach-french-village-survive-mayan-apocalypse
I have radio interviews right up to Dec. 21, so I suppose that I’ll miss this one.  However, the nice thing about predicting the End is that there is always another coming up.

The Election as Apocalyptic Sign

October 27, 2012

This is the usual American image of Halloween.  Adorable children in costumes, going door to door, collecting treats and laughing.  When I was a child we went out alone and ranged as far as we could walk.  Now children are shadowed by parents or organized into parties at community centers.  In my grandfather’s day they were

closer to the original meaning of Halloween.  He and his friends stole furniture from porches, tipped over outhouses and generally destroyed anything they could.

Now, what has this to do with either the election or the end of the world?  OK, it’s a tenuous connection.  But I was thinking about how many people feel that if their candidates don’t win, the world is headed down in a spiral to destruction.   Nothing prophetic, Biblical, Mayan or mathematical.   One group is certain that the world will be crushed under a load of debt.  The other is sure that international industrialists will run amok and destroy the ecosystem so we’ll have nothing left to eat, drink or breathe.

I’m not as concerned about the accuracy of these theories as I am about the climate that is producing them.   Even though the Mayan believers have been quiet lately along with the ones worried about a galactic alignment, sunspots and rogue killer asteroids, there is still an overarching sense of impending DOOM.

Campaign ads are to blame, I’m sure of it.  Never mind racial or gender slurs, opposing candidates have become antichrists.  If we don’t vote for the correct one, Satan will rule.  If you don’t believe me, watch a few hundred of these.  Therefore, my feeling is that we’ve done this to ourselves because in our collective id, we like feeling on the edge of disaster.  Why?  I’m really asking.  I have no idea.  Is it adrenalin?  A need to wipe the slate and start over?  Too many post-apocalyptic movies where the main characters are gorgeous and compassionate and we think there will be more of them then for us to meet?

Why aren’t we thinking more about saving the world for the cute, innocent kids to trick or treat in?
Just a thought.

 

On the Edge of the End and Would You Mind?

September 14, 2012

For my next book, I’ve been researching the early years in the Crusader Kingdoms (1099-1162)  A number of people thought that the Christian conquest of Jerusalem was the beginning of the End of the World.  Some of the Western Christians certainly were hoping for that, but not the ones who settled there.  At least one Armenian, Matthew of Edessa, wrote a treatise about how all the invasions by Turks, Christians and Greeks clearly presaged the end.   It’s been interesting, but all too familiar.

I’m very surprised that I haven’t heard anything in the past few weeks about new prophecies.  Even the Mayans haven’t been getting much attention.  Maybe it’s too obvious that we are on the brink?  Iran will blow us up or someone else will.  The climate will make the seas boil, very Biblical that.  There will be class warfare and we’ll have another wholesale bloodbath of the very rich, as in the French Revolution, followed by anarchy.  And, of course, there’s the serious zombie threat.

I’m beginning to realize why apocalyptic theories are so popular.  Even after writing a whole book on them, I couldn’t get my mind around the reason why so many people really liked to think that we were all going to go ‘poof!’ very soon.

The way things are going now, with what seems to me to be collective global insanity, a nice total flood or earth- destroying asteroid sounds positively like a relief.

But, in case that isn’t in the offing, what should we do to restore, or perhaps establish, a world where reason has a voice at last?

What Happened to the End of the World?

June 30, 2012

I can’t believe it; I’m out of town for a few weeks and, when I get back, I learn that Dec. 22 (or 23) won’t be the end of the world after all.  It seems that archeologists have found an older Mayan calendar that says we have at least another seven thousand years.   Serious news outlets broadcast this information widely. http://www.sci-news.com/archaeology/article00310.html

What has surprised me is that there has been no response from the most vocal advocates of the Mayan apocalypse.  After all, they were able to raise thousands to make “documentaries” explaining that it wasn’t just the Mayans, but the Hopi and others who predicted the end.  Added to that were solar waves, pole reversal, the 10th planet (or maybe the 9th, now that Pluto has been demoted) and a cosmic convergence that would apparently send us a death ray from the center of the galaxy among many other signs.  With all of that going for them, why has there been no counter- claim from the True Believers?

There are so many arguments that could be made against this alternate calendar.  First of all, it’s much older than the one from which the initial prediction was made.  That could mean that the first calendar was wrong, a beta version, and that the later one reflected new and more accurate calculations.  If supporters of the Mayan date are unsure about that, they can certainly come up with a myriad of other portents that are clear signals of approaching doom.  Weather patterns are always usefulImage: fire flood and earthquake are old standbys, tried and true. Or, as the poor guy in this photo found out, volcanoes are pretty final. The economic shift from West to East has many people worried that civilization, if not the world, is on the brink.  The fact that so many believe that “reality” shows are unscripted shows that we may die out through our own credulity.

And yet a search of popular apocalypse web sites has turned up nothing, not even a new date.  What is the matter with these people?  Have they lost the faith?  I’m crushed.  I was not planning on buying Christmas presents this year; now I suppose I’ll have to.  The good wine I’ve saved will have to stay in the cellar.  And I suppose I’d better keep receipts for next year’s taxes.

If anyone has heard of a rebuttal to this oddly serendipitous calendar find, please let me know.  I was so hoping for fantastic end.  My only hope was that it could come before our election.  Campaign ads are enough to make anyone long for Armageddon.

Pilgrims, Apocalypse, Churchill, Fleming and myths that won’t die

November 25, 2011

 

A few days ago a friend sent me an inspiring story about how the young Winston Churchill was saved from drowning by the father of Alexander Fleming, the discoverer of penicillin.  As a reward, Churchill’s father sent young Alexander to medical school.  In 1943 Church was ill and saved by a dose of penicillin.  My bs radar immediately went off.  So I checked and the story has no basis in fact at all.  What is amazing is that this story has been around for decades despite the fact that it is easy to disprove.  There are several sites that give the story and the reality behind it.  The one I used was http://www.snopes.com/glurge/fleming.asp

Churchill

Was not saved by Fleming's father.

paid his own way through medical school

So, what does this have to do with the Pilgrims — Puritans, actually?   Well, despite lots of research by historians, the records of the Massachusetts Bay Colony and plain old common sense, we still have an image of the First Thanksgiving as a wonderful, squdgy time of friendship and sharing between the English settlers and the Native Americans. It’s an idea of a Golden Age that we somehow have lost, an era of abundance and brotherhood.  And the thing that I still have trouble with is, even though most of us know that this is a myth, we cling to it anyway.   When the first settlers were starving, they stole from the Indians rather than trade.

And now we come to the Apocalypse. I didn’t know about this until I was researching THE REAL HISTORY OF THE END OF THE WORLD.   I knew that the Puritans were Calvinist Protestants who came, according to my schoolteachers, for religious freedom.  What I was ignorant of was that many of them were part of a sect that believed the end of the world was near.  They had come to America to prepare for it.  Converting the natives was part of this belief although some thought that the Indians were in league with demons.

After the Mayflower landed, word came that King Charles I had been overthrown and that England was now a Puritan theocracy.  Some of those who had left England returned to take part in this new society.  They were among those who, by a complex twist of logic and Biblical interpretation, believed that England was the new Jerusalem and that this was where Jesus would arrive at the Second Coming.   For other arcane reasons (see my post on the End in October) 1666 was considered the date for the event.

When the end didn’t come and Charles II did, the American Puritans put their faith in their new colony.   Within a few decades they were expelling dissidents and hanging women for witchcraft.

pilgrims meeting the local neighbors.

Not as much good will and mutual respect as we were taught.

Again, most of us know about the downside of the story of the Pilgrims and how that made a deep impression on the country for generations.  And yet, we still cherish the warm, fuzzy, inaccurate memory of the first Thanksgiving.   I really can’t understand this and it fascinates me.  I’m beginning to fear that I need to go back for a degree in behavioral psychology.

ps.  Looking at the list of how many times my posts have been read, I realize that by far the most popular was the one on chastity belts.   No comment.