Thursday, November 26, 2009

Apocalypse with a Happy Ending

One of my students asked earlier this semester about doing a research paper on whether the world will end in 2012. I thought the student had in mind the Mayan calendar, but she was inclined more to the movie and other predictions. Having seen the "2012" movie last night, I gather that we really don't need to worry that much at all, as long as we can build a super-ark (complete with animals--one by one) that will carry us to the coast of Africa. I was struck by the closing scenes in the film, as three big techno-arks (Nina, Pinta, Santa Maria?) sailed toward the safest haven, the Cape of Good Hope, now the roof of the world, where the privileged and coddled would form the basis for a new beginning. This despite the fact that there are people already IN Africa, perhaps not ready to take in the tens of thousands of refugees and their rescued menagerie.

The movie is mostly made up of finely-detailed scenes of disaster--buildings collapsing into chasms, waves tipping a giant cruise ship into the drink, oceans washing over the Himalayas, whole landscapes yawing and sliding into the sea, airport runways cracking and crumbling beneath the airplane that bears our heroic family away from the destruction.

When all is said and done, the world looks new again, the continents rearranged, all the mistakes of the world washed away in 27 days--much tidier, say, than the lingering and ongoing disaster that is New Orleans in the wake of Hurricane Katrina. Apocalypse with a happy ending.

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