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The Time for Bearishness Has Passed


Let's put Doomsday in perspective.

The Late Great Planet Earth

Last night from the comfort of my fortress-like safe house near the East River I watched a bit of ABC's "Earth 2100," a dire, semi-prophetic look at how the "perfect storm" of population growth, resource depletion and climate change "could converge with catastrophic results" for the planet Earth.

I made it about halfway through the show's 10 "Acts" - that's how the producers characterized the program's chapters, a savvy insinuation of something vaguely biblical, disastrous and wicked which this way cometh - before tearing open a vacuum-sealed turkey tetrazinni MRE and switching over to VH1's "40 Most Shocking Celebrity Divorces." Which proves you can lead a man to Doomsday but you can't make him shake his dark hunger for sleazy celebrity divorce scandals.

There are a lot of things that can be said about Television, almost none of them good. In a normal world, the amount of bungling involved in losing a once-captive audience to a do-it-yourself mish-mash of cat videos, malware and pop-up ads would result in prison sentences.

But that's not the point. The point is the Earth is doomed by 2100, brother. Read the portents and prepare for plague upon plague. And so if it seems as if Television really doesn't care about the future, What future?, well, now you know why. Of course, why bother with the future in the first place when you can dust off some programming from the past, repackage it, then spin it off as new? Anyone over 35 has seen "Earth 2100" dozens of times.

In 1979 I sat in front of a television set with my parents and watched the horror of "The Late Great Planet Earth." All it takes is a little late-1970s vintage Orson Welles to scar a young man for life.

"Events that are prophesied in the Bible are illustrated to show that civilization is headed for doomsday."
- Synopsis for "The Late Great Planet Earth," 1979. Orson Welles, based on the book by Hal Lindsey.

Ho, that reminds me: Abandon all hope ye who enter here. According to Dante Alighieri, that's the inscription carved just above the entrance to hell. The thing is, he made that up around 1306. Or at least stole it from someone else around that time. Welles and Lindsey no doubt stuck that in their pipe and smoked it some 650 years later. Which in my mind puts the Doomsday business directly on par with Prostitution as The World's Oldest Professions.

Indeed, Doomsday and Prostitution are intimately related in a deeply perverse dialectic that has spawned a hundred thousand cottage industries, from preaching to police work, perfumeries, nunneries and barbecue accessories. Kick that one around for a while and get back to me.

After the Crash

Sitting on my desk right now is a book titled, "After the Crash." It says it will explain to me the following:

1) Best Bets for My Money
2) Gold, Silver and Diamond Investments
3) How to Protect My Personal Property
4) Setting Up Survival Teams

"You may sense an economic downturn is upon us," the author writes, "but do you know how catastrophic it will become? A leading economist reveals the hard facts (including recent computer analyses) that prove we are on the brink of an abyss."

By the Hammer of Thor May it Be So. The book was written in 1979; a very popular year for the Doomsday profession.

Don't Make a Career Out of It

I am not interested in a making career out of Doomsday. On the one hand, bursting bubbles can be entertaining... for a while. But only bloated sad sacks and misanthropic fools make a career out of it. And in the end, they're left with... what? Nevermind. It was a rhetorical question.
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