Reality television is the perfect place for monetizing kooks. In this case it's National Geographic's Doomsday Preppers series on what I've called End Timers. I caught a commercial and won't be tuning in. (It begins airing tonight.) Topics common to the blog have already shown me all I need to know.
The central focus is the collapse of the power grid, the end of American civilization and the people determined to be ready for it. One of the reasons for this belief is, of course, because it has been published ad nauseam over the last decade. Whether it's an electromagnetic pulse from a barge-launched a-bomb or a cyberattack, man-made plagues or totally unrealistic terror onslaughts, it's been pounded into gullible heads as probable, easy to do and often imminent for years.
The prepper movement shows all the collateral damage it has wrought on the suggestible and unbalanced.
Conspicuously, the increasingly nuts demographic that's the subject is is almost entirely white, far right, heartland, fundie Christian religious and breast-beatingly patriotic.
It is not a surprise that cable television feels this niche large enough to monetize. Death cults/apocalypse believers have always been part of the American experience. However, until social media, micro-casting and the Internet there wasn't an easy way to cynically gather all of them up into a nice exploitative package for advertising.
Up until the last decade small fringe book publishers catering solely to the militias and violent survivalist far right used to be the only place for it.
Not any more.
A quick look at YouTube shows the bottomless pit of it.
Watch too many of these videos on doomsday prepping and you are deeply discouraged.
While all the individuals in the videos appear painfully sincere with the aim being to give advice to help survive the travails said to be coming, all they're really successful at is showing how idiosyncratic insanity can be mainstreamed as entertainment. They leak intolerance like a fine sweat. Eternal damnation for the lazy, the unprepared, all the outsiders, is a constant current.
Ready your Bugout place for when the SHTF.
Readers may remember some of this material from a recent post post on Newt Gingrich, electromagnetic pulse doom and the attraction of it to End Timers.
Doomsday prepping is patriotic, indicates Roscoe Bartlett, on first in a fringe documentary about national collapse. Sadly, he's a serving politician. Pity his constituents.
Here's another emblematic piece, on societal death waves said to be inevitable along with the finish of America as we know it.
"The first wave of death will be those with chronic disease," informs someone called the Patriot Nurse. Then a second wave of death will overtake the more healthy. It will be caused by diseases and lack of sanitation incubated and spread by the weak and sick cut down in the first wave. I didn't last long enough to get to any more waves.
In another video fans are advised to keep a book of hymns and prayers on hand because music helps one through the hard times. A dulcimer, an instrument from the Appalachian hill country, is recommended. It served the poor in the olden days and will again.
So will banjos. How do I know? I saw Deliverance.
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