Announcing the Apocalypse

“Ladies and Gentlemen, we interrupt our program...”
If you tuned in late, those might have been the first words many listeners heard of Orson Wells’ radio broadcast of H.G. Wells’ “War of the Worlds.” Here’s a link, with a youtube link, to an article that Time magazine did on the 70th Anniversary of the show. 
At that time, radio was the medium and that’s where everyone got the latest breaking news, which was considered gospel. Yes, the explanation (that it was a re-telling of Wells' story) was given at the beginning of the show - but if you missed that - you were sure the world was being invaded, with death and destruction imminent. As a matter of fact, this event - which had folks running into the streets in terror to their churches to prepare to meet their Maker, wet towels clutched to their faces as makeshift gas masks - has become a case study on mass hysteria.  
It doesn’t take much to imagine how people felt, especially after our current events of 9/11, when we stared in horror at the images unfolding on any available TV or internet news webpage. Or, when New Orleans, as we knew it, was being wiped out by Hurricane Katrina. Or, our horror and sadness at the devastation in Haiti.
However, one has to wonder if we will become so inured to horrific events that they will become mundane and we’ll just click to a different channel or open a new webpage and not realize the actual apocalypse is at the door.
What do you think?


Matthew MacNish said...

Well it depends on whether or not Zombies are involved.

Elana Johnson said...

Interesting thought. I do think we live in a pretty horrific world, and that's not just because of news/Internet coverage. We know about things faster and in greater detail because of those things.

Video games, RPG's, etc. also provide a way to act out end of the world scenarios. I think sometimes that can desensitize us as well.

Tere Kirkland said...

I can tell you from experience that people love to get worked up about something new. But we very quickly become, shall we say, "fatigued" by hearing of the same disaster over and over again, especially if we are not actually experiencing the repercussions of that disaster.

But if it was zombies running around eating people's brains, I doubt anyone would be feeling "zombie-fatigue". ;)

Angie Smibert said...

We do experience disaster fatigue, but we also get inured to the sky-is-falling type media coverage of potential disasters--like bird flu or climate change. That's the kind of thing that'll catch us off guard, I think.

Julia said...

It would appear that zombies are the key to staying aware. :)