Saturday, May 21, 2011

End of the world? And this is how we cover it?

Well, here we are, our last day on Earth. Kind of feels so...ordinary.
You'd think at least God could have given us some sunshine to usher us all out with. But since we're sinners and he's going to annihilate us all, I guess that's not a realistic hope.
Seriously though, if you're to believe Harold Camping, an 89-year-old nutjob with his own radio network (a bad, but not uncommon, combination), the world is coming to an end at 6 p.m. tonight. At least for those of use who haven't been "redeemed," which, if you believe Camping's narrow definition, is most of us.
But, of course, except for some lost souls who could probably use a hug from their mom and a big dose of reality, no one believes Camping.
And yet, somehow, his prediction, based on a "mathematical" reading of the Bible, is all over the news and has been for days.
So that prompts me to ask: When does something go from being a funny, odd story meant for the back page with all the Lohan stalkings, American Idol updates and three-headed calves, to the news pages -- or the TV and web equivelant of such?
I watched Nightline last night when a serious-as-hell reporter asked Camping, "But if it doesn't happen..."
And Camping, insulted, his giant ears actually wiggling with indignation, shot back: "I don't even entertain that question, because it will."
The reporter didn't press him on it.
Harold Camping says the rapture he's sure is coming tonight was "predicted" maybe even hurried along by, of all things, the gay rights movement and our society's growing tolerance of people who don't fit his straight as a straight-jacket mold (my words, not his).
The reporter didn't press him on that, either.

We all know, the world will end someday. Not in a giant earthquake on a Saturday night in May, but hopefully centuries from now when we're all part of the compost system.
It'll end from natural causes, maybe hurried along by our disrespect for nature and our ecosystem.

Humanity, too, may end someday. Hopefully, again, centuries from now and maybe hurried along by our disrespect and intolerance of our fellow human beings and neglect of those that Jesus himself would have been the first to help.
Harold Camping may disagree with that view.
But then again, who the hell is Harold Camping?
The biggest piece of idiocy in this nutty story is not that some religious zealot is once again using the Bible to support some completely unsupported theory, but that the media has jumped on it as though it's a real story.
And tomorrow, or at 6:01 tonight, we all get to have a chuckle at Harold Camping's expense.
And Harold will probably go back to his calculator and refigure the numbers.
And then in a decade or so, we can do the dance all over again.
And no one is ever going to notice the little erosions in the world around us that are the coming of the real end of our world.
Because, let's face it, they just don't make for good TV.


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