Sprat Issue 51 – Films and Television Shows About Survival
By James Donahue
The world-wide religious belief of a pending apocalyptic scenario that orchestrates
an end of the world as we know it, and the publicity surrounding the ancient carved Mayan calender that stops abruptly on
December 21, 2012, appears to have stirred much interest in the possibility that some major event may come to pass in the
next few weeks.
The apocalyptic and world-ending themes have consequently been popping up in our nightly
television programming as well as the film industry in recent years. And the theories have ranged from a major asteroid strike
to a breakout of a global nuclear war highlighted by the sudden appearance of a messiah in the sky.
Of course the survivalists are getting in on the act. A specialized industry has emerged
to provide a wide range of survival equipment, freeze-dried foods, guns, knives, and lots of books and videos filled with
advice on how to make it on your own in a looming Mad Max world. That is, of course, in the event that the messiah fails to
show in time to save the day.
And yes, lots of television programming also follows the survivalist theme. In fact
there is a reality show with that title where contestants pit their skills against almost impossible odds in remote parts
of the world just to stay alive. They do this while the cameras are constantly rolling, watching their every move. How insane
We have personally met members of survivalist groups who are secretly storing great
amounts of food and survival gear, packing arms and bullets, and getting prepared. But for what? That caches of guns and bullets
are being stored by these groups is making the federal authorities concerned. They are on the alert for local terrorist cells
these days and it is easy to get labeled as a potential terrorist if you are a member of an armed and secret organization
waiting for disaster to strike.
That former President George W. Bush and his staff organized the new Office of Homeland
Security following the 9-11 attack, and that this agency is assigned to respond to major disasters like Hurricanes, floods,
and other man-made or natural horrors that leave dead and dying humans in their wake, adds to the uneasy feeling folks are
It has not helped that FEMA, or the Emergency Management Agency, seems to be storing
large quantities of food, medical supplies, plastic coffins, temporary housing units and other gear designed for cleaning
up after disasters and bringing comfort to survivors.
The fact that Congress is considering a bill that would order FEMA to began "mass fatality
planning" in the event of a major disaster only serves to increase the level of paranoia. "Does the govenment know something
we don't know?" bloggers are asking.
Let's face it, nobody really knows what will happen on December 21. The world is in
such turmoil these days that the mere thoughts by billions of humans all over the world might just create a catastrophic event
of such magnitude we might just need all the help we can get from FEMA.
Then, again, most folks might be so caught up in the holiday spirit linked to the Winter
Solstace, Christmas, Hanukkah and the coming of the New Year they may have forgotten all about the doomsday scenarios.
Mr. Sprat is quite right about the flood of films and television stories feeding on
this myth. It seems that the entertainment industry knows what draws business.