Confessions of a Doomsday Prepper
Vol: 24 Issue: 24 Thursday, May 24, 2018
Reality TV is a relatively recent trend in entertainment programming that I confess baffles me to the core. Reality is where I live. If I’m looking for reality, I should be looking out the window, not into my TV screen.
When I was a kid growing up in the 1950’s, TV was new — and so was everything on it. Live entertainment programs really were “live” and the entertainment was sublime. Television was literally imagination in a box. And it was largely original.
General Electric Theater produced a new, original screenplay every week. So did Alfred Hitchcock Presents, the Ford Television Theater, Fireside Theatre, Somerset Maugham Theater, the Philco Television Playhouse and a dozen others.
All the sitcoms were from original ideas; the Life of Riley, Our Miss Brooks, I Love Lucy, Life with Luigi, The Honeymooners, December Bride, etc. The format was new, and so were all the routines.
The TV dramas were often brilliant, and always fun. And like everything else on television in those days, all original.
Dragnet, The Millionaire, Private Secretary, Cheyenne, Maverick, Have Gun Will Travel, Peter Gunn, Perry Mason, Wanted: Dead or Alive . . . . every episode of every program was unique and original.
Reruns were rare at first; later they became more common, but only as “filler” between seasons for that show. Nobody would watch a program made up exclusively of reruns. Not yet. There was still too much on TV that was new.
In the early days, TV offered escapism, not reality. (Reality TV, as I noted, came on at six o’clock starring Douglas Edwards, Walter Cronkite, Chet Huntley and David Brinkley.)
In recent years, original entertainment programming has become as common as the dodo bird. You can’t get much more original than to write about stuff that doesn’t exist, and so Star Trek managed to survive through four incarnations, but in the end, even the coolest gadgets couldn’t disguise the recycled plotlines.
And so, Reality TV was inevitable. We’re bored with the fantastic — we live in an age where hardly anything is fantastic, anymore. Or put another way, everything is so fantastic that we need to turn to our television sets to find a little old-fashioned reality.
We started out seeking thrills; Rescue 9/11, COPS, Real Stories of the Highway Patrol and World’s Wildest Police Videos, but soon craved more; from the disgusting, (Wife Swap) to the more disgusting (Keeping Up With the Kardashians) until we discovered the joys of reality voyeurism, (the Bachelor, Big Brother).
“And God saw that the wickedness of man was great in the earth, and that every imagination of the thoughts of his heart was only evil continually.” (Genesis 6:5)
“But as the days of Noe were, so shall also the coming of the Son of man be. For as in the days that were before the flood they were eating and drinking, marrying and giving in marriage, until the day that Noe entered into the ark, And knew not until the flood came, and took them all away; so shall also the coming of the Son of man be. ” (Matthew 24:37-39)
In February 2012, the Discovery Channel introduced a new reality TV series called “Doomsday Preppers.” The program is described at its website under the heading, “About the Show” — just below the dramatic photo of a teen-aged boy firing a scoped assault rifle with an extended banana clip.
“Doomsday Preppers explores the lives of otherwise ordinary Americans who are preparing for the end of the world as we know it. Unique in their beliefs, motivations, and strategies, preppers will go to whatever lengths they can to make sure they are prepared for any of life’s uncertainties. And with our expert’s assessment, they will find out their chances of survival if their worst fears become a reality.”
What is a “Doomsday Prepper”? That is evidently what the New York Times set out to discover. Here is what staff critic Neil Genzlinger (Gezundheit!) found.
“Watch either show for a short while and, unless you’re a prepper yourself, you might be moderately amused at the absurd excess on display and at what an easy target the prepper worldview is for ridicule. Watch a bit longer, though, and amusement may give way to annoyance at how offensively anti-life these shows are, full of contempt for humankind.”
Hmmm. I’ve not seen the show. But if the New York Times hates it . . .
“Who knows how representative these shows are of the prepper universe, but the people they feature are disproportionately white. They can’t speak for long without employing that cliché involving excrement and a fan. And whatever their religious beliefs might be, something “Preppers” doesn’t generally explore, most of them put their real faith in firearms.”
No, I think I was reading it wrong. The New York Times loves the show — it gives them the chance to showcase how much they hate those people.
“But the unmistakable impression left by these programs is that what these folks want most of all is not to protect their families — the standard explanation for why they’re doing what they’re doing — or even the dubious pleasure of being able to say to the rest of us, “See, I told you the world was going to end.” What they want is a license to open fire.”
According to the New York Times, Doomsday Preppers are primarily gun-toting racists who have no respect for human life. And that is pretty much the same view taken by the rest of the liberal elite, including the top echelons of the Department of Homeland Security.
That is also the view that you are supposed to have, if you are the sort of person that takes his ideological marching orders from the New York Times or shares the worldview of the Discovery Channel that produced the program.
Doomsday Preppers is played strictly for laughs, quietly mocking their subjects, holding them up as objects of ridicule, but also as folks to be feared, (once the cliché’ involving excrement and a fan becomes appropriate.)
Who are they, really? Lots of them are precisely what the Discovery Channel makes them out to be. (That’s why they were the ones chosen.)
The real Doomsday Preppers are simply folks that are preparing for the obvious the way one would prepare for a coming storm. Clearly, it is coming and it is just as clearly that obvious. Or there wouldn’t be a prime-time reality show devoted to the premise.
Only a liberal would view the decision not to become a victim as anti-life and contemptuous of mankind – “mankind” meaning, presumably, the roving bands of looters that Doomsday preppers are preparing to defend their families from.
What I find fascinating, however, is that Doomsday prepping is not a phenomenon exclusive to Christians that believe in Bible prophecy.
There are some Christians among the Doomsday Preppers, but they are preparing for economic and political collapse, not “Doomsday” in the sense of the end of the world.
Christians await the coming of Christ, and the Millennial Kingdom — not the coming of antichrist and the end of the world. They aren’t prepping for Biblical Doomsday — they are prepping for hard times.
What I want you to see here is the whole progression in one lifetime (generation).
From the unbridled hope and freshness with which it began, as reflected by television — imagination in a box — to the unmitigated fear and confusion (distress and perplexity) into which it is descending.
Again, as reflected by our “imagination in a box.”
As the eyes are a mirror into the soul, television is a mirror into our collective society. Here’s what it reflects: We started out with Milton Berle and the Cavalcade of Stars and “progressed” to “Doomsday Preppers.”
My parents were confident that life would be better for me than for them. I am confident they were right — but life was better for me than it will be for my children. Everywhere, there is a sense that time is running out and Doomsday Preppers is an uncomfortable reminder of that reality.
What I noted throughout the Times’ article, over at the Doomsday Preppers website, and the other articles I read while preparing this one was that while they all mocked the preppers, nobodymocked the premise.
Everybody was pretty much in universal agreement that preparing for Doomsday was contemptuous of humanity, selfish, etc., etc., but none of them were arguing that it was unnecessary.
“So likewise ye, when ye shall see all these things, know that it is near, even at the doors. Verily I say unto you, This generation shall not pass, till all these things be fulfilled.” (Matthew 24:33-34)
The secular world knows, just like we do. They just don’t want to accept what it means.
“That at the Name of Jesus every knee should bow, of things in heaven, and things in earth, and things under the earth.” (Philippians 2:10)
To the secular world, that is Doomsday.
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