Post-Apocalypse Now

A cloud of smoke rises following an airstrike by Syrian government forces in the rebel-held area of Douma, northeast of Damascus, on February 5, 2015 (AFP Photo / Abd Doumany)

There’s an ad I often hear on NPR featuring a film critic saying, “I can’t wait for the real post-apocalyptic dystopia to arrive so we can finally stop seeing films about it.”

Every time I hear it I think:hodgins-yes

I so often see synopses for new films or tv shows or plays that take place in this post-apocalyptic landscape, particularly written by younger, (I’m just guessing here, but…) white, male writers.

I totally get the impulse. It’s hugely dramatic after all. What do you do after the worse possible thing has happened? You fight the man and reclaim the day! Does matter how vague, contrived, or illogical the details. Hell yeah! Tune in!

But what I don’t understand is why we feel the need to create it in fantasy? Look around the world, people! Even here in America! The post-apocalyptic dystopia is now and everywhere.

Sure, maybe people aren’t fighting government sanctioned zombie drones, or the fact that all power on the Earth has been cutoff, but….no, wait a minute people are fighting government-sanctioned zombie drones and the fact that all their power has been cutoff!

That’s my point. Yes, we create stories to absorb the reality in which we live. But sometimes we create stories that have the effect of ignoring the reality in which we live. And that’s no use to anybody.

Especially when the phrase “post-apocalyptic dystopia” becomes an over-used catchall for “things that will probably never happen, but wouldn’t it be cool if?”

It does happen. It isn’t cool if. Maybe ask the people who live it.

Blood and debris following air strikes by government forces in Douma, Syria on February 5, 2015 (AFP Photo / Abd Doumany)

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