Operation Rupture, or Holy Shit Is That A Pony-Sized Locust With A Face Like A Man?
Copyright © 2006 by Noam Daguerre. All rights reserved.
End Days! God slaps his fist on the reset button and the sun & sea do their sackcloth and blood impersonations while Jesus 2.0 emerges naked from the frothing waters in a giant clam! (I made that last part up. The Bible doesn’t expressly mention the clam, and when it does talk about clams it doesn’t like them. And I am speaking metaphorically here. Ahem.)
Then the sky opens up to shafts of warm golden light accompanied by harp arpeggios, gently lifting the pure, beloved chosen of God, including, surprisingly, the televangelists, to their heavenly reward.
Ahh, to spend all Eternity in a sappy sofa-sized mall painting . . .
Given the crazy-unknowable nature of God and the soul-kinking awfulness of witnessing large-scale miracles, I have my doubts it would be so much like a Hallmark card — Happy Rapture! — but rather more like screaming, sucking holes dialing open in space/time and hoovering people right out of their clothes, or getting suck-shoved in an impossible direction perpendicular to the three dimensions we know and love, folks wriggling smaller and smaller until they wink out, leaving nothing but dental fillings pattering on the floor.
Before you yell something along the lines of “And now commences the five-day party!” we need to cover some practical matters. Like what the Department of Homeland Security will do about Christian airline pilots. I hereby demand the DHS ensure that all airline pilots are non-Christian so that when the Rapture occurs we don’t have pilotless airplanes crashing into buildings. We’ve seen that before, and I think we can all agree that airplanes crashing into buildings for religious reasons is Bad.
Oh, and I almost forgot to mention the warhorse-sized locusts with faces of men and scorpion tails all armored up and wearing golden crowns and blatting about on wings that sound like a thousand Harleys all knobbed up to 11. Now these are in the Bible, but they really shouldn’t be too much trouble, seeing as how Americans own enough guns to fill the hands of every man, woman, and child with shootin’ iron. We lucky Rapture survivors won’t have too much trouble finding some. After ransacking good Christian homes we could all go outside and bust caps at these god-awful things as they drone overhead. It’ll be like the Fourth of July every 20 minutes!
Crazy-talk, you say? Well, then half of us are nucking futs. End Days ideology is the norm for something like 48% of Americans.
If you just muttered “We’re fucked” under your breath — well, yeah, ‘cuz Armageddon is a self-fulfilling prophecy after all. But the fact remains that nihilistic ennui, once the purview of morally deformed German intellectuals, is mainline Americana these end days.
So where am I going with this? Near as I can tell we have two choices: we can give in, knit humanity together into a giant bowel, and squeeze to make the exclamation point at the end of history a huge, gassy shit; or we can, regardless of our beliefs, roll up our sleeves and make our time on earth passable, if not downright good.
Right-wing Christian fundamentalists seem to take a devil-may-care attitude with the environment, turning our bloodstreams, as Bruce Sterling notes, into garbage dumps. The air we breath, the water we drink, the food we eat are all carrying trace (and in the case of LA not so trace) amounts of toxic crap. Here in SoCal the water I cut my absinthe with contains perchlorate from rocket fuel. While on the one hand that sounds like a neat idea — rocket fuel & absinthe! — it actually makes for a crummy reality.
The problem is this: when you teach that the world is gonna end soon (and that’s what they’ve been saying for millennia: the world’s gonna end soon, not ‘the world’s gonna end in a thousand years,’ or ‘the world’s gonna end if we fuck it up’), it makes it difficult for people to do the hard work required to make the world a better place. I mean, why clean it up if it’s gonna get wrecked next week? It’s okay if we break shit — God’s gonna flush it all in a minute anyway, so what’s the point? If you think the War on Terror is rough, just think of what it would take to fight the War on Crap-Choked Bloodstreams, the War on Hatred, hell–the War on War! That’s an awful lot of work, and I’m late for my break.
The belief that we are living in End Times is the ultimate conceit, the ultimate in narcissism. People have always believed they were living at the End of All Things; to believe otherwise is to admit mediocrity. But you — you are so damn special you must be living in End Times.
And believing it gets us halfway there. To the five-day party, I mean.