Official dire prophecy USED to be issued exclusively under the authority of the cleric/sorcerer, but now the public trust for such tales has shifted to the province of the professional scientist. It makes sense. The scientist has models and stuff and has studied subjects deeply. Writers have minor credibility in this area but often discredit themselves by putting specific dates on apocalyptic predictions (see Mayan calendar).
I'd love to join the fray, too, but I'm always wrong. I actually went to live on a tropical island in the 1970s because I thought the whole Western Thing was coming down. Later I made a number of dubious moves, always keeping my life stripped down because the next depression/world war/plague/environmental catastrophe/monetary collapse was at hand. Last year I seriously went out THREE times to stock up on food.
What we forget is that even though it runs against our sentiments, we are at base interdependent, and even if we do grind our heels into each other's face too often, at least under THIS flag and in the matrix of THIS mythology, we've managed to pull together so far when the chips were down and the salsa was spilled. That's what I'm counting on. It's our only chance. Until you can show me a doomsayer (not Glenn Beck in a Henny Penny suit clucking down the boulevard) who called it right five or ten years ago — a real prophet — I won't be swayed. Nor will I dispute that dire proclamations are probably the best way to get attention, control, subscriptions, grants, ratings, and sales, but I'm wondering in the end how RESPONSIBLE it is.
Then again, maybe if my book Love and Terror on the Howling Plains of Nowhere doesn't sell, I'll have to resort to a more practical application of hysteria. Forgive me if I do. But get ready to RUN FOR THE HILLS.
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