Doomsday Clocks and Apple Watches

Photograph Source: Mike Mozart – CC BY 2.0

When I was a kid in the 1950s, the clichéd way for magazine cartoonists to portray a “crazy man” was to show him carrying a picket sign that proclaimed The World Is Coming To An End!

Nowadays that same picket sign could signify the exact opposite—a sane person, soberly confronting our moment in history.

Apocalyptic visions are a glut on the market; mass culture might as well be one gigantic outlet mall along the highway called DYSTOPIAS ‘R’ US!  And the price is always right, because the banners in the windows advertise a perpetual FIRE SALE; in dripping scarlet letters, they scream that EVERYTHING MUST GO!

We opiate ourselves with visions of Armageddon so that we don’t have to see Flint, Michigan.

The zombies on TV seem “amazingly lifelike” compared to the ones on MSNBC.

And the dystopian fantasies beaming out from HBO are a relief from the dystopian realities beaming out from CNN.

Nuclear scientists and Rapture-ready preachers may not agree on much, but they’d both advise you to set your Doomsday Clock and your Apple watch to the same time—two minutes to midnight.  Synchronize all devices to Dystopia Savings Time!  It’s obvious that the Lord Jehovah is about to do some serious smiting—He’s warming up in His celestial bullpen, getting ready, as the fastball pitchers say, to bring the heat—and though He doesn’t really need our help, Mike Pompeo is happy to hurry things along.  While the slack-jawed Democrats, trapped in their Russiagate Groundhog Day scenario, wake up every morning only to fall, yet again, for the endless three-card-monte game—doh,  I was SURE the the real bombshell was the one in the middle!—Pompeo, Pence & the rest of the Christian Salafists keep doing their best to wrestle the minute hand of Doomsday ever closer to midnight.  Move the American embassy to Jerusalem?  Absolutely!  We have to bring on that last and glorious Tick of The Big Clock, when them Jewish homosexuals get what’s comin’ to them. “It’s a never-ending struggle, until The Rapture,” big Mike told a Kansas congregation last year.  “Be a part of it.  Be in the fight.”

I mean, for Christ’s sake—literally—it’s all been prophesized in The Book of Revelation.  The Pences and Pompeos of this world see Donald Trump as a latterday King Cyrus, the sixth-century BC Persian emperor who liberated the Jews from Babylonian captivity.  Last October, 1,200 movie theaters in America screened a film called The Trump Prophecy, which laid it all out. God, speaking through a retired firefighter, said: “I’ve chosen this man, Donald Trump, for such a time as this.” Lance Wallnau, the self-proclaimed prophet and star of the movie, called Trump “God’s Chaos Candidate”.  And we’ve all heard Trump modestly acknowledge that he is, indeed, “the chosen one.”

“Cyrus is the model for a nonbeliever appointed by God as a vessel for the purposes of the faithful,” said Katherine Stewart, who writes extensively about the Christian right.”

“She added that they welcome his readiness to break democratic norms to combat perceived threats to their values and way of life.”

“The Christian nationalist movement is characterized by feelings of persecution and, to some degree, paranoia – a clear example is the idea that there is somehow a ‘war on Christmas’,” Stewart said. “People in those positions will often go for authoritarian leaders who will do whatever is necessary to fight for their cause.”

So as the Lord works His many wonders via Trump/Cyrus, Mike Pence, and Mike Pompeo, sometimes even us heathens yearn for the End Times: how comforting to envision going out in one red-hot flash of Pompeii-an brimstone, a Rapture of volcanic power, instead of this long, slow slide into nothingness—a gray hell, engineered by morons.

And yet…

And yet…

We have to keep reminding ourselves:

They’re stupider than we are.

And we have no choice: to quote Mike Pompeo himself, “be part of it.  Be part of the fight.”


John Eskow is a writer and musician. He wrote or co-wrote the movies Air America, The Mask of Zorro, and Pink Cadillac, as well as the novel Smokestack Lightning. He is a contributor to Killing Trayvons: an Anthology of American Violence. He can be reached at: