Comments on a cultural reality between past and future.

This blog describes Metatime in the Posthuman experience, drawn from Sir Isaac Newton's secret work on the future end of times, a tract in which he described Histories of Things to Come. His hidden papers on the occult were auctioned to two private buyers in 1936 at Sotheby's, but were not available for public research until the 1990s.

Saturday, March 10, 2012

Countdowns to Nuclear Midnight

The Atlantic's countdown to war with Iran clock. Image Source: The Atlantic.

Um. The Atlantic magazine has adapted the Doomsday clock to count down to war with Iran, here. According to their panel of commentators, we are 10 metaphorical minutes from nuclear war.

The real Doomsday clock (here), maintained since 1947 by the Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists at the University of Chicago, moved to five minutes to the midnight of nuclear war on 10 January 2012. The scientists' rationale for ramping up their symbolic warning is here; they stated: "It is five minutes to midnight. Two years ago, it appeared that world leaders might address the truly global threats that we face. In many cases, that trend has not continued or been reversed. For that reason, the Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists is moving the clock hand one minute closer to midnight, back to its time in 2007. Unfortunately, Einstein's statement in 1946 that 'everything has changed, save the way we think,' remains true. "

In the famous comic, The Watchmen, the Doomsday clock trope was used to tie the entire series together. This is an example of how the most serious levels of political and scientific discourse bleed over into pop culture, then bleed back into high level discussions again. Nuclear weapons were once the line in the sand, the horrific ever-present threat to smaller powers, which enforced uneasy Cold War peace. Now, that picture is inverted. The more sophisticated the push of science and tech, the harder it is for old political and economic explanations to accurately describe what is happening; and the more the fantastical messages of the world of graphic novels, or of any other mythological paradigm, become our chilling reality.

The faux Doomsday clock in the Watchmen movie. In the story's alternate reality, the clock is created in 1947; the closer it stands to midnight, the closer we are to Apocalypse. Image Source: CanMag & © (2009) DC/Warner/Paramount.

Image © DC Comics via The Graphic Maelstrom.

In the story, the smiley-face button worn by the secret government operative character, the Comedian, is splashed with his blood when he is mudered in a conspiracy plot. The iconic image of his blood on the button, which reappears again and again in the series, exactly mimics a clock face set at five minutes to nuclear midnight. In the story, the clock gets closer and closer to midnight and finally reaches it at the story's climax.

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1 comment:

  1. Okay, here goes; I don't think we are on the brink of Nuclear Armageddon.

    That's not to say that some nutjob, quite possibly of Iranian persuasion, might chuck a nuclear missle, quite possibly at Israel. Do I think that will result in the US/USSR/China unleashing their entire arsenals and ending everything? No.

    Of course, it might just serve as a pretext for the US to invade Iran. What, me cynical? Yeah. -J