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.

Showing posts with label Nathaniel Hawthorne. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Nathaniel Hawthorne. Show all posts

Wednesday, November 25, 2015


Providence #6 (released 25 November 2015), art by Jacen Burrows. The cover depicts Alumni Hall at Saint Anselm College in Goffstown, New Hampshire, USA. Image Source: Avatar Press. (Hat tip: Facts in the Case.)

The sixth issue of Alan Moore's Providence, which revives the visceral horror of H. P. Lovecraft, hits shops today. I am still recovering after reading the first five issues. It is a harrowing series, in which a post-World War I journalist is lured into a meta-historical New England underworld that is terrifying, disturbing, taboo and disgusting.

Moore often addresses questions long before they enter common consideration. Ironically, this is because of his deeply historical perspective of human nature. In 2006, the Guy Fawkes mask worn by Moore's anarchist terrorist character in his 1980s' comic series V for Vendetta became the face of global hacktivism and later, of the Occupy movement. Moore hails from Northampton and his outlook is partly shaped by that city's fateful support of Parliament against King Charles I during the English Civil War. The Gunpowder Plot in which Fawkes figured in November 1605 prefaced the Civil War (1642-1651). Late last year, Moore finished his magnum opus about Northampton. It is entitled Jerusalemhis final manuscript was sent off to his publisher with a final word count of over one million words. The editors will want him to cut it, but as he put it, "that's not going to happen." He stated the novel is, "longer than the Bible ... and with a better afterlife scenario." Moore confirmed that Jerusalem is a giant meditation on how the arcane world combines a resistance to fate and government; he deals with mathematics, the English Civil War, predestination and Cromwell; and "I realized [it] would [also] be about the development of economic policy, since Isaac Newton was put in charge of the mint." This year, in Providence, Moore has turned from politics to themes relevant in today's struggle against terrorist violence: what we fear and how we deal with it.

Saint Anselm College, Alumni Hall. Image Source: flickr.

Monday, October 1, 2012

Countdown to Hallowe'en 31: The Blair Witch Generation

Blair Witch Project Still. Image Source: BluRay Definition.

This year, Histories of Things to Come is one of the cryptkeepers in the Countdown to Hallowe'en blogathon. Every day this month, I will highlight different themes on this blog when skewed through a horror lens, from transhumanism to anniversaries; from generations to comics; from time-keeping to anti-ageing.

First up, The Blair Witch Project (1999), which together with its accompanying faux-documentary, Curse of the Blair Witch, proved that before the Internet hit full force, people still believed that something fake was real if its producers said it was real. The film has been extensively parodied and diminished by a poor sequel that turned the tropes of the original into clichés. But for a tiny pre-Millennial niche in time, this film owed its astronomical success to a perfect balance between 90s' grunge and a high-tech future. Although it had clear precedents, this was the beginning of Reality Horror.

Made for an initial (later expanded) budget of $20,000, Blair Witch made almost $250 million. It was the first film to be mainly marketed on the Internet. The film-makers exploited the public's pre- and early Web credulity. Wiki: "The film's official website featured fake police reports and 'newsreel-style' interviews. Due to this, audiences and critics initially thought it was an actual documentary about the 'missing' teenagers. These augmented the film's convincing found footage style to spark heated debates across the internet over whether the film was a real-life documentary or a work of fiction." You can see some of that fake supporting information at the film's official site here.

Thus, the bulk of the film's profits came from the technological innocence of a departing century. Because it walked the line between past and future so exactly, it is also a quintessential Generation X film. With that precedent set, this generation has continued to push the envelope in the grey area between reality and virtual reality.

The film also depended on a pared-down, classic horror plot. Its believability depended on a real historical resonance still lingering from Hawthorne-esque memories of Colonial America. Ironically, as the Web-savvy public have become much more cynical about found footage and other fake-reality new media gimmicks (Postmodern and post-Postmodern), it is Blair Witch's purely modern take on colonial witchery - its grounding in the past - that makes it hold up over time.

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Danse Macabre at the Grammys

Nicki Minaj and an actor impersonating the Pope at the Grammys. Image Source: Divided States.

The American entertainment industry did not need to fuel the widespread rumours - many of which are viciously racist and anti-Semitic - that top industry people are somehow connected to the Illuminati, Satanic worship and unfolding plots for world domination. The 54th Grammys became a classic example of how a row of events and images can be lined up online to look like the Prince of Darkness has come to visit.  Following on Candlemas (aka Imbolc), and the already unsettling symbols used in Madonna's Superbowl extravaganza, wild chatter now suggests that the Grammys were the second in a series of giant public Satanic ceremonies heralding the end of the world. Because Whitney Houston's cause of death is still not determined, and the star was seen alive and well about an hour before her death, her sudden demise is now being linked to the dark symbolic content of the Grammy Awards ceremonies.  Conspiracy theories that generally swirl around the entertainment industry merged quickly with theories about Houston's death.  Hybrid conspiracies appeared overnight, like a new crop of mushrooms.

Over yesterday, some of the really intense chat forums even went so far as to claim that Houston was a sacrificial lamb, a critical lynchpin in some dark Illuminati ritual, bizarrely enacted in plain sight.  One forum commenter plainly felt that bad magic had been set in motion: "Anyone else feeling depressed since last night. I could only watch the grammy's for a short time, it was too strange for me to sit through. Went to bed early, could not sleep, then when I did I had weird dreams. Today I am almost suicidal. Really horrible vibes going on....."  For those debating conspiracy theories around Houston's death, even LL Cool J's prayer at the opening of the Grammys took on a sinister tone: "Heavenly Father, we thank You for sharing our sister Whitney with us." Yesterday, Chaka Khan claimed that the music industry was "demonic" in a Piers Morgan interview on CNN, which has fueled more Internet talk.