This is the end


You may not have noticed, but the end of the 2010-2011 school year is quickly approaching.

Soon, we’ll all be frolicking in our summer-induced bliss, forgetting the tests, projects and papers that are currently tormenting us.

Come June, we won’t even remember that the Rotunda is round. It’s the summer with its heat and sunshine that keeps us moving forward, helping us trudge through the work that awaits us in the coming weeks. What’s interesting is that our entertainment choices don’t necessarily reflect that same optimistic outlook.

Over the recent years (okay, decades), Americans have flocked to apocalyptic movies that make us face an event that will spell our doom.

Movies like Armageddon exposed us to the idea of the end of the world, but the heroes won out. It was a fun rush (if you can call anything involving Ben Affleck “fun”) while it lasted and we all had warm fuzzies knowing that we would be able to carry on with our lives, unaffected by the mindless action of the movie. However, these near-end experiences weren’t enough for us. With time, we needed something stronger than just the idea of the world ending. We wanted to see it actually happen.

We received movies like The Day After Tomorrow, 2012, and Knowing (a movie that Nicolas Cage deserves to be punched for), three movies that should traumatize anyone that’s forced to endure their special form of torture. Of course, there are movies that do a better job with the post-apocalyptic genre. The Book of Eli, I Am Legend and the TV show, The Walking Dead all make you feel the events that are taking place rather than just throwing mindless special effects at you.

With these movies, it’s not just action. They bring the reality of the event home by focusing on the emotional and psychological impact the end of the world (no matter how it happened) would have on people.

Those three programs, along with a multitude of others, feed on our need to know what comes next. We, as a people, seem to have this latent understanding that we’re destroying the world or that we’re going to shortly. None of these programs are set in the far future. They’re set just close enough to now that we feel like it could be tomorrow. They show us what we all seem to know: the end is near and our time left doesn’t look pretty.

We can kid ourselves all we want about our true nature. We can say that deep down we’re all good people, but look at our entertainment. If we’re all so good, why does so much of what we watch, read and listen to expose the reality of man’s evil nature? Where are the movies that show everything working out perfectly?

If that’s our real nature, then why would it bore us and not make us happy? Yeah, I could be looking too much into what entertainment represents but I also think it’s wrong to brush it off as having no root in who we are and what makes us tick.

This isn’t a call to stop watching dark movies that show the effects of man on the world. Instead, think about what you watch and what it means. Don’t be the ostrich that sticks your head in the sand so you can ignore the reality all around you.

There are ways to make this world a better place and they’re all around us. These movies aren’t prophecies but they still have a hint of truth to them about our nature.

We can ignore what they’re hinting at or face the truth. Let’s stop trading the truth for a lie that only hurts us in the long run.

With that happy message, go off and have a great summer. Just be sure that there aren’t any zombies waiting for you in the dark recesses of your home.