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Business as usual - Helen's journal and online home
In which an old dog attempts to learn new tricks.
Business as usual
Did anyone in the UK or Europe actually take this Rapture thing seriously? Everyone I know face-to-face rather than online has either been totally unaware it was supposed to be happening or has been laughing and pointing or shaking their head in disbelief that anyone could be so gullible.

But in the US...? Even people who I thought were rational individuals seem to have had a slight suspicion that there Could Be Something In It.

Anyway, it has produced this, which I rather liked, by Spoonboat "FAQ for my Students: The Rapture". As all teachers know, students will come up with all sorts of excuses to avoid having to hand in assignments.

And in lieu of any real content, because I must work on the dissertation, a tiger scare with a happy ending.

Current Mood: busy busy

14 comments or Leave a comment
aulus_poliutos From: aulus_poliutos Date: May 22nd, 2011 01:22 pm (UTC) (Link)
Lol, if not for my online activities, I would never have heard abouut it. My father didn't even know what it was.
heleninwales From: heleninwales Date: May 22nd, 2011 03:27 pm (UTC) (Link)
It did eventually get a passing mention on the BBC and the satirical news programmes have been mocking the gullible followers, but that's been it.
caper_est From: caper_est Date: May 22nd, 2011 02:12 pm (UTC) (Link)

I must say that all the US sources I read which feigned to take it ever-so-slightly seriously, seemed to me to have their tongues jammed ever-so-thoroughly into their teeth. Even Camping's fellow Heaven-in-a-Pie-ists have been giving him the choral and confident raspberry. One local church used the run-up to the non-event to prepare counselling sessions for the inevitably disappointed.

The 'newsworthiness' is surely a pure function of lazy eyeball-grabbing journalists, who automatically elevate every seventh shrieking grotesque into high-profile news so that they can simultaneously (a) spread the panic from town-scale to world-scale; and (b) point and laugh at all the people they manage to suck into the Stupid. The bigger the suck, the bigger the faux-legitimacy of the story.

I find this excessively hard not to laugh at, and more than a little bit hard not to cry over, too.
caper_est From: caper_est Date: May 22nd, 2011 02:39 pm (UTC) (Link)
Oh, and when you have a moment, you really must take a gander at Slacktivist's post on this subject, built around John Greenleaf Whittier's poem Abraham Davenport. Were I an American, I would be drafting that dead poet to my aid like billy-oh!
heleninwales From: heleninwales Date: May 22nd, 2011 03:28 pm (UTC) (Link)
I see. So they were treating it as a Silly Season story, even though there is actually plenty of real news about at the moment.
caper_est From: caper_est Date: May 22nd, 2011 06:11 pm (UTC) (Link)
The Silly Season is now an all-year-round celebration - probably because real news requires real effort to research and analyze adequately, and frequently offends important advertising demographics just by happening.

I see this as the triumph of the Horace the Hiccuping Giraffe story, spiced up with a pinch of confected alarm, and a dash of sincere and scattershot contempt.

In breaking news, the US House of Representatives has just reversed course and authorized an unlimited Federal debt ceiling, on the grounds that only sinners will remain on Earth to pay the bill when it comes due, and serve them and the godless usurers both jolly well right!
jhetley From: jhetley Date: May 22nd, 2011 02:44 pm (UTC) (Link)
Within my limited sampling demographic, it stands 75% at "point and laugh." The remaining 25% has been reduced to incoherent gibbering at the Stupid.
From: ex_hrj Date: May 22nd, 2011 03:06 pm (UTC) (Link)
That would be my estimate as well, although I might adjust to 80% point and laugh, 15% incoherent gibbering at the Stupid, and 5% formal news agencies attempting not to burst out laughing while trying to cover it seriously as a Social Phenomenon. (My sampling may be skewed by living at Ground Zero for the kook who started the whole thing.) It would be worth the annoying media attention if they followed through and really hammered at the people who took it seriously and got them to admit/realize that they'd been played. Alas, since the "prophet" in question has promoted previous dates and then backtracked with "I need to adjust my calculations ... this time for sure!" I suspect his few followers will be similarly impervious.
stephanieburgis From: stephanieburgis Date: May 22nd, 2011 03:17 pm (UTC) (Link)
To be fair, every American I know had the same reaction you describe for the European contingent...
heleninwales From: heleninwales Date: May 22nd, 2011 03:31 pm (UTC) (Link)
OK, then it must be that for some reason, the news media were running with it as "light relief", much as over here an item that wouldn't normally get air time hits the headlines in what we call Silly Season. (In case you're not familiar with the term, Silly Season occurs over the summer when Parliament isn't sitting and anyone of any importance has disappeared on holiday.)
pickledginger From: pickledginger Date: May 22nd, 2011 08:45 pm (UTC) (Link)
Haven't run into anyone who took it seriously, but did have a fun chat with some staff in one of the local shops yesterday: a pair started in joking about who favored the rapture v. next year's Mayan apocalypse, and I said "why choose? couldn't we have both?"
mjlayman From: mjlayman Date: May 22nd, 2011 09:45 pm (UTC) (Link)
Their caravan came through here and I saw it. The WashPost interviewed some folks who clearly believed it.

Ah, here's an article from AP.
birdsedge From: birdsedge Date: May 22nd, 2011 11:46 pm (UTC) (Link)
I notice the main rapture website is still saying the rapture will happen on 21st May despite the fact that it's 22nd and plainly didn't. Perhaps tney're trying to insinuate that there's no one left to update the site.

I haven't yet met any British Christian who believes/believed in the rapture, but to be honest I don't know all that many regular churchgoing Christians.
ceelee From: ceelee Date: May 23rd, 2011 09:39 pm (UTC) (Link)
It was a big joke to be enjoyed and to poke fun at people who might have really taken it seriously..silly, silly people. Made for some great joking around, however!! ;-)
14 comments or Leave a comment