Our obsession with the post-apocalypse

Warning: I’ve already put a bit of thought into this subject. My own book series primarily takes place in a post-apocalyptic environment that gradually evolves into a form of utopia.

But, clearly, I am also far from the only fan of this particular brand of material. I will list but a few such popular influences, The Walking Dead, The Leftovers, The Strain books and television series. The 100, The Road, The Book of Eli, even The Matrix films. Mad Max. Fallout. Noah.

What is it about this genre that so captures our imaginations? As a national past time we have become almost obsessed with the post-apocalypse and the different genres it contains.

Seeing as I’ve put a number of years of thought into this, I have my theories. There seems to be a common thread that ties much of this literature and media together; the apocalypse is cause by an external force. Humans are left blameless for the end of civilization. Take The Walking Dead, an incredibly popular comic-book and the even more popular TV adaptation. Most any zombie film can also stand in. We as people still living in modern civilization are afforded a glimpse of the end of that civilization without the guilt of knowing that we had done it to ourselves.

The particular genre of apocalyptic fiction where we are at fault for the end days tends to be less favored and popular. To me they are all the more horrific because we had been exposed. Human nature had finally gotten the upper hand. Novels like A Canticle For Leibowitz and films like The Divide are difficult to swallow not because they contain more gore or violence than the rest of the pact. They are remembered because they show us a true, dark side of ourselves that is easy to ignore until its too late.

In the end these shows and books remind me to enjoy life and be thankful for what I have. They serve as a warning, whether or not we choose to acknowledge them as such.

The past, present and future of Destiny.

I think that Bungie has been pretty upfront with the public as a whole about their plans for Destiny, which is something that not many companies can really say that they do. They are engaging their audience on different social media and across gaming platforms. Bungie and Destiny have become a part of popular culture. My wife knows what Bungie is and their corporate culture, AND SHE STILL SUPPORTS THEM. After all, how many corporations can you vouch for?

All of this draws attention away from the game itself. Destiny was planned as a 10 year game. Did perhaps people misinterpret that ideal, thinking that they would pay $60.00 and get a game with 10 years of value? Expansion packs and micro-transactions have long been considered a norm for video games to show a profit, why is the Destiny community suddenly balking, nay, up in arms, over the price point of the next expansion?

Let’s discuss that expansion for a moment. The Taken King will be roughly three times the size of both previous expansions put together. Does Bungie have to release it as Destiny 2 for gamers to get the hint? Bungie is not in the business of extorting its customers. I am often shocked at the abuse Bungie puts up with from the Destiny community, whom I have found to be most gracious and understanding to each other, but not the makers of the game.

It is simply put, time to make a decision. The truth is that I don’t really play any other video games anymore. Destiny is a constantly evolving and growing game that will seemingly never end. I never have to put down the controller and move on to the next game. It has become a way of life in much the same way that playing video games had originally been. My friends and family play it, we can keep in touch through it and discuss its many details and rich lore.

So am I willing to pay $40.00 for The Taken King? The real question is do I want to stay in this community for the next 10 years and at the same time support a company I believe in. And the answer is yes.

Why we all need Larry David

Between Seinfeld and Curb Your Enthusiasm, we invited Larry David into our homes for over 18 years. At times it was so awkward that it was painful. An old friend of mine was left weeping in the corner after HBO aired a Curb marathon and I wasn’t much better off.

So why put ourselves through such misery? What is it inside of us that identifies with Larry, the writer and the character? Do we fear his idiosyncrasies or do we admire them and his stubborn refusal to go with the flow in a world that increasingly demands just that.

Larry the character does not set out with the intent of changing the world, and more importantly, our minds. He is rude, obnoxious, at times plain nasty, as previously mentioned he is stubborn, he is narcissistic and perhaps worst of all is that he is self-aware. He knows he is all these things and he practically revels in it. He does not sell his personality as a lifestyle choice for others.

Larry the writer is a product of his childhood and environment, just like the rest of us. His shows take place in “Larryland”, a universe where our ugly sides come out all too often and our mistakes are compounded by others mistakes, resulting in a world where our past mistakes define us.

That is where reality diverges, thank goodness. Rather than live in the twisted web that the denizens of Larryland can never hope to change or even understand we can sit back and laugh at the antics Larry conjures up for us. And we are entertained by this twisted and dark representation and interpretation of our own lives that we are shown because we all want to be Larry sometimes. We don’t want to care what others think. We want to act on our impulses. Larry does these things and shows us just how foolish acting that way is and what it costs on every level. And that’s why we need Larry, to show us just how foolish our modern day societies problems really are.

Where does it go?
Does it go with the flow?
Or perhaps against it all?
Making it’s case here,
Abandoning it’s work there.
Maybe even the flow does not know.
Would that it did, would we want to know?

Ray & I

About six months ago I was watching the second to last episode of the show Ray Donovan, which I had been enjoying up until then. A blend of drama, action and introspection that only the creator of Southland could have come up with, Ray Donovan also deals with the fact that Ray’s sibling and himself were molested by a priest when they were children and ignored by their father.

This is where I come to the melding of television and or movies, and life. Allow me to explain. Throughout human history, humans have created stories, some based off of nothing but pure imagination, others derived from inspiration that can come from a multitude of sources. Real-events taken from peoples lives are turned into fiction and vice-versa. All of these events, these memories and moments, all are part of what some call the “collective-conscious”. Whether taken or given from this source, we are all participants in this great, unwritten narrative, even those among us who are viewed as anti-social. I personally feel that it is indeed those of us that are ‘anti-social’ perhaps contribute the most to the fabric of the global society that so many of us are privileged to enjoy living in.

After all, what does a recluse do aside from being an artist?

Another show that is a prime example of storytelling is Louie, which is written, directed by and stars Louis C.K. The show goes beyond merely being a television show and enters another realm entirely, stories about life and the surprising way that we, as human-beings, react to it.

Stories are more than stories, they show us perspectives, entire universes of ideas that we would never have been open to otherwise. Finding that treasure allows us to find ourselves.