Wednesday, August 22, 2007

Manhattan Apocalypse

Planet of the Apes

Sometimes, in my darkest moments with this vanishing city, when I am deep into grief over my lost love, I wish New York would just disappear completely. We all feel it from time to time, that collective, usually unconscious death wish that finds expression in those many New York destruction movies, from Planet of the Apes to this year's I Am Legend.

I Am Legend

Independence Day

The terrible events of 9/11 roused within many of us an unspeakable guilt -- our most unacceptable repressed wish for this city was reified. We can deny it, but while we may not be conscious of it, the wish is there, deep below the surface. Or else those cathartic movies would not exist and could not make millions of dollars.

Now we can watch this apocalyptic slideshow. I've been looking forward to reading Alan Weisman's The World Without Us for months. There is something oddly relieving to imagine our city empty of humans, as if in the wake of the apocalypse our dreamed-of ideal New York might rise from the rubble.

Art by Kenn Brown, mondolithic media
(this image reminds me of the old thunderbolt coaster at coney, how green it was in summer, like a hanging garden, its rails blossoming with white moonflowers.)

This New York Times article states it well:
Who dreams of the apocalypse? Why do they dream of it? Polls indicate that up to 50 percent of Americans believe that the Book of Revelation is a true, prophetic document, meaning they fully expect the predictions of “Rapture,” “Tribulation” and “Armageddon” to be fulfilled. There is a paradox built into end-time theologies in that imminent catastrophe often brings comfort; according to Paul S. Boyer, an authority on prophecy belief in American culture and an emeritus professor of history at the University of Wisconsin at Madison, the apocalypse is an appealing idea because it promises salvation to a select group — all of whom share secret knowledge — and a world redeemed and delivered from evil.


Watch Unclear Holocaust for an "ultraviolent, over-edited orgy of every Hollywood movie in which New York is desecrated, attacked, destroyed, in anarchic narrative unity."

Unclear Holocaust from anti banality on Vimeo.

And check out Hollywood Vs. New York for a short montage of New York's destruction by Hollywood:

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