So here goes: Hi. My name is Carl, and I’m a Doom Porn addict.
I think with that admission, I’m on the road to recovery. I hope so anyway.
Doom Porn. I love this term. Doom porn. I’m not quite sure where I first heard it, but I love it. I’ll say it again….slowly “Doooooom pooooorrrrrrn.”
Unlike regular porn, or maybe just like regular porn, doom porn takes many forms. The list is virtually endless. Second-hand smoke will give us cancer. Eating eggs causes heart attacks. GMOs will corrupt our DNA. Obama’s gonna take our guns. FEMA’s setting up concentration camps. The local police are militarizing. An uncontrollable flu pandemic is right around the corner. Space aliens are already here and just waiting for the right moment to enslave us – or worse. Incandescent light bulbs are causing ocean levels to rise and so on and so on.
Titillating, isn’t it?
Like any addiction, I was hooked almost immediately upon my initial exposure. I didn’t know it at the time, but I was, hooked from the “get-go.
The “get-go,” my first exposure to doom porn was in the fall of 1977. I was a freshman at the University of Kentucky. During an Astronomy 101 lecture, the professor, one Frank Clark, PhD., told a class room of pimply faced undergrads two things, neither of which have come to pass. First, he told us that if the entire volume of our little sphere called Earth (he showed a graphic to illustrate his point) was filled with crude oil, this, coupled with the then current (1977) world-wide rate of consumption, we would be out of oil and back to the dark ages by 2025. Well, thank God he was wrong. Really wrong. World-wide consumption has increased – by a lot – and we have more oil reserves now than we did 40 years ago. He was incorrect. Secondly, he pointed out, that primarily due to smog created by said oil consumption, sunlight would gradually be snuffed out and we would inevitably slide into an ice age. (I’ve written about this before in a previous post.) Our collective breath quickened and I felt my face flush. I loved it. I began mentally fondling myself
Not too long after this, again, as I’ve previously posted, it became apparent to all “great minds,” that the propellant in my Right Guard (do they still make that?) was going to strip away the ozone layer causing us all to die of malignant melanoma. Again, thank God that was wrong. These are but a few examples of a common form of Doom Porn I like to call ”Scientific” Doom-Porn.
Another genre of doom-porn could be called Economic Doom Porn. While in college, we were warned that soon the Japanese would own everything, EVERYTHING, in the U.S.. Well. They don’t. Either shortly before or shortly after that, it was the Arabs who would enslave us all. Didn’t happen. Right now it’s the Chinese. Soon, I’m told, we’ll be speaking Mandarin. As aroused as I am, I’m gonna hold off on buying Rosetta Stone.
The biggest purveyors of smut such as this are unquestionably the politicians and those that want to believe them. From the left we get all the environmental doom porn. Since it seems a lot of academics are of the progressive ilk, they help pimp this erotica. The right has its preferred sort of vulgarity as well. The aforementioned Xenophobia, Fema camps, and the unstoppable emergence of the police state are three such examples. So whether from the political left or the political right doom porn is out there, I love it, and given the right circumstances, I can be easily aroused by it. That’s what Porn is supposed to do, right?
Just like regular porn, Doom-Porn makes lots of money for a few folks. In this case, millions, probably billions and billions of dollars have been made. For instance, tons of money has been made selling wind turbines, like the ones that malfunction and produce less electricity than they cost to build and maintain in the fields of Indiana, or the ones they’re removing from the hillsides of Europe. We’re all now forced to buy really expensive light bulbs which have spawned a whole new industry made necessary for the disposal of the very poisonous mercury contained within them. Somebody’s getting rich keeping me safe from drowning in the rising ocean. Much money was made by the “clean” energy of Fukushima. More money will be made by it’s clean up. For some planet saving reason an un-manned oil derrick in South Dakota makes less sense than a 20 mile offshore 5 mile deep 24/7 staffed oil rig. Oh yeah and some body gets paid big time to clean up those occasional messes. Some Ph.D. Somewhere probably got a grant of few million to prove why all this is necessary. From the right, be clear, no one loves the “Obama’s gonna get your AK47” more than the folks who make said Aks and the bullets that go in them and the people who peddle all this stuff. So dear reader, if you consider yourself a proud Progressive or a Righteous God-fearing Tea Partier, know this, you too, might be an addict.
There’s more. Another commonality of Doom Porn and other addictions is that it too, gets progressively worse. I find that as I aged – probably because I have more time on my hands less than any chronological reason – my passion for this Doom Porn grew. This age thing along with men generally liking Porn of any type more than women, seems to make middle-aged men perhaps most susceptible to my addiction. So what’s a middle aged – in this case man -addict to do? What should you do if you think you are a Doom porn addict? I once, long-ago, learned many positive life skills while dealing with another life-sapping addiction. I think I’m going to use those tools on this problem.
First – well I’ve already done the first thing,,,but – I admit I have a problem. Next I “put a cork in it.” Thirdly, I surround myself with folks who give me hope and work to do something about it.
So I have a problem – I love Doom Porn. I’m going to stop indulging myself of it. I Promise. But where is this community of helpful hopeful people that once saved me from something far more real and far worse than my present addiction? Well, they’re out there and I’ve run into a few of them.
The advent of my recovery came by hearing of a book entitled America 3.0: Rebooting American Prosperity in the 21st Century by James Bennett and Michael Lotus. This book was the catalyst for my emergence from darkness. While this book doesn’t coin the term “Doom Porn” it certainly describes it and the fantastic (unreasonable and unbelievable) nature of most of these doom-filled prognostications.. It also makes a strong case for hope and change (wink). I mean real hope and real change. The book doesn’t just make its claims based upon what might come to be, but rather makes its case by pointing to things already underway. Things are happening, good things, that middle-aged cranky guys like me are just unaware of, even when they are looking us right in the face. Someone I love very much is involved with just such a thing.
My oldest daughter recently was awarded a fellowship with a group called Code for America. I was, shall we say, less than excited that she took this opportunity for a number of reasons. First, it took her away from me and Kentucky. It required her to move to gasp California. Even worse smh San Francisco. Nothing good comes out of San Francisco. Additionally, while a tech-type enterprise, and privately funded, they do work for the government, and I don’t likes gubments. And finally, I didnt much like her taking the job because it required her to move very far from me. Oh wait, I already said that.
But….two months after she has gone I think I have finally learned what she is involved with and it gives me hope, not just that I will recover, but hope for a better world for us all. She is working with the government, but it’s a local government, the city of San Juan, Puerto Rico. She’s there right now. (I know, what a sacrifice, San Juan in February. Tough Duty.) What she and the other fellows in code for America do is work to strengthen governments ability to “do collectively what we cant do alone.” Their primary vehicle for this is open-source, citizen/user-friendly technical applications of soft ware. I suspect you might be getting bored, at least if you are my age you might be, but it really is the sort of higher power that is a solution for my malady. Younger smarter people actually doing something about something – as opposed to sitting in a cigar shop with a bunch of other old grumpy men grousing about things. (Just so you know, I’m still gonna do that) but I still go to parties with my friends who drink.
Through learning about Code for America, I watched a TED talk given by their founder, I forget her name, something “Pahlka,” I think. In the video I watched and nodded my head as she said something like this, (my words) “we may think we hate government, but what we really hate is politics, and politics is just the surface of the ocean that is government.” I think she’s right. Government isn’t the problem. Government keeps me safe. Government picks up my trash. Government washes away my poo. Government makes my streets passable in February and government educated my girls. Government, at least our form of it, is no more evil, or pornographic than Michelangelo’s David. Sure that’s a statue of a naked man, but it’s a wonderful work of art, a great human achievement. IT has never been perverted by the pornographers. Government is no more inherently perverse than the naked body, It is only when left to pornographers that it becomes something perverse. Politics and the doom pornographers that peddle their doom smut is the problem, That’s what I should hate. So that’s my cure. I’m gonna admit I have problem, that I am far too easily taken in by Doom Porn. I’m gonna “put a cork in that bottle” by not listening to the purveyors of such smut whether they have a d or an r after their name. I am going to be hopeful. I am going to pray (invoking the highest power of all has to help, right?) daily for folks like my daughter that still have the energy and dream of a better country and world. I am going to listen eagerly to what they have to say. When I can, I’ll help. (I donated $10 to CfA on their website www.codeforamerica.org this morning.) I’m gonna do all this, one day at a time.
So for now, that’s all. My name is Carl and I am still a Doom Porn Addict.