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Entries in apocalypse (5)

Monday
Jul042011

Dear People of the Year 2076 (1976)

The 1970s was a tough decade for America. As we saw in the second episode of paleofuture.tv, many people were predicting apocalypse. But in 1976, it seems Americans were determined to hold their heads up high and celebrate 200 years of a country that was experiencing some major growing pains. If there's one thing Americans know how to do well, it's throw a party. And the U.S. Bicentennial was supposed to be one hell of a party.

On July 4, 1976 newspapers all across America dedicated special sections to the history and future of the country. The Grand Prairie Daily News in Grand Pairie, Texas invited readers to write letters to the people of 2076, who would presumably be celebrating the United States Tricentennial. Today we have some of those letters from high school students of the year 1976. What's pretty clear in reading the letters is that even most high school kids weren't very optimistic about what the next hundred years had in store for them.

[I've redacted the number that appears under Mike Sharp's letter because it looks like a Social Security number. I'm not sure why Mike would include his Social Security number, but I'd rather not create any unnecessary problems for ol' Mike, because most of these people are probably alive today.]

The drawing above was made by little Lisa Givlar in 1976 and appeared in The Tricentennial Report

 

Dear People of the Year 2076,

In the year 2076, the world will be far ahead in space travel and modern technalogy. There will be space flights to other planets.

Machines will take over, modern man will become a living blobb.

California will not be on the map and the weather will change through out the world.

Hungar will strike Asia and Europe. The civilization of 2076 will depend upon the polluted sea waters for food.

Nuclear enery will supply our needs.

Population control will be put into affect. The world will be over populous.

Schools wll be television programs. This may all seem funny to you but I remember a time when space travel was all just a dream.

 

Earthling,

Pat Bentley

 

 

To the people of the year 2076,

In a hundred years I think the world will be overpopulated and people will have to live in apartments to accomodate for this. Everything will be able to be recycled and what little that can't will be shot out into space.

 

From

Greg Redding

 

Many things will change some good some bad. But most of all I hope that the people of the year 2076 still love and protect the United States and what it stands for. This world is tough, but I am glad to be born in a place such as America were I can say what I please.

 

Sincerely,

A South Grand Prairie High Warrior

[unreadable] Allen 

 

I believe 100 years from now, ("1976") the year I graduate, crime will be wiped out completely. There will be some kind of magnetic force field to stop anyone from doing something illeagle.

Someday in the future I hope the world will not need army's, but I doubt that day will come. There will be new weapons being built all the time. I feel that the wars will be push button wars not on the battefield with hand-to-hand combat.

We probably have traveled to new planets and had started new colonies. Concerts and music is something important in my life, but I doubt it will be in the future.

I hope the world is at peace, and I wish all of you Americans the best of luck.

 

Mike Sharp

 

To: Whomever,

I'm suppose to write what I think the world will be like in 100 years. Well, honestly, I doubt if the world will even exist. The earth will probably destroy itself by then with a nuclear war.

The people of today just can't get along together, or even seem to be trying. But if by some miracle, and it would be a miracle, man still exists 100 years from now, I'm hoping the world will be a peaceful place. Maybe man will have learned to live in harmony with nature. Instead of polluting the air and sea. Maybe all the countries of the world will destroy their weapons and love their fellow man. This would be a great accomplisment and I'm wishing you all the luck in the world.

 

Maura McDonald

 

There is one thing specifically I would not like to see in the year 2076 and that is war and hostility of any kind. Peace is an all important thing the people of Earth must learn in order to progress and survive.

I truly wish humanity knows what to do with itself.

 

Spirit of 76 Bi Centennial

Yours truly

Bobby Jack 

Thursday
Jun162011

Nuclear Winter: Poetry for the Apocalypse (1986)

This past September I was wandering the shelves of a Half Price Books in Austin, TX when I stumbled upon the most peculiar little book. Titled Nuclear Winter, this book from 1986 was aesthetically unimpressive, with its cover design rivaling the very worst masturbatory self-published volumes on Lulu. I instantly thought that the washed out black of the cover was likely a product of poor printing from a small indie publisher rather than the 25 years it had been sitting dormant.

Written by Stephen Daniel Mings, the book is a collection of 43 poems, each written from the perspective of a different person who has surivived a global nuclear war. Needless to say, it's a bit of a downer. This book of poetry is not recommended for getting your main squeeze in the mood, as Emily Dickinson's darkest lines would likely be more successful in that endeavor.

Nuclear Winter presents the viewpoints of individual nuclear holocaust victims, some adult, some children, in different locations and circumstances, who have survived the first shock of a major nuclear war. The poems are arranged in the order I wrote them between October and December 1985. They reveal a world in the grip of nuclear winter where snow and ice, changed weather patterns and grey clouded skies are made worse by the radioactive refuse of a planetary nuclear battleground.

My purpose is to alert the reader to the danger of a major nuclear war. I do not believe such a war is likely today, but it is more likely than it was ten or twenty years ago and if something is not done to prevent it, such a war will grow increasingly possible. Read the poems, see the consequences and avert the war. (February 1986)

 

Below is poem number eleven, titled Dear Santa.

 

Dear Santa, please hurry here.

Our daughter Marie is only four

but her logic is as clear

as midnight broken by the searing light

of the bomb blast.

She's afraid you aren't coming

because the shelter has no chimney,

only an air vent to filter out death.

She smiled a little when we told her

she'd join you in heaven.

But the morphine is almost gone and 

she won't be able to smile much longer.

 

--a woman

Puget Sound

North America

 

Tuesday
Feb092010

The Late Great Planet Earth (1976)

The trailer for the 1976 film The Late Great Planet Earth, based on the book by Hal Lindsey, follows a formula you're probably familiar with by now.

Apocalypse porn of the 1970s, like The Late Great Planet Earth and Future Shock, push the idea that "my generation" is special. Late Great contends that many people of the past have predicted the end of the world is near, (and though the world is obviously still here), our generation is special! Our generation will truly see the End Times!

The Late Great Planet Earth, like Future Shock, was hosted by Orson Welles. I'm not sure if Welles was just cashing a paycheck or if he believed what he was selling, but as we've seen repeatedly on this blog people seem particularly receptive to apocalyptic messages during tough economic times.


Late Great Planet Earth trailer
Uploaded by paleofuture. - Check out other Film & TV videos.

Then, as now, Man believed himself too sophisticated for prophecies. But now, prophetic pattern exist that cannot be forgotten, cannot be ignored.

 

Previously on Paleo-Future: 

 

Sunday
Nov222009

Doomsday 1999 A.D. (1981)

While perusing the shelves of a great Portland bookstore (Portland, OR really has the best used book stores in the country) I stumbled across the book Doomsday 1999 A.D. by Charles Berlitz and immediately flipped to the last chapter.

In the "apocalypse porn" genre you'll find that the final chapter is where the author either hedges his bets (maybe we won't all die, after all...) or offers an absurd possibility for the survival of mankind (let's spike foreign food aid with anti-fertility drugs!). Berlitz chooses to do a bit of both with a chapter called "The Arks of the Future."

Below is an excerpt from the final chapter of the book.

Although the idea of piloted UFOs and intelligent life in space is usually considered with a certain amount of sardonic humor, it nevertheless remains a possibility and should be considered as an added opportunity for Earth's peoples, through knowledge of its drive and methods, to develop another means of escape from our environment if or when it becomes untenable.

Our legends from an earlier world tell us of a great ship or ships which provided a refuge in far places of the earth, but perhaps after the next catastrophe Earth itself may become inimicable to humanity. Our survival plans should therefore be predicated on an intensified exploration of space; not only to find a refuge but also to expand our observation of the universe, to be able thereby to avoid or control dangers within the cosmos which may even now be drawing closer to Earth.

 

Previously on Paleo-Future:

 

Sunday
Nov162008

The Millennium Bug (1998)


The 1998 book The Millennium Bug by Michael S. Hyatt is pretty pessimistic about mankind's future, given the "Y2K problem." Ironically, Mr. Hyatt blogged more recently about cynics who are pessimistic about the future. He says that real leaders "look on the sunny side." Priceless turnaround.

As ridiculous as the hysteria over Y2K may have been, it was certainly more palatable than the current "2012" nonsense. Whatever happened to being afraid of a good, old-fashioned robot uprising?

My favorite warning from the front cover of the book says that the "illusion of social stability is about to be shattered . . . and nothing can stop it." If this is even remotely true, why buy this book? Do you feel as if you're living with the "illusion of social stability"? Might we all crack in a moment's notice? Does every generation feel so special as to believe they live in the End Times?

The rest of the supposed "catastrophic results" of the Y2K bug were outlined on the book's back cover:

  • Social security checks will stop coming.
  • Planes all over the world will be grounded.
  • Credit card charges will be rejected.
  • Military defense systems will fail.
  • Police records and emergency communications will be inaccessible.
  • There will be massive, long-term power failures.
  • Bank funds will be inaccessible.
  • Insurance policies will appear to have expired.
  • Telephone systems will fail to operate.
  • IRS tax records and government funds will be unavailable.
  • The Federal Reserve will be unable to clear checks.
  • Time security vaults will fail to open or close on time.
  • Traffic signals will fail to function.
  • Office systems will fail and your employer will go out of business. [ed. note: This seems rather specific. My employer will go out of business? It's as if you're pointing directly at me through this book. How did you do that, magic book?]

Read more:
The Robot Rebellion (1982)
Final Date of the Earth: August 18, 1999 (1973)
The Prophetic Year 2000 (1968)
The 1980s: Countdown to Armageddon
Nucelar War to Start September 12, 2006
Nuclear War Revisited (2006)
Apocalypse Soon (1980)