Is Anything Not a Sign of the Apocalypse?
These days, my brain alternates between at least two or three scholarly things/themes: the 1920s Klan and the apocalypse (and often vampires and religious intolerance, but that is for another day). The first, of course, is quite obvious. I am counting down the days until my manuscript is tied in a bow and shipped to my publisher. The second, however, started as a minor interest in apocalyptic scenarios in American culture more generally and in pop culture more particularly (see here and here for our other bloggers take on this topic), and it is possible that the apocalypse is becoming quite an obsession of mine. I am teaching a class on the Apocalypse in American culture in the fall, and I even have a Google news alert set broadly for apocalypse (what interesting things appear with that word in the title). According to bloggers, new pundits, and other various talking heads, almost anything is a sign of the apocalypse: Miley Cyrus, a myriad of commercial products, Americans in general, the environment, Obama, various political maneuvering, 2012, nuclear armament and disasters (natural or otherwise).
It is not surprising, then, that the BP oil spill would become one of the impending signs of Armageddon. Lisa Miller, over at Newsweek, reports that in some Christian fundamentalist circles the oil plume points to biblical prophecy come alive. She's a little light on the history of millennialism in America, but she pulls in the Millerites as a key example of the problem with predicting the end of the world. What is more interesting is that a part of the Christian blogosphere finds the oil plume in the Gulf
to be manifestation of Revelation. Miller writes:
Revelation 8:8–11[:]“The second angel blew his trumpet, and something like a great mountain, burning with fire, was thrown into the sea. A third of the sea became blood, a third of the living creatures in the sea died, and a third of the ships were destroyed … A third of the waters became wormwood, and many died from the water, because it was made bitter.” According to Revelation, in other words, something terrible happens to the world’s water, a punishment to those of insufficient faith. The foul water, according to the New Oxford Annotated Bible, mirrors one of the plagues God called upon Egypt on behalf of his people Israel.
Though maybe it’s Revelation 16:3: “The second angel poured his bowl into the sea, and it became like the blood of a corpse, and every living thing in the sea died.”