The End Times

Unsure How To Deal With New-Age Anxiety? Try Fantasy.

Since the millennium, life has become increasingly stress inducing. How to cope? Scream, cry, and explore the fantastical.


The End Times is a column cataloguing the omens of the Apocalypse as they occur in culture.

On the eve of the new millennium, a million fireworks were tested and readied. Men in beige work chinos adjusted the firing settings, tweaking meticulously the timers of the launchers; everything had to be perfect. Governments around the world celebrated the passage into a new age, the year 2000. If you were there, you may recall the titillating feeling that the future was upon us. The internet was just starting to gain popularity, with only 250 million users worldwide.

I was given, in my grade school class, an aluminum box embossed with a dove, when cracked open, the box revealed a soft black velvet interior with a commemorative set of coins and stamps. I’ve kept the box and its offering in mint condition ever since, perhaps because I intuitively knew that it marked a great departure into the unknown, and I wanted a memento of the before times. The dove, probably representing peace, in hindsight, best exemplifies my unbothered innocence entering the uncharted New Age of Anxiety.

On the eve of the new millennium, tensions ran high. By all accounts, political, religious, or technological, the world was supposed to end. There were plots linked to al-Qaeda to set off explosives at LAX with “a blast forty times greater than that of a devastating car bomb.” A US military ship, the USS The Sullivans, was also targeted by a failed bombing attempt near Yemen. Fundamentalist Christian leaders saw the year 2000 (Y2K) as an omen of the Apocalypse. In late 1999, the New York Times reported that “the Rev. Jerry Falwell suggested that Y2K would confirm Christian prophecy – God's instrument to shake this nation, to humble this nation.” The Y2K crisis might incite a worldwide revival that would lead to the rapture of the church.

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