Humankind has been anxiously waiting for an apocalypse for about 26 zillion years now.
But so far, despite some near misses—like a Russian fireball with the glass shattering capabilities of a 10,000-ton operatic soprano—we’ve apparently been disappointed.
That’s because “apocalypse” is popularly associated with drastic climate change or worldwide tectonic interference or giant space debris or an overpopulation of zombies. None of which, to my knowledge, has occurred.
Yet the actual definition of the word isn’t quite so specific. I know because I looked it up on the internet, and if something’s on the internet it must be true. Abraham Lincoln said so.
“Apocalypse” is defined as “an event involving destruction or damage on an awesome or catastrophic scale.”
And by that definition, ladies and gentlemen, we are currently in the midst of one awful apocalypse.
I’m talking about a cultural apocalypse, with entertainment so catastrophically mind-numbing it can only lead to the destruction of civilization as we’ve known it.
Need proof? Let’s turn on the television and click through the programming schedule to read synopses of what’s on TV right now, some of which I’m not even making up.
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“Here Comes Honey Boo-Boo.” New episode. A 7-year-old beauty pageant star and her redneck family venture out of backwoods Georgia and encounter the high-cotton society of combustion engines and table settings that can be washed and reused.
Honey Boo Boo throws a tantrum when the mall escalator won’t stop for her to get on while her mother pontificates on the meaning of life and whether or not Jesus would have eaten fried crawdads.
“Inside Entertainment Edition Tonight Weekend Edition.” News. A group of Botoxed personalities acting as journalists report on inconsequential current events using dramatic voices and approximating adverbs to make otherwise dull news exciting and edgy.
Stories include: A squirrel nearly causes nationwide power outage; new snack-time guidelines make a second-grade teacher practically Hitler; Russian meteor almost causes mass extinction.
“Movie Marathon: The Twilight Saga.” Film. An awkward and possibly narcissistic teenage girl falls prey to the exotic allure of a 107-year-old vampire masquerading as a high school social outcast who sparkles.
She is pleased when her life becomes more miserable after it is revealed that a childhood Native American friend who turns out to be a werewolf also finds himself in love with her, although it is actually her yet-to-be conceived baby girl who doesn’t show up until, like, the fourth film to which he is actually attracted.
“ESPN Talk Show Hourly.” News. Former professional athletes with no other marketable skills sit around a shiny desk and relive their glory days through teleprompted conversation about current televised athletic events sponsored by Budweiser while computer-generated images flash around in the background. Some of them have giant diamond earrings.
“Survivor: Dante’s Ninth Circle.” New episode. A large group of overtly self-confident young adults find themselves stranded in the show’s most miserable location to date, and must fight through hunger, exhaustion, pain, back-stabbing alliances and skimpy clothing in order to survive, although the cameramen seem to be doing just fine.
After a series of humiliating challenges and eliminations, only one will be awarded the prize, while the rest are featured on Ellen Degeneres’s show.
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I hate to say I told you so, but welcome to the apocalypse.