“Don’t Look Up” — “Don’t Look Down”: A Post-Cinematic Eerie Premonition (TONGA)

Saturday, February 19, 2022

Back on New Year’s Day, I posted some commentary on “Don’t Look Up,” a film in the apocalypse genre that the culture industry can’t resist resurrecting every once in a while. I concluded by noting that a super volcano event lurks in the wings; the obvious working title for the sequel should be “Don’t Look Down.”

Within less than a month, a super volcano event did occur, just off the island nation of Tonga. The report is that it released more energy than a nuclear bomb going off.

After the initial coverage of the devastation, there have been only scattered reports of how the people of Tonga are managing to recover from the devastation of the ash from the eruption and the subsequent tsunami. It would appear that close to 20 percent of Tonga’s annual economy has received a crippling blow, which will probably end up directly affecting at least fifty percent of the population. It should be mentioned that Covid had been kept out of the country until this catastrophe; it was the delivery of relief goods that brought the virus onto the island. Fortunately, it appears that about 80 percent of the island’s residents have been vaccinated. If only the United States could say the same! Tonga, I believe, is under lockdown in an attempt to minimize the spread of the virus, but that of course is not making it any easier to repair the damage done by the volcanic explosion.

I don’t know how many other non-scientific culture commentators ran up the caution flag about volcanoes after seeing “Don’t Look Up.” I may well have been the only one, but the fulfillment of my warning gives me no satisfaction. I have no vatic powers: I simply at looking at a planet whose physiology has no time for speculative intellectual fantasies such as “postmodernism.” It’s only in the subjective domain of the replication of images that postmodernism has any substantial reality, and what should always already not go unmentioned is how quickly all of it can be vaporized.


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