Sunday, December 4, 2011

The Great Disappointment

"Is this in America, by any chance?"

"How did you guess?"

"They won't learn, will they?"

I never really learned about the Great Disappointment, not in school, not in my reading, and not from popular culture. I've heard it mentioned, but only fairly recently and only just in passing. I suspect a big desire on behalf of religious believers in America - the overwhelming majority - to just forget about it.

And I never heard that it was William Miller's followers, apparently not having learned anything at all from the event, who started the Jehovah's Witnesses and the Seventh-Day Adventists.

Anyway, it's nice that British comics can laugh at us Americans. I'd hate to think there was no good come of this. But it's true, we won't learn, will we? Most of us, at least. This show was almost two years ago, but of course we've had Harold Camping since then.

And lest you think that he was just a lone nut, Family Radio owns more than 150 radio stations and at least three television stations, and they spent more than $100 million promoting Camping's prediction. Besides, the overwhelming majority of Americans believe this stuff, even though they might have taken his specific prediction with a grain of salt. (As L. Sprague de Camp said, "It does not pay a prophet to be too specific.")

Stephen Fry rightly chuckles when he says, "About 50% of Americans do believe that Christ will return," but I think he's understating it. According to this Pew poll, nearly that many Americans think that Christ will return in the next 4 decades! Yeah, it's no wonder that people laugh at us.

And what's the point of worrying about global warming - or anything else that's reasonably long-term - when you think the world is soon going to end, anyway. If your generation is going to be the last on Earth, there's no point to worrying about future generations, is there? Unless the true believers are wrong,... again.

Anyway, enjoy the video clip. And go ahead and laugh. After all, it's a lot better than crying. (But tell me, can you imagine a TV show like this in America? It's really hard to imagine, isn't it?)


m1nks said...

QI (or IQ as I like to call it in my head) is a great show.

I've never actually owned a tv oddly enough; I just decided not to get one when I concluded that I hated advertisments too much and when even Sky became packed with them (although they call them 'promo's' not 'ads') I decided that a diet of 50% reality tv just wasn't enough of an incentive to get one. Because most decent shows are screened on the internet anyway if I really wanted to watch them (I haven't really ever wanted to) I could.

QI is a great example of a show that actually grows your brain by making your think, and nutures your soul by making you laugh your socks off in the process. I'm a huge believer in laughter being a great thing for people and it's hard to come by sometimes. It's easy to pop a vitamin pill if you feel the need but try sitting down in a chair and telling yourself to laugh hysterically for 10 minutes.

WCG said...

I own a TV, but I almost never watch anything that isn't online.

Still, m1nks, here's where you can see videos I can't. As far as I know, I can't get anything from the BBC. I've never looked for QI, but I've never been able to get Doctor Who, except for a few episodes they had at one time.