21 Comments

December 2012 Blog Chain: The End (of the World)


Tweet of the Day: The Anatomy and Value of Fictional Violence

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The last month of the year brings us an End to all things, or doe it?

Starting Date: Monday, December 3, 2012
Open to all forum members, even after it starts!

This month’s prompt:
The End (of the World)

Yes, since the predicted Mayapocalypse only fails to materialize once every 500 years or so we are piggybacking on it. Write what you will about the end of the world (those disinclined to eschatology can write about “the end” in a broader sense). Hopefully, after these ends of the world as we know it, we’ll all feel fine.

Instructions:
Simply post your blog’s URL in this thread to join. Each post should be less than 1000 words if possible. Read and comment on other participants’ posts if you possibly can–they’ll be doing the same for you!

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It’s the End of the World…as We Know It.

Normally I would fill this space with a piece of flash fiction based on the month’s stated theme, but since I posted a few pieces dealing with the end of the world, I thought I change things a little and talk about a 1939 MGM cartoon. What at first glance looks like standard holiday fare shows multiple layers of meaning as you watch it. Go ahead I’ll wait, and if for some reason you can’t watch it here, I included a link to the YouTube page:

First the historical context. This is an MGM cartoon in 1939. World War II had already broken out in Europe and American audiences had already read multiple reports about the fighting in Spain, Manchuria and now Poland. Two more winters would pass until the war came to U.S. shores on December 7, 1941. The majority of Americans, including a sizable veteran population who fought in the Western Front, had no desire to embroil their nation in another European conflict. Hence the theme of universal peace as shown in the video. Americans knew that war loomed in the horizon, possibly a catastrophic war to rival or exceed the bloodshed of the Western Front, but they had no idea of how bloody that war would be.

The second level of context comes from the fact that this is clear (although somewhat subdued for the time) Judeo-Christian allegory. While neither God or Christ are ever mentioned,  biblical themes are present throughout the starting with Christmas celebrations, the ruins of a church and the “book of rules” being none other than a thinly disguised bible. Yet our modern concept of the End of Times is dominated by Christian scatology. The idea of two armies clashing on the field until world is destroyed, only to be made a new comes directly from the Revelation also know as the Apocalypse of John. We see armies clashing on the field of battle until none are left. But is the meek, the animals of the forest who inherit the Earth, not the Children of Man. It seems that this apocalypse will not see a miraculous rescue from above. What man destroys, others rebuild.

The third level of context comes from the sharp contrast between the cute talking animals in their warm warrens and the stark imagery of war presented through the short film. It is one the reasons why this particular piece didn’t see much circulation until Turner Broadcasting bought the rights to the MGM cartoon library. The imagery is as dark as you can get. I doubt such a clear anti-war piece would do as well today.

The final lesson that this little morality play tries to inculcate on us is that war has no real winner or for that matter a righteous side. A final bit irony considering how we view the war that followed today.

Happy Holidays and have Peaceful Night….

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Participants and posts:
orion_mk3: http://nonexistentbooks.wordpress.com (link to post)
dolores haze – http://dianedooley.wordpress.com/ (link to post)
randi.lee – http://emotionalnovel.blogspot.com/ (link to post)
writingismypassion – http://charityfaye.blogspot.com/ (link to post)
bmadsen – http://hospitaloflife.wordpress.com/ (link to post)
Ralph Pines – http://ralfast.wordpress.com/ (link to post)
SRHowen – http://srhowen1.blogspot.com/ (link to post)
AllieKat – http://roelke.livejournal.com/ (link to post)
MsLaylaCakes – http://www.taraquan.com/ (link to post)
katci13 – http://www.krystalsquared.net/ (link to post)
meowzbark – http://www.lizzylessard.com/ (link to post)
Angyl78 – http://jelyzabeth.wordpress.com/ (link to post)
Aheïla – http://thewriteaholicblog.wordpress.com/ (link to post)
pyrosama – http://matrix-hole.blogspot.com/ (link to post)
Araenvo – http://www.simonpclark.com/ (link to post)
CJ Michaels – http://www.christinajmichaels.blogspot.com/ (link to post)
SuzanneSeese – http://www.viewofsue.blogspot.com/ (link to post)
BBBurke – http://awritersprogression.blogspot.com/ (link to post)
gell214 – http://filipinaonlinefreelancewriter.blogspot.com/ (link to post)

21 comments on “December 2012 Blog Chain: The End (of the World)

  1. Love that cartoon. Thinly veiled message indeed! So dark and violent.
    “Mighty good book of rules”…funny. ^_^

  2. Awesome post! Now I will forward this link to my iPhone so I can watch the video. I hate it when work blocks Youtube. I mean, they have some really informative stuff there.

  3. I totally agree that war has no winners. For many years I was an anti-war war activist and am very proud of that work, but I do also believe that we have to stand up against true evil–such as Hitler, the apartheid regime in South Africa, and now Assad. I know war is terrible and should be avoided at all costs. Still, where do we draw the lines? The Iraq war to me was an easy war to disagree with but why did nobody really stand up for Rwanda–and now the Sudan. I absolutely don’t feel there’s any moral good in war, but sometimes we still have to stand up for peace and humanity–with force. Maybe more often.

    • I am not a pacifist by any means. I am not that brave. And I do agree that you must stand up to evil. However as I grown older I also noticed that note everyone that claims to be on the right side is in fact right and that war can also create as many if not more problems than it resolves.

  4. An engaging, thought-provoking read, Ralph. Happy Holidays and a Peaceful Night unto you & yours.

  5. That was a fascinating cartoon. Thanks for sharing it! I thought the animated war scenes were beautifully done.

  6. [...] to post) Ralph Pines – http://ralfast.wordpress.com/ (link to post) AllieKat – http://roelke.livejournal.com/ (link to post) MsLaylaCakes [...]

  7. [...] to post) Ralph Pines – http://ralfast.wordpress.com/ (link to post) AllieKat – http://roelke.livejournal.com/ (link to post) MsLaylaCakes [...]

  8. [...] (link to post)Ralph Pines – http://ralfast.wordpress.com/ (link to post)AllieKat – http://roelke.livejournal.com/ (link to post)MsLaylaCakes – [...]

  9. A very interesting and insightful post! What a glum Christmas cartoon.

  10. Love this post! Good job with the prompt.

  11. Nice breakdown of an interesting little cartoon.

  12. […] (link to post)Ralph Pines – http://ralfast.wordpress.com/ (link to post)AllieKat – http://roelke.livejournal.com/ (link to post)MsLaylaCakes – […]

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