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The War Nerd / March 10, 2009

omega nerd

Sorry about the long break. I had to deal with my real job, even picked up some extra hours. Once I would have bitched non-stop about that, but I’ve noticed that everybody’s gotten real flexible about their schedules, now that they’re lucky to have a job at all. No more Monday morning jokes. We’re as cheerful as a bunch of Mormons getting root canals. And under all the gung-ho attitude, people are just plain scared.
So naturally, everybody’s trotting out the end-of-civilization scenarios. There’s a whole bunch of guys out there (mostly guys, a few butch girls here and there) who sulk online for years waiting for somebody to bring up the Omega Man/I Am Legend scenario: what are you going to do when civilization collapses?

It usually comes down to gun talk. That really makes me laugh. As if small arms would get you through the end of the world. Oh, I get the idea. In fact there was this joke when I was in high school that summed it up nice: “Q: What is the definition of a survivalist? A: Somebody with a rifle and the address of a Mormon.” Because everybody knew those Mormons were required by an official memo straight from God to Joseph E. Smith, Jr. to stockpile canned goods for a year in their tidy little basements. If you had a rifle, the idea was, you just strolled over to their house and either ordered them out if you were feeling all interfaith-cuddly or shot the whole bunch, although with those Mormon birth rates you’d be using up a lot of ammo on basically harmless people.

Well, they were harmless back then. I suspect if you kicked down the door of the average Mormon house now you’d get a face full of buckshot. People are meaner than they used to be.

But being tough, being armed to the teeth and ready to kick ass, that wouldn’t save you either if it all came down. It’d come down to dull stuff that nobody wants to think about, like organization. That’s what really hits me about these survival fantasies: it’s always about holing up in your house with guns and ammo and years of video-game wet dreams bouncing around in your head.

One question: where you gonna get your water? You can go weeks without food (in my case more like a year; in fact I’d probably be better off after starving for a year or so) but you need water every day. Let’s take California. Last I heard there were 24 million people in So Cal. You know where they get their water? From a tap, yeah; but when the taps stop flowing? Flick that ball socket faucet in your townhouse and a spider drops out? That’s what’d scare me, not armies of zombies or gangbangers.

There are no rivers in So Cal. Ever see the LA River? Sure you have; it’s in about a million movies. It’s where they stage those fake drag races, where T2 drove that semi. It’s a culvert with a trickle at the bottom. 23 million yuppies are going to go from worrying about hydrating every hour to slurping algae from the last puddle in that culvert.

When I was a kid there was a crazy old Okie named Cecil who used to dig wells. I haven’t heard about that job in a long time. If anyone lives long enough and has something to pay them with, the last surviving well drillers will be kings. “Here, how about I trade you my daughter here for a well, sir, your honor, your crustiness?”
I don’t even know where Fresno gets water from; I’ll google it now, see what I get. (Better google while you can, too; internet access will be restricted when the power dies.)

OK, five minutes online and here we are. This is from the City of Fresno’s FAQ page:

WATER SOURCE: Where does our drinking water come from?

For City of Fresno customers, the primary source of drinking water is derived from the Fresno Sole Source Aquifer, a large underground water system that supplies many communities in the San Joaquin Valley. The city operates approximately 250 wells that draw water from this aquifer. The groundwater supply is enhanced by water from the City’s surface water treatment facility which receives and treats precipitation and snow melt water from the Kings and San Joaquin watersheds. Fresno has an aggressive recharge program that is continually finding new places and methods to conduct groundwater recharge. Water recharge operations can slow this decline, but with conservation, you can help have a greater impact.

There was another interesting bit on that page: the groundwater level in Fresno has fallen from 30 feet to 130 feet. That’s a lot of well to drill, especially without fuel.

So instead of arguing about caliber and range, try finding out where the water comes from in your town. Is it even a reservoir, or do they pump it in from somewhere?  If they do, you might want to schedule a camping trip to the nearest lake about the time civilization collapses. Otherwise the pipes will go dry and you’ll do what all us loudtalking war nerds will actually do when the world ends: die. Buy the farm, give up the ghost, pay our internet gaming bills for good.

We better hope the end of the world is nice enough to schedule itself for the wet season. “Dear God, Any time between December and April would be fine.” If it’s August, the population of So Cal is going to decline from 23 million to…I dunno, what’s the population of Lake Arrowhead?

Whoever controls water supply will control So Cal, if it ever collapsed. And that won’t be a lone gunman in a tract house in Santa Ana. Those people will die like flies, waiting for an attack they’ve been dreaming of their whole lives while their kids die of waterborne diseases from drinking what’s left at the bottom of the pool.


Victory will go to whoever has the numbers. And not just numbers, but sane, reliable people. What’d be funny is if it ended up being the churches. I can see that happening, actually. Talk about a bummer of a post-apocalypse, how about So Cal as the Empire of the Assembly of God? Compulsory three-hour sermons, required speaking in tongues. Man, I couldn’t take it. One reason I lost my whole Pentacostal thing was the downright embarrassment of watching respectable middle-aged ladies like Mrs. Tamplen from up the street whooping like crazies, babbling like Scooby Doo and running up and down the aisle on Sunday because they felt like that was the only way to show that the Spirit was in them. I’d have way rather taken their word on it. “Ma’am, couldn’t you just sign a statement that you’ve got the spirit in you? And please keep your arms to your sides?” I couldn’t take the idea of Pentecostal SS forcing you to do that “batter-batter-HEY-swing” nonsense they made us try out.

But it could happen very easily. The churches have the numbers, and their people are sane, sort of, God knows they’re dull enough. I can see some tough Okie/Mexican patrols in giant crusader t-shirts with big red crosses holding the perimeter of most of the reservoirs in So Cal, making you take a Scripture Trivia quiz before you get your three liters a day. Who else would be in the running?

And please, don’t tell me the Crips or the Bloods. Maybe, just maybe, some sort of Mexican-gang super-alliance, the Sureno Republic, could hold out against the Born-Agains for a while, but I’d put my money on the churches. Gangstas are too easy to trick into killing each other off. I can just see the sleazeball minister of our old church giving some Latin Kings honcho the old soft-sell: “Flaco, you know we love you and Jesus loves you but alas those godforsaken heathern Maras, they say you’re showing weakness, ese….” Next thing you know it’s a Latin Kings/Baptist alliance to wipe out the little Salvadoran stabbers, and when that’s over you wake up one morning to find all the Latin Kings gone and your uncle who’s with the armed wing of the church washing the blood off his hands with a little of that precious water while he hums “Just as I am, without one plea.”

And when they’re gone, settle in for some of the dullest centuries you’ve ever imagined. You can sort of see why nobody makes a video game about that scenario: it’s no fun. But it makes more sense than the lone gun deal, because victory always goes to the big gangs. The only place for a loner in a hard world is…well, we already know. You tell me: give me the name of the Californian who already lived through the end of the world.

Ishi

Correct answer: Ishi. Remember Ishi? Kids still study the poor bastard? We did. Every time I drive north on I5 and see the exit to Lassen National Park I think of him, hiding out in a creekbed for years after his whole world was wiped out. He did about as well as anybody will, when the aliens come, and he still had to go cringing up to them at the end, couldn’t make it alone any more. They made a diorama out of him while he was still alive.

The Ishi technique, hiding and scavenging, might save you for a while. At least you’d last longer than the Wacos who think they’ll set up a single-family republic in their Bundy fixer-upper. If water doesn’t force them out, fire will. How you gonna use that gun to hold off 20 or 30 or 2000 organized attackers? You have to sleep sometime, and when you do, a couple of Molotov cocktails through the window, on the roof even, will make you start negotiating fast.

See, that’s what’s sad about all this: the post-disaster world will be just like this one, only worse. All the lousy coworkers and squabbles and crap, but none of the luxuries. The winners won’t be the zombies, just another set of bosses. The end of the world is what you call it when your tribe loses. It may be the end of the world for them, like it was for hundreds of native tribes all over the world, but when your world ends like that, you don’t get to play out the game in some cool ruins out of a video game. Some other tribe takes over, that’s all. And when they do, there’s no way on earth you can hole up in your townhouse with a semi-automatic weapon and hold out. Because it’s organization that wins, not lone gunmen. If you want to survive, join a club. It only looks like chaos to the losers. The Mongols are my classic example here. They were a “horde” to the people whose asses they kicked, but if those losers had had the sense to accept Mongol vassalage (which the Mongols usually offered before they started leveling everything to the horizon) they’d have found out that the Mongols were actually better organized than their opposition. Most of the time the Mongol armies faced armies made up of a few professional soldiers and huge peasant levies, led by guys who were born into the job. Half of them were opium addicts, retards, lazy whoremongers, or macho idiots. That’s what you get when you trust a family tree.

Against that the Mongols had a system more like Bonaparte’s: first prove yourself in war, then we’ll add the nobility. The Mongol armies were organized on a decimal system that made much more sense than the feudal gangs, always feuding and betraying each other, that they faced off against.

They weren’t chaos. They just looked that way to the last survivor of a village, running off with stories of piles of severed heads. That wasn’t actually chaos, that was just mopping up.

Has chaos ever actually won? It sounds weird but I can’t find a single example that fits the video-game, Mad Max scenario. Sure, empires weaken and fall, but it’s not a horde that defeats them, it’s some other tribe, some new empire. The newcomers are “barbarians” if they beat you, but if you hung with them you’d see they’re pretty much like any other bunch of sneaky, fussy, greedy people.

If there was a mass of zombies swarming the streets, I’d feel pretty good about it. Remember that scene in Dawn of the Dead when they’re on the roof of the mall picking off zombies to pass the time? It’d be that easy. Being braindead is not an advantage in war, believe it or not.

On the fucking contrary. If you look hard at the military history of the last century you can see that it’s sneakiness, hiding your massacres and sucking up to potential allies, that wins wars. That’s how the Wehrmacht, the finest land army since the Mongols, was defeated, and why the Brits survived. In every battle where they faced Germans on equal terms in either of the world wars, the Brits lost. But they won the wars because they had this huge English-speaking ex-colony, America, to resupply them, and this god-given moat called the English Channel to stop the tanks. Victory goeth not to the strong, or the crazy; if it did, we’d be getting Hitler’s Birthday off, with a half day for Hirohito’s Imperial Deflowering or something.

We’d love for the world to end, or we think we would. (First toothache or skin disease and you’ll change your mind, though.) But too bad, or cheer up, whichever; it’s never going to happen.

shooting zombies

So why does everybody talk about it all fucking day? Simple: it’s the most fun idea in the world. Think about it. Every zombie movie is about how great it’d be to have the city to yourself. No crowds, no annoying other people, just a free-fire zone where you’re the only real human being and you can blow the head off anything that tries to bite you or borrow a quarter, whatever. A lifetime shopping spree, total immunity to all the laws—like being a star, and if you were the last person on earth you’d be a star by like default. No competition.

Sometimes you even get to have a dog, like in I Am Legend. But no people. That’s the dream here. And that’s why nobody faces the pretty durn obvious fact that after the apocalypse, alliances, partnerships, gangs, whatever you want to call them, are going to be tighter, stricter, more important than ever. Because that’s no fun. It’s just life at the office only without AC, TV, or the net. There’s never gonna be an end of the world. There’s gonna be an end of you, you personally; but the world won’t even flinch. You’ll be lucky to get an obituary, a half inch next to the weather report on the back page of Section B. The world is never gonna end. That’s what’s depressing.

Gary Brecher is the author of the War Nerd. Send your comments to brecher@exiledonline.com.

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89 Comments

Add your own

  • 1. dogbane  |  March 12th, 2009 at 9:56 am

    Good commentary. Over at zombiehunters.org, we discuss issues like this constantly, and I think armed raiders are higher on our list of concerns than zombies. I posted a link to this article there, and one member said that zombies were really a best case scenario. (I have turned a few people onto the War Nerd; I hope your site traffic has gone up.)

    Guns are important, but more for protecting what you have from other people with guns. More important is community, which is something I keep harping on.

    Well done. Your blog was worht the wait.

  • 2. John Doe  |  March 12th, 2009 at 12:21 pm

    Eli,

    You might want to rethink that: the Arab enemies of Zion happen to sit on most of the world’s oil, so if the U.S. got wind of your plan, they’d nuke Israel into glass slag to save the production facilities. That’s called “Realpolitik”.

  • 3. Hidden Author  |  March 12th, 2009 at 12:52 pm

    I think everybody is missing Brecher’s point: All those people thinking an apocalypse will free them are mistaken. The clans, tribes, etc. that would replace the centralized state would discipline and regiment their membership far more strictly than society as it is currently organized!

  • 4. aleke  |  March 12th, 2009 at 1:42 pm

    Yeah life would be shit. Unless you really love religion and hate living comfortably.

  • 5. Sk  |  March 12th, 2009 at 8:49 pm

    I can sympathize with the feeling that the only salvation from life in the new peasantry is a deus ex machina event that wipes out our current masters.

    The clans that would fill in the vacuum might be more tyrannical, but the good news is that they would have far fewer resources with which to oppress individuals than current governments. The remains of a police force probably couldn’t be bothered to run a massive program to filter your online communication and put you on the terrorist watch list if you type enough anti-establishment key words.

    I doubt it makes a difference, but I guess (assuming you didn’t die of dysentery first) trying to fend off armed pentecostals is more plausible than fighting off the cops.

  • 6. j-dog  |  March 12th, 2009 at 9:17 pm

    @54 “Unless you really love religion and hate living comfortably.”

    Isn’t that the point of most judeo-christian religions? Hatred of pleasure …. total devotion to THE FAITH (or GOD if you want to use their language). Perfect slave (or in an “end times” world) soldier mentality. There’s no question IF the religious sects would excel in these types of scenarios.

  • 7. dogbane  |  March 13th, 2009 at 4:50 am

    54. “I think everybody is missing Brecher’s point: All those people thinking an apocalypse will free them are mistaken.”

    Brecher makes several good points, and that’s one of them, but I think this is his most important point: “If you want to survive, join a club.”

  • 8. isamu  |  March 13th, 2009 at 4:59 am

    “Please google ‘homemade desalination unit’ (or something similar).”

    So what happens when your polythene sheet wears out? Buy another from Home Depot?

    What about water for irrigation or livestock? Most of California is worthless for agriculture without irrigation.

    These home units are just short-term household-level survival tools, not the basis for any lasting civilization. Absent modern technology, there isn’t a way or reason for 17 million people to live in the greater LA area.

  • 9. d0man72  |  March 13th, 2009 at 9:51 am

    If the shtf quickly 5 million L.A. residents will die off trying to cross the sierra mountains and the other millions will die off in the city. Only a few will make it out alive. If California collapses all America would be left with is the facist state of Texas (the only facist nation left in the whole white world) California is home to important technological center in the world Silicon Valley and it also has the most military bases than any other state. It is believed that California coasts hold up to 10 billion barrels of oil. Would hate to see it fall to the communist Chinese reds.

  • 10. Derek  |  March 13th, 2009 at 6:32 pm

    Hey, we’ve got a private well. I can also make alcohol out of fruit. What else does life need?

  • 11. rpg  |  March 14th, 2009 at 8:49 am

    hey War Nerd, i know our conventional enemies don’t hold much interest to you, but what about some thoughts on Russia using Cuba to parks its strategic bombers again?

  • 12. Eli  |  March 14th, 2009 at 9:14 am

    John Doe: actually, “Realpolitik” says that in case of complete disintegration of morality and UN-type diplomacy (as a result of the said “apocalypse”), US will probably be the one cleaning up the Arab street – en masse style. Israel will just be left watching, as Americans make a huge parking lot out of Saudi Arabia in order to extract it resources.

    Fortunately for Israel, it doesn’t have any oil, so it’ll be left alone – that is, until mass starvation happens. But by then everyone will be screwed anyway.

  • 13. blargho  |  March 14th, 2009 at 1:46 pm

    Google “Summer of Hell”, the collapse just might come sooner than you’d think.

    I’d be more worried about nukes getting in to the wrong hands.

    And as a geotechnical engineer I know where to dig wells. 😛 The profession is pretty damn intact Mr. War Nerd.

    Might want to suck up to your friendly neighborhood geothermal engineer aswell, cause that energy source is easy to generate.

  • 14. odd  |  March 14th, 2009 at 5:02 pm

    Well, this is a fine enough coverage of chaos by conquest. But then you also have chaos by environmental collapse and chaos by disease.

    If you transform your prime agricultural land in a desert then shit is going to happen. The end state is that almost all that lived there will be gone either by going somewhere else, or by dying. In the meantime it is going to be messy and most attempts at government will fail unless they have some solution to problems (not likely). No one will conquer your desert though – unless oil is found under it.

    If a disease kills half the population or so, it actually tends to end up pretty good for the survivors – once the corpses are in the ground and the plague is over. More land for everyone, more career opportunities, less people for conscription, thus less war (more coups though as you and your buddy probably can stage one). These times are usually called dark ages as there is little fun for the historians with peasants tilling the soil. As neighbours will probably also suffered from the plagu or will get it if they invade there won’t be much conquests.

  • 15. Newfie_Survivor  |  March 15th, 2009 at 10:10 am

    Little off topic but did anyone actually READ I Am Legend. The book is nothing like the movie (except the characters name). He didn’t get a dog…he lured it to him over a period of time and when he finally got it….it died……its too bad that holywood didn’t think this story was good enough for a movie….i just wish they were not allowed to keep the title when they change everything

  • 16. dagnir  |  March 16th, 2009 at 5:16 pm

    Great ending there. Really drives home the point.

  • 17. Roger  |  March 16th, 2009 at 11:25 pm

    I never thought Tank Girl would be so accurate. For those who haven’t seen it, go ahead. It is good entertainment and rather accurate about post apocalyptic living.

  • 18. Charlton Heston  |  March 18th, 2009 at 6:02 am

    Ever notice how in “The Omega Man” or “28 Days Later”, people kindly park their cars neatly to leave the streets accessible to whoever’s left alive?

    In reality the streets would be clogged with car smashes. Not to mention out-of-control fires and melting down atomic and chemical plants spewing every kind of poison everywhere.

    Yeah, I’m really looking forward to be the next Charlton Heston. Even the Soylent Green won’t be edible.

  • 19. Jed Troison  |  March 19th, 2009 at 2:58 am

    One of the few times, if ever that I’d disagree with the Brecher. The Christians would probably be second to go, just before designer dogs like Lhasa Apsos'(bleeding heart liberal lefties will be picked off 1st because they won’t know an enemy from their asses).

    Evangelicals are just not made of the same stuff as the ones who warred all over Europe or their Catholic kin who were prepared to defend it by joining crusades. Too namby pamby, always think God will work out everything for the best, and they just have to sit back and wait for victory to be delivered.

    If civ collapses, you at least have to be prepared to kill to defend your patch of dirt – I could just imagine a blood or crip pretending he wants in, that he’s ready to be baptised and the bleeding hearts would blubber about the love of Jesus and open the gates. After all, isn’t that how the problems started in US? And I’m damn cert that’ll be the cause of any collapses in future. That midget dwarf in “In Bruges” was right!

  • 20. Civ III  |  March 20th, 2009 at 12:18 pm

    ‘Has chaos ever actually won?’
    Arguably, c. 1200 B.C., when just about all cities in the Middle East (except for Egypt, which held out, just barely), were burned. Some of them more than once; the survivors tried to rebuild and their enemies came back and finished the job. Civilization and literacy vanished for several centuries. And we don’t even know who did it.

  • 21. Carpenter  |  March 22nd, 2009 at 4:13 pm

    The churches would probably be part of one of two larger alliances. The first is the Government Remnant, which would be the biggest bandit gang in town. The second would be Americans who want an end to the Washington-Israel axis and its running of the world, America in particular. Ordinary Americans have an enormous amount of guns, and they have the ability to organize. We can’t foresee the names of these new organizations, but when the Second Depression is in full bloom you will see them emerging, first as armed neighborhood watch and then as larger networks.

  • 22. RC  |  March 22nd, 2009 at 7:06 pm

    Are you fucking serious? Nkunda arrested, Tamil Tigers on the ropes, the usual action in the Middle East and War Nerd is reviewing Will Smith movies? What next – Tom Clancy book reviews? C’mon War Nerd, back to the wars!!!

  • 23. RC  |  March 24th, 2009 at 12:36 am

    I assume it was my last comment that landed me in the donation screen that lacked only violin accompaniment. I’ve dutifully coughed up – no thank you note required – so let’s see the Nerd back in full flight!!!

  • 24. mombasa  |  March 28th, 2009 at 7:30 am

    gary, elementary mistake on the WW2 german army, not expected from you.

    wehrmacht was the WHOLE german military machine, not just the land army.

    that was knows as heer.

  • 25. rob  |  April 11th, 2009 at 9:52 am

    you guys need to read THE classic end times novel, “The Day of the Triffids” by John Wyndham, basically all british movies of that kind used it

  • 26. Youmakesomegoodpointsandsomenot  |  April 14th, 2009 at 11:26 pm

    You make a few good points, and some that aren’t so good.

    First of all, if water stops running entirely or they blow up the water supply in an unlikely scenario there is the lake that’s a few miles east and plenty more things to get going.

    Having been in real survival situations I can tell you, it takes one to know one.

    That being said if after the revolution this country looks remarkably different, and its still not over because Israel decides to start firing off nuclear bombs into other countries, including the USA, that will be the time I disappear into the Grand Canyon for a good while…..then hijack a plane ticket out of the country.

    How they ask. I’ll let God guide me as usual, if such a thing was reality, because I know deep down God does really exist. He’s been there all through out my life, and that’s the one thing I’m truly sure of.

    Even when others have decided he does not exist, the spirit lives on for me.

  • 27. G. Tingey  |  April 15th, 2009 at 12:09 am

    “In every battle where they faced Germans on equal terms in either of the world wars, the Brits lost.”

    I suggest you go and read some REAL history BEFORE you make a comment as stupid and uninformed as this again……..

  • 28. InActionMan IAM  |  May 2nd, 2009 at 12:07 am

    Pure genius sir!
    I used to read you in the Exile in Moscow, several years ago now, and am very happy to have found you again. Indeed, I’m so happy I’ve just ordered your book and hope it arrives before the end of the world, in which case you’ll find me reading it while gulping down Seine water with the insane.

  • 29. Central Valley Guy  |  May 7th, 2009 at 11:02 am

    Anyone who romanticizes the End of Civilization should read Cormac McCarthy’s “The Road.” It pretty much redefines bleak. A perpetual hunt for food and water while trying to avoid cannibalistic hordes and just stay alive to see another grey winter day. Nope, I’m not up for that, thank you.

  • 30. NavidsonFilm  |  May 13th, 2009 at 3:36 pm

    The apocalypse scenario is frequently a fantasy, from ‘if you were the last man on earth’, to Shaun of the Dead.

    All of the problems in Shaun’s day-to-day life are neatly, well messily, solved by a zombie outbreak.

    I guess that’s why Romero tends to favour the bleak endings, it’s a punishment for the narcissism of the apocalypse fantasy.

  • 31. Mikey  |  May 31st, 2009 at 11:18 pm

    Your house should not be used as a fort, it should be the bait for the unfriendlys, while you are 800 yards away with your Soviet Sniper Rifle or scoped 50BMG …

  • 32. j  |  June 13th, 2009 at 9:22 am

    Worry will be the last of your worries should the State stop working in Southern California. You have reservoirs enought supply drinking water for years. When water extraction for the aquifer stops, its level increases and suddenly you have springs starting to flow in depressions. Irrigated agriculture will have stop, but drinking water supply will never be a problem.

    On the other hand, the apocaliptic scenatio is extremely unlike. Anglosaxon people are not like that. In the thousand year history of Anglosaxon people in Great Britain, public order never broke down. Wars, hunger, epidemies, revolutions, whatever. Anglo saxon people is genetically programmed to form ordered societies in no time. The Black Death killed half of the population in a few years, yet rents were paid, the government governed, agricultural production decreased only slightly. Italians left everything and orgied (Bocaccio), but Englishmen kept did nothing of the sort but kept paying their taxes. There never was a Kathrina like situation in any place populated by Anglosaxons. If deep down you feel that you it is dangerous to for you to lose your fatty bodily reserves, because you may starve, I assure you that you can safely lose weight as there will be no famine in Southern California, nor fighting for drinking water.

  • 33. Jonty City  |  July 3rd, 2009 at 3:29 pm

    Don’t think I don’t know who you’re talking about:

    http://jontycity.blogspot.com/2009/07/war-nerd-you-jerk.html

  • 34. M Otis Beard  |  July 10th, 2009 at 8:19 am

    Like just about everyone else (including most zombie flick aficionados), War Nerd misses the point of wishing for the zombie apocalypse. Inheriting the shopping mall is secondary; the real allure of the zombie apocalypse is purely metaphorical: The survivors are the weirdos, the misfits, the people just like Gary Brecher, and the zombies are the normal people, the status quo, the jocks and the churchgoing and the people who buy Miley Cyrus CDs. If you’re a weirdo with style, the normals want to make a product out of you and consume you. If you’re just a garden-variety weirdo, the normals want to infect you with their normalcy and turn you into them. Weirdos dream of being zombie apocalypse survivors because that would bring them the consequence-free environment in which their fondest dream could be lived out: the dream of shooting all those irritating normal assholes in the head.

  • 35. Longchange  |  May 4th, 2010 at 1:55 pm

    Somebody Stealing ideas from Brecher? He should get a royalty. Maybe then he’ll write another goddam article!

    http://rutgerspress.rutgers.edu/acatalog/Apocalypse_Never.html

  • 36. Jimbo  |  May 14th, 2010 at 6:41 pm

    “if it all came down. It’d come down to dull stuff that nobody wants to think about, like organization.”

    War Nerd, seems like you’ve done all your research using the space capsule survivalist sources. I’d humbly suggest you check out Jack Spirko’s http://www.thesurvivalpodcast.com

    For m’self, survivalism is a life style that keeps me from being dependent on our economic system that can be interrupted by natural disaster, civil disturbance, pandemic and etc. I’m not optimistic about our fiat & fractional reserve induced implosion, but I don’t see things going Mad Max, either. Having the skill sets that survivalist life style encourages will make this crappy economy a bit more bearable.
    My threat matrix is:
    1. Natural disaster or weather induced problems. I live up north, it is conceivable that a snow storm could shut down food delivery. I have enough grub & necessities on hand to make this a minor inconvenience.
    2. Pandemic. Sooner or later, mother nature will bitch slap us with some sort of disease that could cause quarantine to be imposed. Again, I have enough stuff on hand to wait this out.
    3. Civil disturbance. My main concern about this is to simply get home. My vehicle is road ready and I have alternative routes to get back to the hacienda.
    4. The economy going down the toilet. We grow most of our own food, very good on our budget.
    -10,000 on my threat matrix: I gotta git mah AR-15 out and shoot dem black helicopters and martians! I just don’t see this happening, too much fun for a redneck like m’self.

  • 37. wes george  |  July 13th, 2010 at 12:12 am

    The Mad Max scenario may be unlikely, but it certainly has happened many, many times in the past. So has the lone-family holding-out-in-the-wilderness…

    What is required is simply between 60 to 99% of the population dying off. Gary notes that this would occur in So Cal if the power/water was turned off. Such a civil collapse would probably also cause massive pandemics in the population, much like the ones that took out various indigenous populations, who had no immunity to white man diseases, when they first encountered Europeans. We have become a pampered people who would die in a New York minute if we had to drink the same quality of water they do in the Sudan without immediate 911 medical care available.

    The Mad Max scenario is basically an existential narrative played out in a depopulated landscape. This occurred in parts of Europe several times, but most recently just after the Black Plague when whole regions were so depopulated that in some cases farmland returned to forests and formerly great manor houses were occupied by peasant survivors. The idea of lifetime shopping sprees in abandoned malls has real historical parallels.

    The collapse of Roman civil society in places wasn’t a simple transition to barbarian rule. Just like a So Cal civil collapse would wipe out most of the clueless and pampered population without the need for an invasion, the collapse of Roman civil infrastructure led to the depopulation of many cities and rural outposts due to Malaria, starvation or simply because the aquifers and food trades no longer delivered.

    Not every city or region the Mongols razed they occupied. Whole cities were massacred and plundered overnight and then the Mongols moved on. Surely, a few lucky? souls climbed out from beneath the piles of bodies to live on in the ruins…

    Similar scenes occurred after the rapid collapse of the Mayan empire where great cities were wiped out almost overnight in an orgy of insane societal suicide of mass slaughter, starvation and disease. The few survivors who returned to the ruins of Tikal and other monumental cities lived to watch the jungle eventually swallow the dead civilization whole.

    Then there is the mysterious Akkadian collapse circa 4000 ago. Little is known about this end of the world for Sumer, other than it happened in less than 5 years and almost nobody survived.

    And there is Easter Island….heck, I could go on and on. But you get the idea. Apocalypse Later is always in the cards and for, say, one in a million, it would fucking rock…that is if you saved a girl and maybe a loyal dog.

    Hope and change!

  • 38. Loser on the Loose  |  July 31st, 2010 at 7:02 pm

    Wow, the above post took the words right out of my mouth, as if I could express myself as well.

    Mr. War Nerd, please don’t dash my hopes for a societal Mad Max. If I’m ever convinced that it’s not gonna happen I would have nothing to look forward to.

  • 39. Molestus DesChevres  |  August 8th, 2010 at 4:52 am

    An interesting, but sadly incomplete picture of ‘Medieval America’ here.

    http://users.erols.com/mwhite28/medvam/index.htm

    Film suggestion for TEOTWAWKI fans: ‘Threads’, available on Google Video.


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