Meet the Doomsayer: The National Geographic Channel

The History Channel and the Christian Broadcast Network are not the only doomsaying channels. Following the money, National Geographic is doing a whole day of fear and destruction. Here is a small sampling of Saturday, October 9, 2010:

10:00am Explorer: Electronic Armageddon; The effects of a high-altitude magnetic pulse could have on infrastructure  by destroying the electronic grid.

11:00 am Naked Science: Polar Apocalypse; Cimate change affects sea levels.

12:00pm Aftermath: When the Earth Stops Spinning; Humans strugle to survive as the planet ceases to turn, throwing the climate, oceans and atmosphere into chaos.

1:00pm Aftermath: Swallowed by the Sun; The Sun ages and the world struggles to survive.

2:00pm Aftermath: Population Zero; Envisioning what Earth would be like if all 6.6 billion humans suddenly disappeared.

3:00pm Doomsday: Book of Revelation; Bible scholars and theologians help present a depiction of the Apocalypse.

4:00pm 2012: Countdown to Armageddon; A Princeton geologist travels the globe to decipher an ancient Mayan prophecy that predicts the end of the world.

5:00pm Nazi Mystery: Twins From Brazil; A town filled with blond-haired, blue-eyed twins deep in the Brazilian outback may be the result of efforts made by infamous Nazi war criminal Josef Mengele.

We'll be watching these programs with great interest. We want to see if we got it right. At Boys Books we are about to publish The Boys Book of Armageddon and I want to get the facts right. It is in the editor's hands, so we only have a few days before we go into print production mode.

Despite the eminent book publishing, we are quite interested in the National Geographic's doomsaying.

What about the sponsors? Kohler, the faucet makers, are hawking a really cool carbon fiber kitchen faucet. The Hyundai car company is pushing their Sonata. Despite no pushing their cars. Yellow Pages, yes Yellow Pages, are pushing http://YellowPages.com site. our list is rounded out with Di Giorno, makers of frozen pizza, and Travelers insurance. There are others, but we will stick with these.

Oddly these three are sponsors during the show Explorer: Electronic Armageddon. This is odd because none of these products will be useable after an electronic Armageddon. Internet is dead, car electronics are destroyed, and faucets don't work unless there is electricity to run our water pumps. Seems a little odd to us that these companies would sponsor a show about the end of the world.

We don't understand much of the economics of sponsored doomsaying. For the most part, they are getting it all wrong. Where are the freeze dried food companies, the abandoned missile silo real estate salesmen, and what about guns and ammo? I'm not going to be interested in a new car with 2012 right around the corner (unless we get the lease and that's free money when the world ends). Faucets seem silly unless they are fitted on a rain barrel with a radiation filter. Frozen pizza is fine, but only for the first couple of days as you can't keep it frozen.

The only guys that got it half right were the Yellow Pages. They showed a guy looking for classic car parts. Perhaps the understand that an old car without the fancy electronics will survive an electronic magnetic pulse.

Travelers, the insurance company, also gets a couple of points for effort. Their tagline is, "Take the scary out of life." They run this same commercial for other gloomy television programs. We seem them a lot during the History Channel's sweeps week when they too are pushing the end of the world. But imagine the problem, your car gets totaled by a meteorite, electronics fried from a solar flair, or eaten by demon. Is the Travelers company going to still be there to pay the claim?

Back to the programming. National Geographic seemed like a very science-oriented organization. But Bible and Mayan doomsaying seems a little beyond their charter. We are ok with the Sun going Nova, Russians exploding bombs in the atmosphere, the Earth not spinning, and humans vanishing. 2012 and the Bible seem out of place for a company that brought us through puberty with pictures of naked Africans (and why did they never cover naked University of Berkley students too).

As much fun as all this writing is, we need to get back to watching the doom and gloom. We have set the Tivo to record the episodes on Nazi twins and 2012. Sorry, by the playoffs with the Texas Rangers is far more important to us. Should they loose, there will be rioting in the streets and civilization is truly doomed. Everyone know that the Tampa Bay Rays are the Antichrist.

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