As of 23 January 2023, Pecking University researchers published their findings that Earth’s “inner-core has recently paused via Nature Geoscience. While this doesn’t indicate an impending doomsday, it does make you consider the possibility. Severe natural disasters highlight how fragile and at-risk human life can be. When “acts of God” occur, we do our best to rebuild and recover.
As depicted in primetime “copaganda” like Chicago Fire or 911, people come together to save society from life-threatening experiences. In blockbusters like I Am Legend and A Quiet Place, we watch individuals doing everything under the sun to stay alive.
Take the latest HBO favourite, The Last Of Us for further evidence. When we’re not thirsting over Pedro Pascal's public appearances or reminiscing over seeing Bella Ramsey on our screens after “The Long Night”, we watch these two actors surviving a supernatural “end-of-days” America as Joel and Ellie (respectively).
A biological challenge to world order is nothing new, even in film and television. World War Z perfectly illustrated humanity descending into being a zombie due to a viral infection. The Last of Us illustrates the same with a dangerous fungal infection.
Granted, a fungal infection turning people into zombies is certainly fictitious, but the dangers of a fungal infection are not.
In January 2023, Duke University researchers summarize that “raised temperatures cause a pathogenic fungus known as Cryptococcus deneoformans to turn its adaptive responses into overdrive. Heat increases its number of genetic changes, some of which might presumably lead to higher heat resistance, and others perhaps toward greater disease-causing potential.”
All of which begs the question, is living through an apocalypse really the motive? Perseverance is a brilliant quality to have as a human being, but when is it okay to call it quits? For cancer patients with a terminal illness, it’s understood that at some point palliative care is the only available option. But the same patients are often berated for opting out of treatment programs to preserve their quality of life. A cinematic example of this is My Sister’s Keeper.
But what about women? Hate her all you want, but Game Of Thrones Queen, Cersei Lannister adequately prepared Sansa for the realities to come if they lost the Battle Of The Blackwater.
Cersei says, “Do you have any notion of what happens when a city is sacked? No, you wouldn't, would you? If the city falls, these fine women should be in for a bit of a rape. Half of them will have bastards in their bellies come the morning. You'll be glad of your red flower then. When a man's blood is up, anything with tits looks good. A precious thing like you will look very, very good. A slice of cake just waiting to be eaten.”
That is the reality of women living through war and battle in George R R Martin’s fictional Westeros. Life really mirrors art identically in this instance because the women carrying the children of UN Peacekeepers or Boko Haram terrorists would have similar accounts of life.
During dangerous and unstable times, we must watch out for despicable people who seek power and subjugate others. We see this perfectly with leaders in The Handmaid’s Tale forcing women to bear children to “save” humanity.
In The Last Of Us, we watch Joel trek across the United States to save Ellie for the sole purpose of using her DNA to create a vaccine for the deadly Cordyceps fungus infection. If women are the spoils of war or the catalyst to saving humanity, if subjugation is what women and girls have to look forward to — it seems as if society would do anything to get us, even if that means destroying our lives.
So again, what about women and girls? Before we discuss the futures of others, of the weak, or the needy, of the frail, of any other group, what about women and girls in the event of doomsday?
Simply put, living through apocalyptic events just doesn’t seem like the motive with these odds. Am I going to watch the content, scream at the screen and cry for my favorite characters? Of course! However, I’m not getting my hopes up to survive the apocalypse, because if a virus doesn’t take me out, a man will.