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The End of the World as We Know It as Entertainment

Avatar for Gaye Levy Gaye Levy  |  Updated: November 24, 2020
The End of the World as We Know It as Entertainment

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A few days ago, a Backdoor Survival reader asked “If you had some way of knowing that a SHTF situation would happen in the next few days, what would you do to prepare right away? What would be your biggest priority, especially with so much to consider?”

After thinking about my own answer, I put it this question out to Facebook and within a few hours had over eighty responses.  Interestingly enough, something that came through loud and clear over and over again was the need to get in touch with family members and to convince them to join their prepping relatives someplace safe.


The Apocalypse – Albert Goodwin

My own response was this:

My own priority will be calling my family in the Seattle area and begging them to hit the road and come to my place. They have not prepared at all so I have kept that in mind with my own preps. My home is small (only one bedroom) but I have sleeping bags and a couch. We would make do.

Clearly, I had found a thread of common ground among us.  But even more than that, it was obvious to me that in spite of our government and the media’s efforts to convince us to prepare, preppers are still a minority.

How could that be?  The writing, as far as I am concerned, is on the wall in bright, bold print.


There is no need to wait for the end of the world as we know it because it is already here,  As a matter of fact, you rarely see the acronym TEOTWAWKI in print anymore.

Here are just a few indicators that “the good old days” are gone:

  • The entire world is in a major recession if not a depression.
  • World manufacturing is down and unemployment is rampant.
  • In the United States alone, we have a 17 trillion dollar deficit and no plan and no way to dig out.
  • Politicians are playing their partisan games, extracting benefits and perks for themselves while taxing the populace to death.
  • Large corporations such as Monsanto are either buying up family farms or running them out of business.

None of this is doomsday.  It is reality.

This is not the world I remember in the 70s, 80s, and 90s.  Sure there were problems back then; banks failed, the stock market crashed and people lost their jobs.  But in each case, there was a a plan to dig out and a gradual but steady recovery. Citizens were patriotic and were willing to sacrifice and to work hard to restore economic stability to their country.

Not so these days.  Civil liberties are being challenged, personal privacy has become a thing of the past and people at all economic levels are fearful.  So why is it that more people not joining the prepper movement?  And is there anything we can do to convince them?


I was recently contacted by Nat Geo TV and asked to comment on the role of both TV and the film industry in fostering preparedness.  After all, anyone who has access to a television or movies has surely noticed the proliferation of disaster and doomsday-type shows and films.

My feelings on the role of TV and movies on the prepper movement are mixed.

On the one hand, I have always loved apocalyptic movies, Starting way back when with On the Beach and later The Trigger Effect, The Road, Independence Day and 2012, I was hooked.   Each of these films were entertaining for sure.  But more than that, I now realize that they were instrumental in motivating me to consider the possibility that a disaster could happen to me and not just to someone else.  You might say the the proverbial light bulb went off while watching these films.

More recently we have movies such as World War Z and The Book of Eli as well as “what if” TV shows such as Under the Dome, Jericho and Revolution depicting apocalyptic situations.  We also have reality shows such as the hugely popular Doomsday Preppers.

In my opinion, these shows are a blessing and a curse.  On the one hand, they depict catastrophic situations and the human dynamic that contribute to their resolution, for better or for worse.  On the other hand, situations that are serious are portrayed as entertainment, something to watch for instant gratification and then discarded in favor of the next item in the playlist.


As I wrote in Weighing in on the Doomsday Preppers, the participants in the initial episodes of the Doomsday Prepper series were portrayed as extremists. It is not that what they were doing that was so bizarre, but that each family appeared to be laser focused on some future apocalypse to the exclusion of living a joyful life in the present.

I am happy to say that currently, you will see participants that have more balance both in their daily life and in their preparations.  This, in my opinion, will open up the genre as prepping preparing themselves.

Reality shows have the potential of educating a huge segment of our population about both the need to acquire self-sufficiency skills and the requirement to store food, water and supplies for an emergency.  Whether they succeed or not will depend upon the show and its real-life depiction of practical strategies that can be accomplished by everyday families living in both the cities and suburbs as well as the country.

Eliminate the extreme and focus on everyday reality rather than Hollywood and these types of shows will shine.


Without sounding like a commercial, I am looking forward to watching the American Blackout later this month. This two hour film imagines life in the days immediately following a blackout and more specifically, from an EMP cyber-attack. I like that it will include an analysis  of the challenges that we would face if such an event really happened and all indications are that the scenarios will be well-researched and credible.  Of course I won’t know for sure until I see it.

You know and I know that being prepared is a necessity during these troubled times.  If apocalyptic TV shows and films convince just one more person to take their head out of the sand and become a prepper, I will be happy.

Enjoy your next adventure through common sense and thoughtful preparation!

If you have not done so already, please be sure to like Facebook which is updated every time there is an awesome new article, news byte, or link to a free survival, prepping or homesteading book on Amazon.  You can also follow Backdoor Survival on Pinterest.

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15 Responses to “The End of the World as We Know It as Entertainment”

  1. so, i tried to post and was denied, said my ip was blocked. so am trying again.
    I thought more about what would I would try to get. was food and lots of gas. Yes, family is important and I’ve had this conversation with them all. most know what is coming, but others shunned me when I tried to warn them, sighting the obvious. All I can do is try to have extra on hand in case they wake up, but will plead with them if I have any idea if something is happening. The republicans, tea partyers arent the only ones to blame. it’s the pregressive movement that has been in motion for decades, only now with our current potus being a non-negotiator and proclaiming fundamental transformation of this country and watching his actions and legislation he has passed, is treasonous in itself… and no one is stopping them. I dont know for certain what will happen, but reading about what many european countries have been going through, gives me an idea. all of those countries who defaulted have imposed serious austerity measures on the populace, and froze their bank accounts. remember Cyprus,? that wasnt so long ago. whats different here is that we, U.S. prints our own money, and we dominate the world reserve currency as well, that will eventually change, and it will hurt the populace. With so many things happening, obabamcare(total control of us) the Fukishima fallout and radiation on our shores and fisherman from all up and down the western seaboard reporting deformaties is sea life. purposeful inflation of our economic bubble, will burst again at some point. weird, record setting weather worldwide, almost 100,000 head of cattle were killed in last weekend’s 5′ snow storm in South Dakota. Monsanto paying the USDA,FDA in order to look the other way while everything and everyone is continuously being poisoned, bees dying in record numbers. I think we are in for food, gas inflation like nothing we’ve ever seen, not my generation anyway. and of course our new Fed chairwoman was in denial when the housing bubble hit, and will be in denial when the next one hits, and will more than likely keep printing more money. we’re in a mudslide slowly creeping down hill, towards serious inflation, that I’m sure of.

  2. I’m the sort that believes the whole purpose of the films, television programs and reality shows related to apocalyptic scenarios is the Government’s way of telling us “It’s going to happen.” without saying “It’s going to happen.”… Of course, that’s just me

  3. Red state Survivor. Those little cut out do-dad in the pavement that you run over to let the red light know you are there to turn left and to give you the green arrow. These operate on the principal of EMP. If you look at any bottle neck on any interstate highway. where anyone traveling a long distance, like where two of more highways come together, or a bridge crossing a large river, you will also see these cut outs beside a solar panel. Conspiracy people say these are controlled by satellite to give the computer module in your car, an EMP to stop it. I have seen documentaries on TV where they now have the ability for the police to shoot an EMP at your auto as you travel down the road to stop you, but they think it is to dangerous to completely stop your vehicle. With no power, you lose power steering and power brakes. Your out of control car could cause havoc on the road.
    So to answer your question of whether or not EMP weapons exit, yes Virginia, there is a Santa Clause.

  4. Back in the early 1960s, an English writer named Nevil Shute wrote a book called ON THE BEACH. (Hollywierd made a flick out of it, but the book is worth the read). I would be very much obliged if one of you would give a copy of that book to Barak Obongo, and ask him to read it!
    Failing that, I am recommending another book for Ya. It is called A CANTICLE FOR LEIBOWITZ, (written by Walter M. Miller Jr.
    Brother Francis Gerard of Utah, might never have discovered the blessed documents, had it not been for the pilgrim with girded loins who appeared during that young novice’s Lenten fast in the desert.
    Hell- you can even learn some Latin in the process…………

    • I agree: Canticle for Leibowitz is a wonderful read.

      Another classic is Malevil by Robert Merle, set in France after a nuclear war. It is interesting in part because the French look at post war renewal as a return to their idealized collectivist past, rather than American novels which look to individuals pulling together.

  5. Gaye asked, “How could that be? The writing, as far as I am concerned, is on the wall in bright, bold print.”

    The response I get is: because they are ok with being, “Fat, dumb and happy.”

    In other-words, they’re ok with being in Dreamtime. They might even be saying, please don’t wake them up.

    Gaye was asked, “comment on the role of both TV and the film industry in fostering preparedness.”

    I thought of this bit:

    Staging the news and staging reality are the same thing


    Also, Red State Survival asked, “While EMP weapons certainly are real, I’m not sure one has ever been used or tested to large scale success, so I’m not entirely worried about that (Correct me if I’m wrong).”

    I wonder if that’s how the Japanese felt about atomic bombs once?

    Kathryn asked, “let me know if I’m over-reacting.”

    I think, maybe so. Consider this:

    Étienne de la Boetie. To him, the great mystery of politics was obedience to rulers. Why in the world do people agree to be looted and otherwise oppressed by government overlords? It is not just fear, Boetie explains in “The Discourse on Voluntary Servitude,” for our consent is required. And that consent can be non-violently withdrawn.

    Resolve to serve no more, and you are at once freed. I do not ask that you place hands upon the tyrant to topple him over, but simply that you support him no longer; then you will behold him, like a great Colossus whose pedestal has been pulled away, fall of his own weight and break in pieces.

  6. As a personal and professional “prepper” I have been in this mindset for years. I started watching these types of movies as a youngster and always had these scenarios, and what was needed to mitigate them, in my mind since then. I have watched some of these latter offerings with a combination of humor and interest. Once they cross the threshold into the “supernatural” I am no longer interested. The “prepper” TV shows are pure entertainment in my opinion. I do see a lot of what NOT to do, first and foremost is showing their stores and plans on national TV! Secondly, these poor pilgrims that stock up on years worth of food that is ripe for either becoming outdated and dangerous, or a feast for vermin. The one thing I do see of value in these entertainment offerings is their being a vehicle to begin thinking about preparedness. Some of us take steps to prepare for long term scenarios because we have thought about these things for a longer time. Others are just beginning to put 2&2 together and have a lot of catching up to do. Getting started is the biggest accomplishment, the rest is just details. Getting others started could be the best outcome for any of the aforementioned entertainments.

  7. I have never seen panic in the year zero.. but I will.. my favorite one is 2012 it has a little bit of everything in it.. the tv show survivors about a national outbreak of a deadly flu is one of my favorite shows to bad it only lasted for two seasons. but I do love more than one end of the world movie.. The idea of preparing isn’t for an end of the world scenario.. take a look at those loved ones that went through the depression.. each and everyone of them had set aside what they didn’t have during those times of hardship. for each it could be different. from food for a snow storm to money for bills in case of a loss of a job.. having a kit and making a plan is just good common sense.
    I do wonder what the people in power are expecting though.. they have been pushing pretty hard for everyone to get on board with a plan of some sort. getting the family on board is a major problem seems most don’t see the threats ahead..

  8. It’s mind boggling what is going on in the world and more important, here in the United States
    Republican Congress has gone mad. Tea Party has all but taken over…saying that Mr Cantor has exclusive decision about the ” shutdown”. This legislation was quietly passed ( like that’s a new thing ). The Congressman, Van Hollen clarifying the confirmation of this, is on video….in facebook. Please take a look and let me know if I’m over-reacting. Members of the Congress are not allowed to vote. House Majority Leader or someone he designates ( not Boehner ), has exclusive decision privileges.
    If I have to max my credit card out…..I’m going to prep faster. Not being that irresponsible yet, but I see it on the horizon.

  9. If we are going to talk about movies that make you think.. Try “Panic in the year zero”. I saw this when I was a youngster. I have searched for it for years, and now I have found it. It is out on DVD, black and white. If you are on the fence as to whether or not you could kill to protect your family, this is your movie. Ray Milland. Header, morality vs mortality.

    • “Panic in the year Zero”
      The full film is free on YouTube.

    • Thanks for telling me I wasted all that money for the DVD. Where were you 8 months ago. I would think since both of us are talking about it, all of Gaye’s readers should watch it and decide if your going to hold your fire, or shoot….

    • I did see that while I was dong a search yesterday. The resolution is not great but that may have more to do with the age of the movie itself. I also tried searching my public library’s database but they did not have this film in their inventory.

  10. Excellent thoughts. Our families are several hours away, too. As for movies, there was an interesting one in the late ’90’s called “The Trigger Effect” which showed what might happen in the aftermath of a major blackout.

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