Let's Talk 2000

"The heartbeat of 2000 A.D. from cyberspace"

August 1, 1997, Volume 3, Issue 9, a bi-weekly bulletin

Topics covered in this issue:

The Millennium Doctor Speaks
News from the Field: Talk from the Forum: New Millennial Sites: Contact Information

The Millennium Doctor Speaks:
"Taking the pulse of 2000 A.D."

Two weeks ago I traveled to San Francisco to address the World Future Society http://www.wfs.org/wfs on how the millennial star of 2000 is taking millions beyond human understanding.

While most futurists now take a "beyond 2000" view of change and societal transformation, the subject of the millennium repeatedly came up in workshops, such as: "The Myths of the Millennium," by Stanley Krippner of the Saybrook Institute.

Speaking of overaching societal myths, Peter Schwartz opened the conference with a dazzling visualized address called "The Long Boom." He projects over the next 25 years a new ethos of societal openess combined with fundamental technological change (personal computers, telecommunications, biotechnology, nanotechnology and alternative energy) will create a global economic boom on a scale never before experienced.

Schwartz's address, which also appeared in Wired Magzine recently, is a must read http://www.wired.com/wired/5.07/longboom.html if you are interested in how the prevailing myth of the West, "The Great March of Progress," might fare against counter myths, both apocalyptic or utopian, as we enter the 21st century.

Next year's World Future Society conference is entitled, "FutureQuest: Strategies for a New Millennium," July 19-21, 1998, in Chicago. Mark your calendar.

News from the Field:
"Here is the latest news on year 2000 efforts."

Millennium Celebrations Inc. m2000celeb@aol.com of Chicago has just released a Millennium Time Capsule™ which allows personal or family legacy items to be sealed and stored against the elements "for decades, if not for another millennium." The kit retails for $59.95.

In a bid to reach the consumer market, the time capsule is created from commercial grade PVC material and offers an effective alternative to more expensive manufactured metal containers. When assembled the cylinder is 14 inches in length by 3 in diameter. The kit also comes with full instructions, certificates of origin and adhesive to assure a water-tight seal.

Recommend memorabilia to archive includes photographs, audio or video on zip drives, biographies of your immediate family and you expectations or aspirations for the next 20 to 50 years.

Millennium Celebrations, Inc. was formed in 1994 to help people create their own One Magic Moment™ in time. To learn more about the MTC2000™ kit, or how to send "a message to the future" check out the millennial site: http://www.2000celebration.com

Vatican City--The Great Jubilee 2000 Committee joined its Roman counterpart earlier this week to present their joint plans to welcome pilgrims to Rome during the year 2000.

According to statistics just released, church and city officials expect 21.2 million visitors in Rome and the Vatican for the year 2000. This is more than double the present peak of 10 million tourists who visit Rome each year.

By the Jubilee Year, officials expect a capacity of 200,000 beds each day through various hotels, boarding houses and religious institutes.

Luigi Zanda of the Roman Jubilee Agency pointed out that "there are only 879 days until the opening of the Jubilee." He outlined areas of cooperation between the Vatican and Rome, including the establishment of information centers for pilgrims, joint projects for security, health and other critical areas, such as training volunteers.

In conclusion, Archbishop Sebastiani emphasized that the Jubilee goes beyond religious tourism, "it is a matter of true and proper pilgrimage. It is a religious act." The Catholic tradition of celebrating a century's end as a Holy Year began 700 years ago. Source: VIS via CINJUB.

Talk from the Forum:
"Here is a recap of recent conversations"

On June 30th, Dereck Daschke posted to Talk 2000 a review of the playful book, Apocalypse Wow!: A Memoir for the End of Time (Simon & Schuster, 1997, ISBN: 0-684-83649-1), by James Finn Garner. Garner is the author of the multi-million-copy selling Politically Correct Bedtime Stories. In this book, he focuses his gift of satire and crystalline wit on the approaching millennium. Here is Daschke's review:

Shortly after a brief mention of Garner's new book on this list, I had the good fortune to catch him at a personal appearance in Chicago. I agree with Jay: This book and Garner's type of humor is sorely needed in our day-to-day hashing out of millennial events and their portents.

Apocalypse Wow! is successful on two levels. First, and most important, it is as funny as all get out. (It's as good as a Dave Barry book, which for me is among the highest of literary praise.) In the introduction he offers a "Doomsday Final Exam" to "Test Your End-Times IQ!!" As options to the question, "What are the names of the Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse?" he offers:

a. War, Famine, Pestilence, and Death
b. John, Paul, George, and Ringo
c. Plague, Strife, Starvation, and Arsenio
d. Manny, Moe, Jack, and Death
(The answer is, of course, "d".)

As in any good satire, where he is reporting the facts as they are and where he's making up stuff as it could be is not always obvious. In his chapter on the 11th century Irish bishop St. Malachy, who had a vision of all the future popes, each with his own identifying motto, Garner "reproduces" the epitaph that Malachy envisioned. These pithy phrases, the author says, are "the equivalent of reading descriptions in a high school yearbook ("Pope with the Sunniest Smile," "Pope Most Likely to Succeed," "Homecoming Pope," etc.).

"The predictions for the 20th-century popes are stunningly accurate," writes Garner. "The motto for Pius XI, who cut a deal with Mussolini and was given the area of Vatican City in return, was 'Fides Intrepida' -- 'Start printing postage stamps.'"

What's of interest to millennialists is that the list seems to end two Popes after the current one. Unless it is the current one. Or, as Garner says throughout the book to sum up a confusing or contradictory set of ideas, something like that. Or not. Garner's approach to his material, as he stated in his personal appearance, is to believe everything he reads.

It's cheaper, easier, and quicker than getting a Divinity degree (something I should have thought of six years ago), and the new millennium is only a few years off. To paraphrase Paul Ricoeur's "hermeneutics of suspicion," Garner practices the "hermeneutics of gullibility".

Practically speaking, however, this attitude allows his book to be successful not just as a humorous "look at life at the end of the millennium" but also as a concise, incisive guide to millenarian thinking.

He manages to summarize, historicize, and critique pretty much every figure, group, text, and idea that factors into millennial consciousness at this point. In less than 200 pages, he covers the year 999, UFOs, the Bible, talk radio, the papacy, Nostradamus, the New Age, astrology and other types of divination, Jehovah's Witnesses, Edward Cayce, pyramids, and MUCH MUCH MORE!.

Cleverly, he explores many of these as he "documents" his own personal journey in seeking out millennial insights by these tried-and-true phenomena, including having his Tarot read with a "90210" deck and keeping a channeling journal, in which, at one point, he channels a scene from "Gone with the Wind" as Butterfly McQueen.

While laying out the basic millenarian argument behind any of the above, he will also slyly point out glaring errors in its claims to historical accuracy, uniqueness, or obvious significance. For example, regarding the story of Europeans on New Year's, 999a.d. gathering to watch the clocks on the church towers chime midnight and, presumably, the End of Time, Garner asks, "Could . . . the faithful watch the clock on the church steeple tick off to midnight if the first mechanical clocks weren't invented until the late 13th century? And which New Year's Eve would people be celebrating, anyway?"

He goes on to list different New Year's markers for Rome, Florence, Venice, France, England (for which there were three options), the Eastern Empire (two), and Armenia. But for religious and, as Garner himself acknowledges, current commercial concerns, why quibble about history when there's so much to look forward to in the future? Or something like that. Or not.

Apocalypse Wow! is smart, delightful, and well-researched from, well, Beginning to End. It's a perfect forum for the author of Politically Correct Bedtime Stories. Part of the fun is the gonzo illustrations and asides peppering the book, including the running experimentation with anagrams on the names in the book. If I have any complaint on this piece of work, it is this: He beat me to it.

New Millennial Sites:
"Here are new sites in cyberspace"

THE MILLENNIUM COMMISSION: Helping U.K. celebrate the millennium
Supported by the national U.K. lottery, the Millennium Commission has awarded more than 508 million sterling pounds to various landmark projects in the U.K. to celebrate the start of the third millennium. The Millennium Commission Web Site gives information on the capitol projects supported by the Commission and insights into the national millennium experience.

[Charles Cameron writes:] The Truly Dangerous Company website drew a lot of attention when it hosted this expert critique of the "Alien Autopsy" movie by a special effects wizard. The site includes "How To Make An Alien: The step-by-step handbook" -- which was reprinted by both The Skeptical Inquirer and UFO Times! -- "Autopsy Bleeps and Blunders", "Autopsy Face-Off: Dueling Alien Autopsies!", a "Faked-Or-Fiction FAQ", and more.

Contact Information:
"Your link to the third millennium"

Talk 2000 Forum Home Page: http://hcol.humberc.on.ca/talk2000.htm
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Submissions of newsworthy items: 2000ad-l@usc.edu
Editor: talk2000@rmii.com
Jay Gary, aka The Millennium Doctor
author, The Star of 2000
(719) 636-2000 Phone
Publication keywords: media, events, millennium
This issue of "Let's Talk 2000" is copyright © 1997 by Bimillennial Press, Inc.
All rights reserved. LET'S TALK 2000 is a trademark of Bimillennial Press.