Article

Millennium, Apocalypse, and American Popular Culture

Douglas E. Cowan

in The Oxford Handbook of Millennialism

Published in print October 2011 | ISBN: 9780195301052
Published online January 2012 | | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/oxfordhb/9780195301052.003.0031

Series: Oxford Handbooks

 Millennium, Apocalypse, and American Popular Culture

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This article deals with predominant trends in the construction of apocalyptic visions in the West. Americans being the best at absorbing and reacting to simulated perceptions of apocalypse, the USA became the hub of apocalyptic pop culture, which has now spawned out myriad genres in content and narratives. An overlapping of communicating medium—using means of communicating public information to serve fictitious content—can substantially influence and trap the convictions of the masses. Apocalyptic themes range from alien encounters to planetary escape, to destruction of doomsday courtesy, natural calamity, and alien interference, and even to destructive self. It is difficult to touch upon an exact source of fear generation but it seems that the coveted effect is to instill a kind of hope amid very real, objective prospects of the same being lost. It inspires the theme of salvation from imminent apocalypse by supernatural/superhuman means.

Keywords: apocalyptic visions; American culture; apocalyptic pop culture; doomsday; apocalyptic themes; fear generation

Article.  8107 words. 

Subjects: Religion ; Philosophy of Religion ; Religious Studies ; Religious Subjects in Art

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