Letters from TZ

Are we still here?

According to Mayan mythology, philosophy, prophecy or whatever it was, the world should have ended on 21:12:12. And apparently, when you do the math, the date has significant numerological significance. Numerology is the branch of knowledge that deals with the occult significance of numbers. So. When you work the numbers in a numerological fashion you find that 21:12:12 can also be represented as the number 9. The number 9 represents completion. Well, according to various online sources at least. The logic would be that 9=completion=the end of something. In our case, the end of the world. Or as many have argued, the end the ‘age’.

Many believe that we are transitioning from the astrological age of Pisces into the Age of Aquarius. These kinds of transitions happen every 2000 years, give or take a few. Some say the Piscean age began with the ministry of Jesus (think about His frequent use of the fish analogy). That age is said to have been characterised by blind faith. The Age of Aquarius is supposed to be the age of the intellectual, not the believer. If you’re a conspiracy theorist, you might argue that we’re moving from salvation to damnation – from spiritual enlightenment to scientific ‘illumination’.

But whichever way you look at it, if you’re reading this, then clearly, the four horses of the apocalypse were not set loose last Friday. The world did not end. If indeed it was the end of the age, I guess only time will tell what changes will come.

A shot in the head

America’s Centre for Disease Control and Prevention is reporting that more than 30 000 Americans die from gun related trauma every year, costing their economy tens of billions of dollars. And yet many Americans still stand by their constitutional right to bear arms. Pro-gun advocates have long argued that guns don’t kill people – people kill people. That may well be, but it’s hard to imagine a lone knife-man, stabbing 20 children and 6 adults to death. If Adam Lanza hadn’t had access to guns, killing those 26 people at the Sandy Hook Elementary school in the US last week, would have been quite a feat.

The fact of the matter is that guns make it easier to take life. And in a culture where the entertainment industry glorifies violence and clueless celebrities use guns as some kind of twisted metaphor (Madonna claimed her gun-toting MDNA tour a unique form of artistic expression that was designed to push the boundaries – incidentally, it was the highest grossing tour of 2012), it’s no wonder that the line between fantasy and reality has been blurred.

Consider this: A reviewer for the Huffington Post has described Tom Cruise’s latest movie – Jack Reacher – as a good movie with horrible timing. “The idea of watching a movie in which a sniper methodically crafts his own bullets, practices weekly at a gun range, then waits quietly in an empty parking garage before shooting five people dead may not sound like the most appealing form of entertainment during these tragic days,” Christy Lemire writes.

One would imagine that a movie which uses violence as it’s primary premise, no matter how clever the script, and how good the lighting, would not be appealing on any day. It is tragic in a most literal sense, that audiences have become so accustomed to violence, that it can be described as forming part of a picture that is “clever, well-crafted and darkly humorous…featuring one of those effortless bad-ass performances from Tom Cruise that remind us that he is indeed a movie star, first and foremost.”

Oh yes. He is a movie star first and foremost, someone who makes a living from acting as if fantasy were reality. This whole movie business began as entertainment, but it is fast becoming a dark way of life that has no humour in it whatsoever. When Kim Kardashian poses pictures of a bejewelled gun on Twitter, it is easy to wonder what the world is coming to. You may write her off as a brainless brunette who would pimp up her poop if she could, but when you add Lindsay Lohan posing with a gun in her mouth, Rihanna shooting a video showing her drowning body being shot in the chest and most recently, British soap star Helen Flanagan pictured with a gun to her head (days after the Sandy Hook killings), and you have a problem. The kind of problem that is certain to get worse for everyone, from country to country and age to age.