We're kind of behind the times. We gave up commercial television around 2007, and gave up the television altogether not long after that. But we've kept a Netflix account, and recently we've been exploring some of the instant play television (sans commercials) offerings. At the moment, we're working our way through the apocalyptic drama Jericho.
Not living in a cave or under a rock, I'd heard some rumblings about the show while it was on the air, but it certainly isn't what I thought. I guess, what I heard was that it was about a community that had been shut-off from the rest of the world - the implication being that they were led to believe something had happened that hadn't, and like Jim Carrey's character in The Truman Show, they were kept from getting too far away from their town's borders - like an experiment rather than a catastrophic TEOTWAWKI event. The commentaries were all about the espionage aspect of the show, in particular with regard to the character Robert Hawkins.
While there is that spy aspect of the show, it doesn't seem to be true that only Jericho has been affected. It does, indeed, seem that the rest of the world has fell victim to whatever tragedy befell the good people of Jericho.
I am, personally, less interested in the spy stuff and all of the ridiculous fighting and shooting, and more interested in how they are surviving ... or failing to. I'm particularly interested in their struggles to heat their homes and their difficulty with finding food.
A lot of things bother me about the show, and I do, often, have to suspend my disbelief. Some of the story lines are inconsistent and/or implausible. Sometimes the time lines don't work out for me.
But what bothers me the most, and it's probably the one thing that is likely to be the most accurate, has to do with the lack of preparedness of the characters in the story. There probably aren't very many people in this world who have prepared, with alternative energy systems, for a breakdown of the electricity grid. There aren't a lot of people who have stored water, and even fewer who have some sort of food storage. There are probably even fewer people who are prepared to spend a winter in a cold climate without electricity or oil to heat their homes - or even just some basic knowledge of ways to stay warm with only a fireplace for heat (which could be plenty of heat, if they knew to use small space heating techniques).
Those are the kinds of things that bother me about the program, and about our society, in general.
I read a very disturbing article today. It was disturbing, not because I don't know that it's possible, but disturbing because even though everyone knows, so few people prepare.
The article entitled Nine Meals Away from Anarchy talks about our food delivery system and the fact that a kink in any one of the three steps of the system could send our food availability into a tailspin.
In fact, according to the article, that's exactly what happened in the UK in 2000, when an increase in fuel taxes resulted in a truck-driver initiated blockade. The first day, according the article, there was a run on gasoline stations. The second day, there was a run on grocery stores. The third day, things got ugly.
Recently, food shortages in Greece resulted in what is being called "The Potato Revolution." Sacks of potatoes were offered straight from the farmer to the consumer, for a fraction of the price people would pay at the grocery store. It is attributed with being the thing that has kept the Greek people from starving.
A mass terrorist attack during which most of the major cities in the US are destroyed by nuclear bombs delivered in U-Haul trucks is unlikely, but we are in the midst of one of the worst droughts our country has seen since the 1930s, vast swaths of our mid-western farmland have been innudated with flood waters, and megastorms have caused massive property damage and created bottlenecks in our delivery systems.
Maybe we don't get cut off from the rest of the world, forced to fend for ourselves and hopeful that, either our neighbors were better prepared than we, or that the truck rumbling through our streets really is the National Guard come to rescue us, but maybe, little inconveniences, like a three-day winter storm in Tennessee and Kentucky that blocks traffic on I-75 which runs from Florida to Michigan, and I-40, which runs from the Atlantic Ocean to the Pacific, become even more common. With truck transport being the key way food travels across the country, a blocked Interstate could cause some serious problems.
And what's more, such an event is not one of our adrenaline fueled apocalyptic fantasies come true, but rather a nightmarish, real possibility.
Unlike Jericho, we'd certainly be able to weather (pun intended) events like the blocking of traffic for a few days during a snowstorm, but if those kinds of events become more common (as most scientists are predicting they will), how long would it take for late deliveries to become the norm rather than the exception?
If they happened tomorrow, how confident would you be that you and your family could survive the winter without the benefit of a weekly trip to the grocery store?