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The Evolutionary Perspective
Category Archives: Survivalism
Posted: October 27, 2019 at 3:05 pm
The post The Terminator Created a New Kind of Hero With Kyle Reese appeared first on Consequence of Sound.
This editorial originally ran in October, 2014. Were re-publishing it for the films 35th anniversary.
John Connor gave me a picture of you once. I didnt know why at the time. It was very old torn, faded. You were young like you are now. You seemed just a little sad. I used to always wonder what you were thinking at that moment. I memorized every line, every curve. I came across time for you, Sarah. I love you; I always have. Kyle Reese
Ive longpreferred James Camerons unassuming 1984 sci-fi thriller, The Terminator, overits blockbuster juggernaut sequel, Terminator 2: Judgment Day. Which is weird because a.) T2 was the first R-rated filmI actually saw in theaters (as opposed to VHS or HBO) and b.) given the casting of Edward Furling, the endless merchandising, and widespread teenaged fanaticism of its sequel, youd think a curious seven-year-old would be hooked. Not the case: Even as a youngster, I couldnt shake off a character as troubledand honest and sympathetic as Michael Biehns Kyle Reese.
Thirty-five years ago, Cameron and writer/producer Gale Anne Hurd told the story of a lethal cyborg assassin sent back in time to kill the mother of a future leader of the human resistance. While billed as a science fiction action film, the nearly two-hour vehicle also served as a tragiclove story between its two leads: Biehns Reese and Linda Hamiltons victimized Sarah Connor. Come with me if you want to live are Reeses first wordsto Connor amidst a vicious shoot-out at a Los Angeles night club. He, too, is from the future: a resistance fighter withthe sole mission of protecting his commanders mother.
Everything about the films production has become legend: how the studio originally wanted Arnold Schwarzenegger to play thehero and O.J. Simpson the titular role; how FX guru Stan Winston wasnt Camerons first choice; how Hamilton sprained her ankle early in production and suffered throughout filming; how Schwarzenegger struggled with the iconic line,Ill be back; how the majority of filming across the city of Los Angeles took place at night guerilla-style; and how actor Lance Henriksen stormed into a meeting dressed as a Terminator to convince John Daly of Hemdale Pictures on the project.
Whats fascinating is trying to imagine Schwarzeneggeras Reese. While he would go on to surprise audiences by assuming thehero role in Terminator 2: Judgment Day, hed remain a T-800 cyborg and wouldnt have to sell a love story. Well, thats not true. His paternal relationship with Furlongs young John Connor was certainly similar in nature, but even so, it was more Old Yeller than Romeo & Juliet. No, suffice to say, Schwarzenegger as anything but the Terminator would have changed the films fabric altogether, especially if he nabbed the part as Reese. He would have shattered the character.
Many almost did. As Hurd notes, Almost everyone else who came in from the audition was so tough that you just never believed that there was gonna be this human connection between [Sarah Connor and Kyle Reese]. They have very little time to fall in love. A lot of people came in and just could not pull it off.
Instead, Biehn delivered exactly what the filmneeded: humanity. On the surface, The Terminator tells a very simple story of man vs. machine. Think of it asJohn Carpenters Halloween with more muscle, metal, and homemade pipe bombs. What makes both films stalk accordingly is their willingness to relate to theiraudience. From inception, Sarah Connor was always going to be the more human character; shes a struggling, young waitress who we see day in and day out. What elevated the storywas making Biehn equally accessible.
Rather than tossing him a helmet, a gun, and some chewing tobacco, Biehns stripped of everything literally. Our first introduction to the character finds him helpless, confused, and naked as he confronts Los Angeles bleak underbelly with the citys finest patrolmen close behind. He smuggles clothes from a department store, yanks off pants from a vagrant, and has to lean on his limited resources to do the one thing hes supposed to do: protect. Yet that gritty sense of survivalism is what makes Reese such an enigmatic character.
Again, it goes back to the casting: Biehns a slim guy with understated muscle. A cursory glance has himpegged for the waves overany sort of militia. Hes unassuming with boyish looks and a nearly effeminate demeanor. When he finally catches a breathwith Hamilton, he assumes thesoldier archetype with a hint of playfulness: Cyborgs dont feel pain. I do. Dont do that again. Later, during an interrogation sequence at the police station, he gets theatrical playing the tough guy: You still dont get it, do you? Hell find her! Thats what he does! Thats ALL he does! You cant stop him! Hell wade through you, reach down her throat, and pull her fuckin heart out!
These little inferences speak to Reeses overall mindset and insist thathes just as terrified as Hamilton. The fear comes out in his facial expressions specifically, those young, manic eyes that highlighthistemperament ineach situation. Hes a vulnerable hero, ajuxtaposition toSchwarzeneggers unstoppable killing machine, and theres a level of uncertainty to his abilitiesthat creates an unnerving through-line to Connors own survival arc. In other words, despite his early heroics, theres absolutely no reason to believe Reese will be successful in protectingConnor.
That uncertainty separates The Terminator from its successors. Whileeach story has always pittedan underdog against a titan, whether its the T-800 vs. T-100 or the T-850 vs. T-X, the stakes have never been higherthanReese and Connors struggle for survival. (Cmon! With Schwarzenegger on your team, its hard to really feel any uncertainty, even if Robert Patricks eagle eyes are terrifying enough to fry a hard drive.) Yet Cameron and Hurd make it even more dire by introducing the aforementioned love story, giving audiences more reason to fear for the protagonists lives.
Their whole romance could have been a cheesy, one-dimensional relationship, but the chemistrybetween Reese and Connor is palpable. Throughout the film, the two depend on one another, whether its propping each other up, building homemade plastique, or offeringemotional support during moments ofrespite. On your feet, soldier, Connor pleads towards the end, and theres a sense of despair that strikes the heart. So, by the end, only heartless cynics would scoff at Sarah, when she says that in the few hours we had together, we loved a lifetimes worth.
terminator 1984 The Terminator Created a New Kind of Hero With Kyle Reese
Biehn would play a similar role in Camerons exceptional sequel to Ridley Scotts Alien as Corporal Dwayne Hicks. Like Reese, Hicks plays the soldier with a heart a literal locked one, no less who winds up relying on a female figure. By comparison, theyre about the same hero and archetype, though Hicks is easily swept aside by Sigourney Weavers Oscar-nominated Ellen Ripley, who takes charge in ways Hamilton wouldnt until Terminator 2: Judgment Day. Regardless, Reese and Hicks both highlight the human vulnerability that Biehn brought to the silver screen.
Personally, I still get choked up watching The Terminator. As a child, I would stop my VHS tape shortly before the T-800 rose from the flames, pretending that Connor and Reese were able to drive off and raise John together. Stupid, I know, but Reese was such a hero in my eyes that I couldnt stomach the thought that he died so tragically on those factory stairs. (You could imagine how I reacted in theaters when I saw Alien 3.) Part of it was attraction, sure, but I just couldnt stand to watch him die. He meant too much to me.
But Im not alone. In the summer of 2014, Biehn participated in Entertainment Weeklys oral history on the film, in which he discussed the influential nature of Kyle Reese. He said, I meet kids all the time who come up to me and say, My name is Kyle and my parents named me after you. But one of the bittersweet occurrences that happens is that guys come up to me on the street and say, I went into the military because of you. And usually theyre okay or they look okay but thats a heavy burden, especially if you know how I feel about war.
One might argue Biehns feelings on war helped shape and inform the Reese weve always known and cherished. Because while, yes, hes a soldier by design, its only because he has to be. This was the life he was given. He doesnt live for this shit, hes living in it.Thats why one of the more understated revelations of the film isnt just that hes the father to John Connor, but that he deliberately signed up for the time-traveling task out of love. As he admits, upon seeing that photo of Sarah Connor, he fell in love, a feeling that was strictly instinctual, and that notion speaks volumes.
Michael Biehn as Kyle Reese
Michael Biehn as Kyle Reese
Its a notion that Cameron absolutely believes in. One hundred percent. No, ifs, ands, or buts about it. Weve seen it throughout the remainder of his career, be it Aliens, The Abyss, Titanic, Avatar, hell, you could even toss in True Lies. Love conquers all in his stories; its the currency that binds his protagonists. But heres the thing about that: Love has to be earned. Its a divine feeling that you cant just paint, you have to construct. With Kyle Reese, Cameron carved out a universal archetype in the heartthrob hero, but he did it by tossing aside the callousness of an action star and keeping the formula simple.
Zero bravado, full heart, cant lose.
The Terminator Created a New Kind of Hero With Kyle ReeseMichael Roffman
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Posted: October 17, 2019 at 4:42 pm
Bitcoins recovery from $7,714 at the end of last month gave the bulls more reason to be upbeat. At this price, BTC was down from its 2019 high of $13,880 by almost 45%. To experienced traders, these price swings are somewhat normal. Most importantly, such traders expect the bulls to soon gain momentum and push the price up.
Unfortunately, according to these analysts, bitcoins value could soon drop to worrisome levels.
Wyckoff Logic was created by popular stock trader and investor Richard Wyckoff. According to this method, the price cycle of a traded instrument (such as bitcoin) is comprised of four distinct stages: accumulation, markup, distribution and markdown.
Bitcoins chart has followed the four stages beginning with the accumulation phase in December of 2018 when bitcoin was trading at around $3,000. This was followed by the markup phase when bitcoin rallied from the December lows to the June 2019 high close to $14,000.
At the moment, bitcoin is in the markdown phase where the bears are striving to gain control of the market and the price drops to new lows. The Wyckoff Logic analysis by trader and analyst Moe Mentum predicts that bitcoin will dive to $6,000 or lower in the near-term.
Analyst at Cane Island Advisors Timothy Peterson is of a similar opinion. He believes bitcoin could plunge to the $6,000 zone due to the gap between the price of bitcoin and Grayscale Bitcoin Investment Trust (GBTC) premium. According to Peterson, there is a notable relationship between the premium paid by investors for OTC shares of GBTC and bitcoins price where bitcoins price follows the trend of the GBTC premiums.
In the past few weeks, the premium of GBTC dropped whilst bitcoin stayed quiet as its price remained relatively unmoved. This unmet gap, according to Peterson, is what could catalyze a more than 25% drop in bitcoins price in the next month or so.
When bitcoins price was well above the GBTC premium, it fell substantially. Now, a gap has opened up again. GBTCs premium has fallen from $4.00 per share to $2.00 per share. This implies that bitcoins price should fall from about $12,000 to $6,000.
The relationship between GBTC premium and bitcoin price has not been stable and predictable over time. However, our fundamental models also value BTC at about $6,000. It appears that institutional and long-term US investors in GBTC are expecting this price level for BTC as well.
Financial analyst and swing trader going by the name Financial Survivalism (@Sawcruhteez) analyzed bitcoins price based on Wyckoff Logic and concluded that bitcoin is going up, not down.
On October 8, Financial Survivalism noted that bitcoins chart pulled from the last week of September up until now depicts the Wyckoff accumulation. Survivalism suggested that the Wyckoff accumulation would be confirmed if the current pullback leads to a higher low above $8,000. Survivalism implied that bitcoin could return to the $10k region if this bullish pattern pans out as expected. On the bright side, at the current price of $8,301, bitcoin is still up 120% compared to the start of the year.
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Low Tide Review: The Goonies Meets The Treasure of the Sierra Madre in Sharp Coming-of-Age Thriller – IndieWire
Posted: October 4, 2019 at 7:50 pm
It can be hard to recognize when a life-defining moment falls into your lap, especially when youre still just a scrawny teenager who feels like hes watching the world go by from the sidelines. As desperate as we are to grow up, people seldom clock the moment they start coming of age. Peter (Jaeden Martell) doesnt have that problem. When this frustrated kid stumbles upon a bag full of $100,000 in buried treasure, he can practically hear the starting gun ringing in his ears.
Growing up on the Jersey Shore, Peter and his better-developed older brother Alan (Alita hunk Keean Johnson) havent really been able to appreciate the romantic allure that brings wealthy tourists to their blue-collar hometown. But a small fortune in gold coins has a way of altering your perspective in a hurry. This will be their one magic summer. This will be the year when everything changed. This will be the season when these two boys decide what kind of men they want to be. This is your origin story, Sergeant Kent (Shea Whigam) tells Alan, unaware that the juvenile delinquent sitting across from him is hiding a huge secret. Are you going to grow up to be the good guy, or the bad guy?
A sharp coming-of-age crime saga that hardens The Goonies with the kind of salt-of-the-earth survivalism that bled through The Treasure of the Sierra Madre, Kevin McMullins Amblin-inflected Low Tide couldnt make its stakes any clearer. The movies shrewd first scene, in which a group of masked ruffians break into a beachside mansion, explicitly defines the moral dilemma that will hang over the rest of this 87-minute calling card. Its just another summer night for Alan, Red (a volatile Alex Neustaedter), and Smitty (Daniel Zolghadri), who rob houses because its easier than working. Besides, its not like the loaded out-of-towners are going to miss any of this shit, right?
But panic ensues when the house owners come home early; two of the boys make clean escapes, but Smitty breaks his ankle when he tries to jump down from the second floor. His accomplices eventually go back for him, but its hard to say if they rescue Smitty out of friendship, or rather because they dont trust him not to rat them out to the cops. Later, when Sergeant Kent tells Alan that bad guys never think theyre bad guys, you can all but see the kid replaying this incident in his mind.
Low Tide is at its best during these early stretches, as McMullins script charts the ways that fragile young friendships can ebb and flow. The movies setting isnt quite as specific as its circumstances its tough to shoot a period piece on an indie budget but McMullin turns that feature into a bug. Our past seems like the movies present. Details come into focus slowly, and without calling attention to themselves. A transistor radio and a boxy television are the first clues that were back in time; the fashion and haircuts dont shout at us, but a preppie from out of town poses himself against the hood of his (dads) Mustang convertible in a way that feels like hes trying to cosplay Risky Business. The lighting is soft and sweet like a memory, and the horny teen hot spot relocates from the hot dog stand to the fairgrounds when the sun goes down.
The boys hang out on the boardwalk and gawk at the girls who walk by. Alan isnt as level-headed as his younger brother, but hes got a good head on his shoulders. Red is the pistol-packing id of the group, though his violent streak isnt well-shaded enough for him to become a convincing villain. Smitty is somewhere in the middle, a Spanish-speaking immigrant who fell in with the biggest outsiders he could find. It would all feel like a Bruce Springsteen song if Alan believed in that stuff (Miracles dont happen in New Jersey, he teaches Peter), especially once he starts making eyes at Mary (Kristine Froseth), a golden-haired Connecticut girl whos on her way to college. The writing is never as rich as when Peter suddenly becomes when he stumbles upon that loot the circumstances behind that discovery are too simple to seem real, and too complicated to sustain much interest but you understand where these kids are in their lives. And how fast it could all change on them.
Peter becomes the protagonist once he strikes it rich, and Martell (so good as a wannabe Ben Shapiro in Knives Out) perfectly manages to evoke the trembling insecurity of a little kid on the precipice of a big moment. He only tells Alan about the gold, but Alan who buys himself a sweet car effectively tells everyone else. Everything falls apart from there, only some of it by design.
McMullin, so eager to carve out a spare thriller that he leaves a ton of meat on the table, eats up the middle of the movie by focusing on the logistics of it all instead of the emotional machinations behind them. The second act drifts somewhat aimlessly between the inciting discovery and the inevitable fight to keep it safe, as Alans posse grows suspicious and everyone turns against each other. Sergeant Kent isnt given the time to emerge as a proper father figure in a town full of absent men, Alans crush on Mary doesnt go much deeper than a rainy makeout session in the backseat of his car, and the dynamic between Red, Smitty, and the rest is never developed beyond the mistrust that was always growing like a weed around its roots.
These boys have been raised to believe that no one in this life would ever give them anything, and so they feel as if they have no choice but to take it for themselves. They have a code (no stealing from locals), but the desperation thats lurking just under the surface is laid bare during low tide. A very promising debut thats lensed with confidence even when it lacks a more cohesive vision, the film may not quite hold together as a crime story, but McMullin a New Jersey native is better at tracing his own emotional turmoil than he is at following in John Hustons footsteps. If Low Tide recedes all too fast, it still leaves behind a clear sense that life doesnt always happen on schedule, and that the hardest part of growing up is figuring out what to share with people along the way.
Low Tide is now available on DirecTV Cinema. A24 will release it inselect theaters on Friday, October 4.
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Posted: at 7:50 pm
Michael Mobbs has triggered an important conversation by coming out as a climate survivalist. He expects societal collapse a total breakdown within the next three to five years, so hes selling his ground-breaking and beautiful off-grid sustainable home in Chippendale and planning to move to the New South Wales South Coast.
Mobbs has contributed an enormous amount over many years, but this latest intervention is deeply problematic. It is wrong in fact and wrong in approach, and could contribute to making an already bad situation worse.
While climate breakdown is well under way, and societal collapse is a very real possibility within my lifetime if not necessarily his, there is no serious projection to justify a timeframe as short as three to five years for total breakdown. And the approach of running for the hills (or the coast) is neither sensible nor helpful. It only makes societal collapse more likely, by curtailing action and dividing the community even further. And, in that scenario, it wont even help you survive.
Far be it from me to criticise Mobbs personal choice here. His exhaustion and lack of hope is completely understandable. He has been actively working for solutions to ecological destruction for decades, leading whole communities towards action, while being ignored by the vast majority.
Some of the responses to his declaration, suggesting his approach has been an individualist one ignoring the need for collective action, are ignorant of his work. Mobbs has been working for collective action, using his own personal action as an inspiring example to support others to follow suit and work together for systemic change, as all effective collective organising does. In this way, he has driven vital shifts in building regulations, and more important shifts in understandings of how we humans can and should live as part of the natural world rather than trying to separate ourselves from it. Ecological thinking teaches us that all collective action is made up of interwoven and interlinked individual action. As Greta Thunberg says: We need system change rather than individual change, but you cant have one without the other.
Which brings us to why talking of literally burning bridges is not helpful.
If were to survive in the far-less-hospitable world that two centuries of institutionalised greed, selfishness and short-sightedness have bequeathed us, it will only be together. It will only be by using the coming years to cultivate resilient, cohesive, cooperative, equitable communities, embedded in the natural world.
Thats why, while Mobbs is of course entitled to choose to retire with our thanks for what hes achieved, the criticism of his public declaration of survivalism as embedded in a culture of white supremacy and the right of wealth is also entirely legitimate.
Survivalist retreat shuts off the possibility of action. It assumes that there is no longer any chance of preventing catastrophe, that there is nothing left to be done, that no action to reduce our impact will have any effect. While the scientists whose research I read and who I speak to are increasingly desperate, none condone this view. All argue that, even if we were to pull out all stops now and drive the fastest and largest transition in human history, we will still face severe impacts for generations to come. We will almost certainly lose all corals, including the Great Barrier Reef, for example. Fires and storms and droughts will continue to get more intense and frequent. Make no mistake, things will be bad. But, if we act fast, it doesnt have to mean extinction. The worst thing to do right now would be to cut off that option and give in to those who want to keep milking profits out of the destruction of our only home. That only makes it less likely that any of us will survive.
Retreat, of course, by definition, is only available to a select few. This is why the focus of the responses to Mobbs declaration from the left, in particular Amy Grays searing critique, attack it as inequitable and racist. My addendum is that just as survivalism makes extinction more likely by cutting off the option of action, dividing our society even further makes societal collapse even more likely. This would be the worst outcome of all.
At this point in history, now that we have locked in ecological disruption on a scale our species has never known, we must learn the lessons of ecology. And the number one lesson is that resilience is the key. Resilience, not dominance, is the real strength, especially in hard times. And the secret to resilience is connected diversity, cohesion, cooperative coexistence.
That means that in many ways our most important task right now is to build social cohesion while learning to live within natural limits. Luckily, there are ways of making sure that the two go hand in hand. Whether its urban community agriculture or local sharing and repair groups; whether its models of participatory democracy like Voices for Indi or community renewable energy cooperatives; whether its stripping corporations of the rights of legal personhood unless they properly respect social and environmental norms, supporting worker- and user-owned cooperatives to compete with them, or prioritising the long-term interests of traditional owners and workers over the profits of fossil fuel corporations; all these point the way towards holding off the worst ecological impacts of climate disruption while building the resilience to avoid the societal collapse it could trigger.
If, at this moment, we turn even more against each other, we have no future. The strongest will survive for a while. Then they, too, will be lost.
In reality, Michael Mobbs solution of urban living in harmony with the natural world, brought together with deep democracy and cultivating social cohesion, is the only path to survival.
Tim Hollo is executive director of the Green Institute
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Gary K. Wolfe Reviews Trapped in the R.A.W., A Journal of My Experiences during the Great Invasion by Kaylee Bearovna by Kate Boyes – Locus Online
Posted: at 7:50 pm
Trapped in the R.A.W., A Journal of My Experiences during the Great Invasion by Kaylee Bearovna, Kate Boyes (Aqueduct 978-1-61976-159-9, $20.00, 312pp, tp) July 2019.
Every once in a while, a novel seems to drop in from out of nowhere, with little to go on but a promo letter and in the case at hand the reputation of the publisher. Aqueduct Press has earned a reputation not only for promoting feminist speculative work, but for discovering distinctive new voices. Sarah Tolmie (The Little Animals) and Isaac R. Fellman (The Breath of the Sun) are are two fairly recent examples. So its not too surprising that Id never heard of Kate Boyes, whose biographical note in her first novel Trapped in the R.A.W. tells us that shes a playwright and writer of travel and nature essays, but mentions no prior published fiction at all. This is surprising, because, despite an unpromising title (the full iteration of which is Trapped in the R.A.W., A Journal of My Experiences during the Great Invasion by Kaylee Bearovna, With an Afterword by Pearl Larken and Appendices Compiled by the We Survived Series Group), the novel demonstrates a impressively assured voice, an ingenious, casebook-like structure in which the journal of the title is supplemented by several appendices written years later, and an equally creative use of illustrative material, drawn mostly from 19th-century books and the illustrations of Walter Crane. All of this creates the initial impression that this might be a sort of alternate-history period piece, like the variations on Wellss The War of the Worlds that have appeared more often than necessary, but in fact its a near-future alien invasion tale set mostly in a university special collections library and told mostly in the form of the journal of Kaylee Bearovna, who barricades herself inside during the first couple of months of an inexplicable invasion that nearly wipes out the global population. The R.A.W. of the title comes from the librarians nickname for the collection rare and wonderful.
Alien invasion apocalyptic dystopias, of which there are many, tend to align along a spectrum, with brutalist survivalism at one end (think of Cormac McCarthys The Road) and elegiac humanism at the other (one of the best examples remains George R. Stewarts Earth Abides). Boyes lands firmly in the latter camp, not only celebrating the value of libraries and the preservation of culture, but also focusing far more on character than spectacle. Kaylee hasnt had a particularly easy life she was horribly betrayed and abused by a professor some years earlier, and has lost touch with her beloved daughter but her quick-thinking response to the sudden invasion marks her as a classically competent SF hero. When she hears the screams of the dying and sees hundreds of odd figures in faceless brown outfits slaughtering people with a single touch, she barricades herself in the library and immediately begins sorting the details of her survival, from securing food and water, to such mundane details as toilet paper (which creates an almost comical dilemma in a rare-books library). Her journal makes for compelling reading, detailing her failure to save another survivor who makes it to the library door and eventually describing her tentative relationship with one of the invaders, whom she comes to call the Tall Man. When she decides to leave the library, she leaves the journal behind.
This leads to Boyess neatest touch: the journal is discovered decades later by an expeditionary team, resulting in a series of documents, mostly trying to discover what happened to Kaylee. Our new narrators include the editor of the published version of the journal, the leader of the expeditionary team, a contemporary friend of Kaylees who also survived, an academic cultural historian, and an anthropologist who presents interviews with other survivors who might have known Kaylee or her family. Boyes doesnt always fully differentiate these voices (several sound a lot like Kaylees original journal), but the effect is unarguably moving, as we watch Kaylee transformed from a desperate and lonely figure into a kind of librarian legend, whose story only becomes richer as we piece it together from these later documents. There are plenty of unanswered or inadequately answered questions about the invasion itself, the aliens, and their own motives and social structures (though Boyes does think up an ingenious explanation as to how they could mate with humans), but thats not really the point of a novel such as this. In a few pages you can wipe out most of a civilization with disease, war, alien invasion, or natural catastrophe, but it takes a deeply humane novel to convince us that continuity and community can be built from the ashes.
Gary K. Wolfe is Emeritus Professor of Humanities at Roosevelt University and a reviewer for Locus magazine since 1991. His reviews have been collected in Soundings (BSFA Award 2006; Hugo nominee), Bearings (Hugo nominee 2011), and Sightings (2011), and his Evaporating Genres: Essays on Fantastic Literature (Wesleyan) received the Locus Award in 2012. Earlier books include The Known and the Unknown: The Iconography of Science Fiction (Eaton Award, 1981), Harlan Ellison: The Edge of Forever (with Ellen Weil, 2002), and David Lindsay (1982). For the Library of America, he edited American Science Fiction: Nine Classic Novels of the 1950s in 2012, with a similar set for the 1960s forthcoming. He has received the Pilgrim Award from the Science Fiction Research Association, the Distinguished Scholarship Award from the International Association for the Fantastic in the Arts, and a Special World Fantasy Award for criticism. His 24-lecture series How Great Science Fiction Works appeared from The Great Courses in 2016. He has received six Hugo nominations, two for his reviews collections and four for The Coode Street Podcast, which he has co-hosted with Jonathan Strahan for more than 300 episodes. He lives in Chicago.
This review and more like it in theJuly 2019 issue of Locus.
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Posted: August 18, 2017 at 5:03 am
Oregon 'Hate Map' Reveals 11 Racist, Separatist Hate Groups In The State
Based on the blog Donovan writes, the Wolves of Vinland Cascadia espouse masculinity, tribalism, and survivalism. Northwest Hammerskins The Hammerskins are an unapologetic racist skinhead group with chapters established across the continental ...
Top three states with the most hate groups: Guess where Florida ranks?
Posted: at 5:03 am
According to the girlfriend, Mineo requested her to shoot him in the forehead at point-blank range. Police say Mineo and his girlfriend, both conspiracy theorists and doomsday preppers, were ostracized by an alien conspiracy cult that embraced apocalyptic biblical themes from the Book of Revelation. Fearing the coming end of the world, Mineo was overcome with despondency leading up to his death wish.
Last summer, fearing the end times, another prepper killed three men near his fortified compound in Great Cacapon, West Virginia. Erick Shute, who was also a sovereign citizen, says he shot the men with a .223-caliber rifle because they were cutting wood and trespassing on his land. Doomsday preppers often emphasize living off the land or off the grid and in isolation. Investigators found the tell-tale signs of a doomsday prepper when they searched Shutes property stockpiles of food, a cache of guns, and ammunition hoarding. There was also concern that Shute had placed land-mines on the property to protect its perimeter.
The murders in Pennsylvania and West Virginia are just the latest in a long string of brutal murders and suicides among those prepping for the end times. A year earlier, Michael Augustine Bournes murdered his wife and three children at their cabin in a remote Montana forest. Bournes, then set his house on fire and committed suicide. Neighbors describe him as a survivalist who lived off the grid.
On January 17, 2015, David Crowley, an aspiring conspiracy filmmaker and screenwriter, shot and killed his wife and daughter in their home in Apple Valley, Minnesota. He then committed suicide. Crowley had been working on a feature film project called Gray State, with a storyline that revolved around a coming police state after societal breakdown.
In September 2014, Benjamin and Kristi Strack of Springville, Utah, murdered three of their four children, with a poisonous cocktail of cold medicines laced with dextrorphan and doxylamine. They then killed themselves. Authorities later learned that the parents were worried about the evil in the world and wanted to escape a pending apocalypse. Family and friends reported the Stracks wanted to move somewhere far off the grid.
A few months later, Veronica Dunnachie was charged with the shooting deaths of her estranged husband and stepdaughter during a domestic dispute in Arlington, Texas. Both Veronica and her husband were members of the 3%ers Texas, a militia group, and had an affinity for prepping and learning survival skills. There are other murder/suicide cases (ie, Shane Franklin Miller, Jimmy Lee Dykes, and Peter Keller) that demonstrate the dark side of doomsday prepping.
Doomsday prepping has been an American subculture since the 1950s. During the 20th century, preppers fed on American fears in the aftermath of World War II, the nuclear arms race, civil unrest, and economic volatility. Similarly, the 21st century has brought new uncertainties, including Y2K, weather disasters, the Mayan end calendar, global terrorism, and more civil unrest. In light of these disastrous events and predictions, doomsday preppers emphasis on preparedness appears to make sense. Family preparedness may even be advisable. Nevertheless, beyond a few legitimate reasons, doomsday prepping, for the most part, represents a dark worldview that combines, to varying degrees, end-times apocalyptic views, an obsession with firearms (and other weaponry), conspiracy theories and too often an anti-government sentiment. When combined, these radical views become toxic and lead unsuspecting followers down a funnel of despair, which perpetuates fear, paranoia and extremism.
Preppers are best known for stockpiling supplies (e.g. food, water, medicine, fuel, etc.) and building bunkers in anticipation of an impending catastrophic event, such as a war, terrorist attack or disastrous natural occurrence. Prepping can be embraced both by individuals, who emphasize surviving alone, and groups which emphasize communal living. Examples of prepper communities include the Citadel project in Benewah County, Idaho; the Trident Lakes subdivision in Ector, Texas; and Ft. Igloo in Falls River, South Dakota.
Since the 1950s, Preppers, also known as survivalists, have spread their ideology and tradecraft through preparedness expositions, gun shows, literature, and religious institutions such as Mormons, Baptists, and cults. These trends continue today. Since 2008, the Prepper Movement has steadily increased membership and grown in both sophistication and creativity. Companies specializing in making bulk emergency supplies, like ready-made meals and water purification systems, have attested to this steady rise in popularity due to sales increases. Much like the 1990s, preparedness conventions continue to attract thousands of people at each event throughout the country.
The 2008 Presidential Election, coupled with the 2008 stock market crash, marked the beginning of the prepper renaissance. However, new factors have emerged that have influenced the recent popularity growth of doomsday prepping. In 2016, Donald Trumps election further stoked the fires of fear and paranoia within the Prepper community and far right extremists with his rhetoric concerning Muslim terrorist threats in the Homeland, nuclear threats from North Korea, criminal threats from immigrants and other security issues. As a result, the Prepper Movement remains popular and supply companies within the U.S. continue to report growing sales. For example, an Idaho-based emergency supplies company, called My Patriot Supply, doubled its online sales during the week of Inauguration Day compared to the same week in 2016. Georgia-based Doomsday Prep also noticed sales spikes on both Election Day and Inauguration Day. Since the 2016 election, it has seen more than a 15% growth.
Cable television shows, such as National Geographics Doomsday Preppers, Discoverys The Colony and Survivorman, have mainstreamed, and even glorified, survivalism and end times prepping. The advent of the Internet has also given preppers a new tool to recruit members and supporters, teach tradecraft using YouTube videos, as well as create entire online marketplaces for purchasing and selling prepper-related gear and other supplies. While there are various theories about what causes the world to end, Preppers are unified on the core beliefs that society is on the verge of collapse and the last days are near.
Besides spreading fear and paranoia and preparing for the end times, the Prepper Movement provides a gateway to more radical ideologies and extremist movements, such as militia groups, white supremacists, and sovereign citizens. Of particular concern, the Prepper Movement has experienced a disturbing trend of murders and suicide over the past four years.
As prepper deaths continue to mount, rumors have circulated on survivalist forums and other far right extremist websites about secret government hit lists or death lists targeting them. They claim that this trend of murder/suicides within the Prepper Movement is the work of a sinister government plot to get rid of them. They falsely believe these deaths are evidence of the Illuminatis existence and its activation of the New World Order plan to take over the world. In reality, these violent incidents are manifestations of how mounting anxiety, fear, and paranoia can lead to deepening depression and acts of desperation that, too often, leads to violence and lawlessness. Sadly, there are even more criminal incidents and arrests related to doomsday preppers.
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Posted: at 5:03 am
Tom Cruise trashes his flashing-teeth hero image to play, if not a bad guy, then certainly a naughty one in the jaunty drug-running caper American Made.
Re-teaming with his Edge of Tomorrow (a.k.a. Live Die Repeat) director Doug Liman, Cruise plays Barry Seal, a real-life character who ran drugs, guns and money between Central America and Arkansas in the late 1970s and early 80s, while also working for the CIA.
Seal, a family man who started out as a pilot for TWA, eventually became embroiled in what blew up into the Iran-Contra scandal, as well as being a trusted delivery boy for the Medellin cocaine cartel lead by Pablo Escobar. He also earned himself millions of dollars in cash for his troubles.
Watch Video: Tom Cruise Is Back to Flying Planes in 'American Made' Trailer
Cruise slips into the role with a mischievous grin, although hes not exactly playing totally against type the way he did in, say, Magnolia. The idea is that his Barry is a slippery customer and a great pilot, more son-of-a-gun than Top Gun. With the first of several nods to Goodfellas, Cruise narrates the movie himself, although his to-camera testimonies are designed, we learn later, to incriminate his various employers.
Barry initially stumbles into the part but like a good American opportunist, he learns to game the system, using his CIA-sanctioned cover to become the gringo who delivers for Escobar and his henchmen. He comes home with suitcases stuffed so full of cash the green stuff practically falls out of the bedroom closets.
See Tom Cruise's latest POWER MOVE.
As director, Liman (whose father investigated the Iran-Contra affair) has covered the shaky moral ground of Langley in his Bourne franchise, and hes at it again here, while also trying to cram in and explain away some real political history. The film features three U.S. presidents: Jimmy Carter, Ronald Reagan and, as Governor of Arkansas, Bill Clinton, as well as figures such as Oliver North and General Noriega. Even Nancy Reagan pops up to tell us again: Just Say No.
Liman is to be commended on not stooping to a mere 80s nostalgia fest, at least not too ironically (he offers a Rubiks Cube and couple of power ballads but, hey, everyone needs context), using the Cold War politics of the time rather than any awkward fashions or pop. I wonder, though, if he was tempted to show someone watching an early Brat Pack movie on VHS?
The problem is that Cruise, even when trying to cut loose, is always so tightly controlled that we never truly feel the reptilian survivalism of Barry Seal, nor does it feel like anyone on screen is actually enjoying themselves despite the repeated tequila parties and mountains of cash.
Also Read: Don't Tell Dwayne Johnson He Runs Like Tom Cruise
Earlyish in the picture, when Barry finds himself in a Colombian jail following a police raid, theres a bit of business around him having a tooth knocked out, a clear indication that Cruise knows hes denting his trademark choppers here. Interestingly, the movie never suggests Seal (or any of his pilot cohorts) got high on their own supply; he may want to play with his image, but dont think for a minute youll catch Tom Cruise snorting coke.
Limans tone, channelled through Cruise gently straining to deconstruct his own iconography, achieves neither real comedy nor actual tension. The movie feels lightweight, even while pointing fingers at the American governments meddling foreign policy and lies. The sense of the eras political absurdity goes missing. Maybe politics, no matter how ridiculous or how distant, just isnt a laughing matter any more.
Strangely, for a Cruise vehicle, American Made takes a while to get going, and, having never quite started, it doesnt really know when to finish. Theres a terrific climax involving the CIA, DEA, FBI and a bunch of other acronymical forces except it isnt the climax, and the movie drags on for quite a while after, forgetting that we really dont care much for the underwritten storyline of Barrys family and his wife Lucy, gamely played by Sarah Wright (Marry Me) in that increasingly thankless position of girl in Tom Cruise movie.
American Made isnt exactly an American Dud, but it is too self-conscious to be as fun as it wants to be. Its professional, slick and not terrible, as youd expect from, well, slick professionals such as Liman and Cruise. It looks vibrant and verdant (shot by Uruguayan DP Cesar Chalone, who did City of God), but for the gringo movie star who always delivers, it comes up a little short.
Tom Cruise wasn't "Born on the 4th of July," but he was close. The actor turned 55 Monday. We ranked hisfilms, from the so-so to the phenomenal.
Cruise's Type-A, adrenaline-fueled drive serves him very well in movies where the stakes are high. But Cocktail is just "Top Gun" behind a bar. The work-hard play-hard clichs at work here threatened to make Cruise the role model for handsome, affable, lame guys you swipe past on dating apps. Cruise smartly swiped away from roles like this.
40. "Endless Love"
Tom Cruise has a tiny partin this Brooke Shields melodrama, his first ever on-screen role. He stumbles off a soccer field, goes shirtlessand shares a story with the protagonist about how he almost burned his house down. You were probably sold at "goes shirtless."
Whats sillier: Tom Cruises unicorn or his hair? Legend was a lavish, fantastical adventure that turned out to be a massive box-office misfire from director Ridley Scott and Cruise.
38. "Austin Powers in Goldmember"
Cruise makes an amusing cameo as Austin Powers in a fake trailer for a movie-within-the-movie called Austinpussy. But this opening to the third Austin Powers is its only highlight.
37. "Far and Away"
Ron Howard directs Cruise and his then-partner Nicole Kidman in this romance between a wealthy landlords daughter and a poor Irish street fighter.Cruise's accent isn't great.
36. "Knight and Day"
Wacky, screwball action-comedies almost never work, and in James Mangolds Knight and Day, Cruise and Cameron Diaz werent exactly Cary Grant and Audrey Hepburn in Charade." But the movie has its passionate fans.
35. "Interview With a Vampire: The Vampire Chronicles"
This is probably the movie where you're most aware Cruise is acting. After all, hes playing a vampire. This showy, flashy role wouldve been better suited for someone like Johnny Depp. Cruises Lestat doesn't feel as hungry as most Tom Cruise characters, just thirsty. For blood.
34. "Losin' It"
Thankfully Cruise graduated from 80s teen sex-romps like this, but Curtis Hansons Losin It has some charm with Cruise running through Tijuana with a young Jackie Earle Haley, John Stockwell and a housewife played by Shelley Long.
33. "Jack Reacher 2: Never Go Back"
The sequel to Jack Reacher was a rare, mediocre step back for Cruise.
32. "Rock of Ages"
Cruise doing his best Axl Rose impression as the rock-god Stacee Jaxx is the best part of this cute, harmless stage adaptation. He commits.
31. "The Outsiders"
Francis Ford Coppolas The Outsiders wasnt well reviewed at its time, but its a great time capsule of Cruise in a small part of a gang of other teen heartthrobs of the day, including Matt Dillon, Ralph Macchio, Patrick Swayze, Rob Lowe and Emilio Estevez. Many who grew u with it consider it a classic.
30. "All the Right Moves"
In one of theearly teen roles that would define his hard-driving persona, Cruise contends with a football coach played by Craig T. Nelson in a classicandwell-meaning but clichd sports movie.
29. "Days of Thunder"
Its Top Gun on wheels, with Tony Scott reuniting with Cruise as an up-and-coming racecar driver and pairing him for the first time with Nicole Kidman, as well as Robert Duvall. But by this point Cruise had already played the young hot shot too many times.
28. "Lions for Lambs"
Robert Redford aimed for intellectual pedigree with his political drama starring Cruise and Meryl Streep, but it mostly high-minded, overly-polished lecturing.
Cruise plays a German officer who conspired to assassinate Hitler and assume power. We all know how that went. Thankfully, Cruise doesnt belabor a phony German accent, but Bryan Singers drama is mostly historical set dressing.
In just his second on-screen role, Cruise plays an unhinged military cadet who goes to extreme lengths to protect the academy when its threatened by encroaching condo developers. He almost steals the show from George C. Scott, Timothy Hutton and a young Sean Penn.
25. "Vanilla Sky"
Vanilla Sky contains a risky, very underrated Cruise role. Cruise goes from playing the cocky, unstoppable Cruise archetype to a deformed, defeated man trying to figure out what matters. Cameron Crowes remake of a Spanish-language film shifts genres stunningly, and its proved a polarizing movie in both Cruise and Crowes catalog.
24. "The Mummy"
From TheWrap's review: "Its the same loud, excessive strain of blockbuster thats cursing multiplexes, barely qualifying as horror, adventure, fantasy, thriller, or even Tom Cruise vehicle."
23. "The Last Samurai"
John Oliver has made The Last Samurai infamous as a prime example of Hollywoods Asian whitewashing. But Cruise is good enough to make it almost work. Its a solid samurai epic with Cruise fighting out of his element, playing an American Civil War official overseas as a dynasty comes to an end.
22. "Mission: Impossible II"
John Woos hyper-stylized sequel has Cruise free-hand scaling a massive, remote cliff, only to put on a pair of sunglasses and watch them explode. It all feels very '90s.
21. "Mission: Impossible III"
J.J. Abrams was brought in to reboot the franchise, so to speak, and he brought his signature lens flares, humor and gritty realism to the property. The films high point isnt Cruise, but Phillip Seymour Hoffman as the villain.
20. "The Firm"
Tom Cruise + John Grisham + Gene Hackman + Sydney Pollack? The Firm shouldve been a slam dunk, but its not even Cruises best courtroom drama.
Joseph Kosinskis Oblivion is visually stunning and finds Cruise tidying up Earth after the battle for humanity has ended and the planet has been evacuated. The sci-fi premise has promise but loses steam as some of the Morgan Freeman-delivered twists and parables start to come out.
18. "Jack Reacher"
Lee Child described Jack Reacher in his book as being 6 foot 5 inches tall, up to 250 pounds and having a 50-inch chest. That aint Tom Cruise. But Christopher McQuarrie extracts from Cruise a grizzled, angry action hero. Plus having Werner Herzog as your movies villain doesnt hurt.
17. "The Color of Money"
This was the movie that won Paul Newman his Oscar, a swan-song sequel to The Hustler by Martin Scorsese in which Cruise may as well be type-cast as the new arrogant upstart. But Cruise captivates with that infectious, cocky glint in his eye as he whips his cue around, knocking em dead to the tune of Werewolves of London by Warren Zevon.
16. "Tropic Thunder"
Cruise is hilariously unrecognizable beneath a balding wig, caked on makeup and some added pounds as Les Grossman, a raging, foul-mouthed studio exec. His fuming anger and profanity in this cameo makes him a pimple ready to burst, and his best dialogue isnt even fit to print.
15. "Rain Man"
Rain Man may actually be one of the more overrated Best Picture winners. Barry Levinsons film is just a road trip movie with a showy Dustin Hoffman performance at its center. And yet Cruise revealed an untapped tender side.
14. "War of the Worlds"
Critics were torn as to whether Cruise made a convincing father figure in Steven Spielbergs adaptation of the famous H.G. Wells story, but thehuman element elevated this already tense sci-fi thriller.
13. "Mission: Impossible"
The original Mission: Impossible benefits from Brian De Palmas homages to Hitchcock and other spy genre films, includingloopy twists and laughably great gadgets that explode fish tanks or transform peoples faces. But its rightfully famous for Cruises balletic, expertly executed heist as he dangles from the ceiling and tries not to break a sweat.
12. "Mission: Impossible - Rogue Nation"
Five movies into the franchise, and Christopher McQuarries film was the first that suggested a future for this franchise beyond Cruise, taking the best elements of each subsequent M:I film and making them gel. It culminates in a slick assassination inside an opera and a standout new foil for Cruise in Rebecca Ferguson. And Cruise is just awesome in it.
Cruise never gets to play the bad guy, but hes excellent at it. Michael Mann transformed Cruise into a mysterious silver fox and silent killer, toying with his hostage Jamie Foxxs mind and morality until the two form an unexpected bond.
10. "Top Gun"
Thirtyyears later and we still feel the need for speed. Theres still no better popcorn movie that flaunts 80s nostalgia, jingoistic Americana and hyper-masculinity than Top Gun. Plus that gloriously homoerotic volleyball scene.
9. "Risky Business"
When Tom Cruise slid across that wood floor in his underwear and a white dress shirt to the opening riff of Old Time Rock and Roll, that was it; a star was born. The movie as a whole channels everything that made Cruise a star, includinghis hot-shot attitude and smirking charm. But he alsosubverts and challenges other teen films.
8. "Mission: Impossible - Ghost Protocol"
Brad Bird brought some of the cartoonish charm from Pixar over to the fourth M:I film, but he also staged one of the best action set pieces of this century. Yes, that really was Cruise dangling off the side of the Burj Khalifa tower in Dubai, and it paid off.
7. "Edge of Tomorrow"
Edge of Tomorrow is the kind of action movie that reminds you why Cruise is so reliable in his heroic roles. Cruise plays a captain in this sci-fi who sells a war to the public, but is privately a coward. When hes killed in battle and brought back to life in an endless vicious cycle played for pathos and some laughs, he regains composure. Emily Blunt gives a fantastic, hard-edged performance as well.
6. "A Few Good Men"
Cruise displays youthful goodness, decency and spirit in the face of juggernaut Jack Nicholson. "A Few Good Men" hasexactly the sort of rousing emotion Hollywood needs to tap into again to find morehit dramas for adults.
5. "Eyes Wide Shut"
All anyone wanted to talk about with Stanley Kubricks final film was the chemistry between Cruise and his wife Nicole Kidman, or the lack thereof. But that icy demeanor in what presents itself as an erotic romance amplified the surreal mystery of the film and made Cruise vulnerable and human.
4. "Jerry Maguire"
The quintessential rom-com, Jerry Maguire is timeless yet also perfectly '90s. Cameron Crowes endlessly quotable screenplay wouldnt be quite the same without Cruises comic timing as he bellows Show Me the Money and lampoons his own hot-shot persona.
3. "Born on the Fourth of July"
As a crippled war vet in Oliver Stones Vietnam drama, Cruise turns from a starry-eyed, clean-cut soldier to a vocal, harried Vietnam protestor. Its a rebuke to the blind patriotism flaunted in Cruises own Top Gun and is one of Stones best films.
2. "Minority Report"
Steven Spielbergs sci-fi has aged beautifully, in part because Silicon Valley has borrowed so muchfrom it. Cruise looks so cool manipulating video in the Pre-Cog crime lab, he practically invented touch screens. Spielberg bakes endlessfun and invigorating, futuristic chase sequences into a screenplay that contemplates big questions of fate and free will.
Not only is this Paul Thomas Andersons magnum-opus, an epic, surreal character drama of love, family and the meaning of life, its Cruise at his most unhinged and commanding. He plays a vile, lascivious mens right advocate named Frank T.J. Mackey, whose mantra isrespect the cock. Cruise made it possible to dislike, even loathe one of his characters, and yet hes chillinglycharismatic.
Happy 55th birthday, Tom Cruise
Tom Cruise wasn't "Born on the 4th of July," but he was close. The actor turned 55 Monday. We ranked hisfilms, from the so-so to the phenomenal.
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Posted: August 14, 2017 at 12:04 pm
Emergency preparedness and survival products are seeing a rise in sales and interest as tensions between the U.S. and North Korea mount. Though information is still anecdotal, several retailers speaking to the New York Times say theyve seen customers stocking up on emergency food supplies and other survival gear. Sales at the Emergency Essentials retail chain in Utah, for instance, were more than double their usual amount in the days after President Trumps fire and fury comments last Tuesday.
Google searches for terms including prepper and survivalism have also risen significantly over the last week. But theyre still well below all-time highs that came after the 2012 Presidential election win by Barack Obama, and not all preparedness retailers speaking to the Times have seen sales rise.
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Obamas election and re-election also triggered a sharp rise in gun sales. Thats partly because of fears that Obama would push through tougher gun control laws. But the rise in survivalism was also fueled by right-wing conspiracy theories , which sellers said had receded somewhat by 2013.
But the usual buyers of dehydrated food and camp stoves have much more faith in the Commander in Chief than they did his predecessora recent poll puts the Presidents approval rating among Republicans as high as 82%. With conservative politics such a major driver of the preparedness market, and despite fears over North Korea, the Trump presidency could wind up offering modest growth for the industry.
Responses to both North Koreas tests and Trumps bellicose language have been tepid more broadly. U.S. stock markets, usually hypersensitive to rumors of global war, dropped only 0.2% on the day of Trumps statements.
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Posted: August 13, 2017 at 2:04 am
Clearly, when something happens in the world like North Korea right now, it is on peoples minds, Mr. Sullivan said. It just causes them to rethink where they stand in the event of war, in the event of job loss, in the event of a natural disaster.
Not every company in the prepper industry has seen an uptick. Joe Marshall, managing editor of Survival Life, a website that supports an online retail operation and the Banana Bay Tactical shop in Austin, Tex., said it was too soon to see an impact on sales.
The truth is, theres been some chatter, he said, but for most of our people, theyre already preparing.
Google searches for prepper hit their highest level in a month on Tuesday, while searches for survivalism neared a high last reached in July, according to Google Trends, a site from the technology giant that shows what users have been researching.
Keith Bansemer, vice president of marketing at My Patriot Supply, which sells bulk food, water devices and seeds, said customers have started snapping up the companys six-month food supplies. They wanted to do something to feel more secure, he explained.
By prepping, youre actually alleviating fear, Mr. Bansemer said.