Opinion » Bill Cope

Mr. Cope's Cave: The Ooga-Boogas

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Just when you get to feeling cocky about how far Humanity has come in the brains department—us, with all our fancy-schmancy Pluto probes and quantum physics and Segways and such—along comes another reminder that in so many ways, as a species we are no different from our thick-browed ancestors, quivering in their caves from existential terror over forces they can neither comprehend or control.

No, I'm not talking about the pope again... although every time I heard someone in the crowd gushing about what a miracle it was just to catch a glimpse of him, or asking him for his blessing as though he actually held some magical ju-ju in his fingers, or genuflecting out there in the crowd as he performed another one of those rituals, the roots of which are tangled in a big ball of mysticism and superstition, I couldn't help but wonder why so many people feel they have to venerate a simple man as God's main PR guy.

It's about the moon last night, the eclipse of a so-called blood moon, along with the report that certain peoples took it as some sort of omen or sign or oogy-boogity of coming apocalyptic nastiness, in spite of the phenomenon occurring on a semi-regular and predictable timetable that has been known as far back as 200 B.C.E. Such events are rare, but not that rare. There were five of them in the last century alone.

I don't mean to pick on any one tribe here, but it is significant that LDS Central down in Salt Lake felt the need to issue an advisory to some of their more... shall we say... excitable followers to not get carried away by thinking the eclipse was God text-messaging them that they'd better have their bug-out gear in order.

The background for this is that a lot of the most fundamentalist Mormons have been reading books by a latter-day prophetizer named Julie Rowe—a child of Mother Idaho, in fact—and taking her seriously. She had a near death experience a few years back—yeah, she's another one of those—and God took the opportunity to show her his plans. She's predicting that the End Days are right around the corner, of course, which is itself pretty predictable. I mean, nobody ever got rich writing a book claiming we have years and years and years to go before we even have to start thinking about whether we're on the Rapture list, have they?

I can find no reference that Rowe made any specific claims about this specific eclipse, but evidently, her latest book is called The Time Is Now, so those who drink from her cup of doomsday dribble are looking for any indication that they didn't waste their money on all that freeze-dried food and underground bunkers.

I'm actually writing these words last night, and in about a half-hour, I intend to go out and watch the eclipse, myself. The next one like it is in 2033, and I predict I won't be here to see it. I'm also predicting that when the Earth goes on as though nothing out of the ordinary happened, these same people will start looking for the next oogey-boogity to feed their existential terror habit—their need to find a reason to fear the universe rather than enjoy it. I assure you it will happen. That people like these will forever be quivering in their superstition caves is foretold, and by the same Gods who see to it that basic planetary physics or the history of hysterical reaction to astrological events is not in the home schooling curriculum.