Have you ever wondered about rubber neckers? You know, the annoying drivers that slow down almost to a stop to gawk at a nasty auto accident?
I think this scenario applies to a great many situations in human life. People are fascinated by the appalling. It’s an attraction-avoidance conflict in which attraction inevitably wins. Look at the tabloids. Yes, it’s cattle fodder, but it also sells. What have been the obsessions? “Al Gore Sex Attack”?  How long has the little beauty queen Jon Benet been dead, and she’s still moving magazines. For that matter, what of the Kennedys? There’s more said about them in death than in life. What other treats are presented to us? Diet tragedies and starvation stories, have mind-blowing sex but get closer to deity, beauties beat up by enraged spouses, and of course the constant kicker, the imminent end of the world. If we’re not living in an apocalypse culture, I can’t imagine what this is.
In 1991, Feral House published Apocalypse Culture, a compendium of documents depicting the less savory side of our times. Included are “Latter-Day Lycanthropy: Battling for the Feral Soul of Man”, “The Unrepentant Necrophile”, “Frank Talk from a Psychopath”, “Aesthetic Terrorism”, “Schizophrenic Responses to a Mad World”, and “Long Live Death!” among many others. In 2000, in spite of the ardent determination of editor Adam Parfrey that Apocalypse Culture would never have a sequel, Feral House published Apocalypse Culture II, which is widely regarded as even more extreme than its predecessor.  

What exactly are these books? More than anything, these are books of revelation–books that bring the twisted side of mankind to light for you to peruse, if you dare. These are the things the general media sweeps under the rug, the things people never discussed in a long ago day and age and still consider taboo.


More to the point, the Apocalypse Culture books are a manifestation of their title–the Apocalypse Culture. Who and what is Apocalypse Culture? Do you like peeking behind closed blinds after explicitly being told not to do so? Do you see what’s really going on around you not through the goggles society would fit you with but through your own eyes? Can you see and appreciate the revelation of humanity’s insanity? Do you agree that circumstances need some serious shaking up, and maybe even want to be one of the shakers? If any of these notions appeal to you, you might already be an active participant in Apocalypse Culture (as opposed to the passive participant who chases ambulances and likes reading about popular deaths without understanding their own urges).
At this point I would like to mention that the concept of an apocalypse is one that has fascinated me for most of my life. This is not the same as being obsessed with the end of the world, mind you. To me, apocalypse always meant change, first and foremost. Granted, this is change on a grand scale, but change nonetheless.
I began to think out Apocalypse Theory when I survived the end of my own personal world. I won’t go into the details, but I will say that everything that was for me was no more, and I was left to rebuild virtually from scratch. In time, I began to see that was I was making anew for myself was infinitely better than what I had lost. The medical analogy that when a broken bone heals badly it must be broken again to heal properly kept occurring to me. I saw where there was real strength in having undergone this complete debacle and rebirth. What happened to me? I had gone through a personal apocalypse, a mental apocalypse.
Yet there was more. In the process, I also had an apocalypse in the sense of revelation. I learned truths about myself, some of which were beautiful and some of which were the stuff of nightmares. The very nature of the world around me was revealed. I’d never really had the wool over my eyes before, but now it was gone forever. I saw and thought clearly. I was strong in my own convictions and not easily swayed by anything. I would include this as part of the personal and mental apocalypses previously mentioned.
This is Apocalypse Theory on a personal level, but what about applying the same principles to society? I believe that we as human beings are never stronger than when we’ve been shaken down to the very core of our being and then gone ahead to meet the challenge of a new beginning. The ugliness of mankind is revealed every day. We’re destroying the planet, we’re destroying ourselves. We’re choosing apathy over action. We’re fascinated by the death of one famous person and indifferent to the deaths of thousands in an earthquake. It’s all revealed, but humanity’s nature is to ignore what is displeasing and look the other way.
It’s time for a shake up, and I say a shake up is long overdue. Naturally I don’t mean the literal destruction of everything and everyone. But the broken bone hasn’t healed properly; humanity has backed itself into a corner. The solution I propose is to break the bone again.