Tuesday, October 07, 2008

Music City runs out of gas

Officials displeased.

Late in September, the city of Nashville, Tennessee temporarily ran out of petrol, following rumours that it was about to run out of petrol. Offhand, I can think of no clearer example of the productive (that is, reality-making) impact of images of the future. See for instance this report from CNN, "Nashville pumps dry after panic about rumor of no gas", 20 September 02008:

Call it a self-fulfilling prophecy: An estimated three-fourths of gas stations in the Nashville, Tennessee, area ran dry Friday, victim of an apparent rumor that the city was running out of gas.
Hearing the rumor, drivers rushed to fill their cars and trucks.

The above video is a simply brilliant hack (à la Woody Allen's 01966 comedy What's Up, Tiger Lily?, which dubbed an old Japanese movie) of a scene from Downfall (Der Untergang, 02004) a deeply serious cinematic account of a certain German dictator's final days.

Sure, it's not a future scenario, but a dramatisation of a past one, redeployed to satirise the present in, er, a rather different context. Still, such a format could serve as a terrific way to evoke, satirically or not, a future scenario by analogy. As Prof Ira Rohter asked, when posting the clip to the HRCFS listserv today, "Could this be Pres McCain in 2012?"

[Video via Nashville Scene.]

Related posts:
> World Without Oil photo essay
> Oil and water

(Thanks Ira!)

No comments: