Five Minutes to Midnight

Well, I just finished re-reading Watchmen last night. One of the recurring motifs in Watchmen is a clock that’s counting down the minutes until midnight. It is, of course, a reference to the doomsday clock that indicates how close we are to nuclear armegeddon. (This is also the inspiration for one of my favorite Iron Maiden songs, “2 Minutes to Midnight“.) I haven’t seen the doomsday clock mentioned much in the news since the Reagan years. In fact, I’d mostly forgotten about it until re-reading Watchmen. Today, out of the blue, I stumbled across an article announcing that we’re now at five minutes to midnight, the closest we’ve been to “certain doom” since the eighties. The last time the minute hand was moved was back in 2002. On the one hand, I should probably be seriously depressed that we’ve regressed so much, in so many ways, over the last few years. On the other hand, I can’t help but feel somewhat nostalgic for the good old days of the Reagan administration. There’s something bracing about being a mere hair’s breadth away from oblivion.

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