"Y2K" the movie will NOT spook the herd

greenspun.com : LUSENET : TimeBomb 2000 (Y2000) : One Thread

My expectation has been that NBC's Y2k movie will not get the herd moving. I think take-home message will be that a few people will get hurt and power will be out for a short time, but if you stay home and wait a few hours some handsome computer nerd will fix the problems.

Here's a report of a preview of the movie. Hopefully the html gods will be kind and this link will work.



-- Mikey2k (mikey2k@he.wont.eat.it), November 13, 1999


I thought Wag The Dog was one of the worst movies I'd ever seen, and yet internationally crowds of political protesters were holding up signs reading, "Wag The Dog!" Domestically people sat watching it over and over taking notes as if it were educational.

I say one of the worst, I have Titanic as The Worst, that loser was so boring I had to keep fast forwarding through the "love affair," ooh god it was dull.

I consider The Best to be oddly one can only watch on a rare moon, and I do mean rare, and sometimes I have to leave in the middle of it because I find myself too moved and disturbed, and that is Lily Dale. When I first watched it the movie and its description did not quite match, and I wasn't prepared. It left me a basket case for weeks. I even experienced mood swings and had perturbing thoughts.

-- Paula (chowbabe@pacbell.net), November 13, 1999.

Watching 'Y2K - The Movie' Is gonna be kinda groovy, but I'm really gonna cry when that first plane falls from the sky.

(c) King of Spain Enterprises. For reprint permission please send one case of Spam to Polly Outreach Mission, Mudwrestle Mansion, Outthere, Oregon 98113.

P.S. Flint, I'm dedicating this to you.

-- King of Spain (Madrid@aol.cum), November 13, 1999.

I am looking forward to the new Nike Y2K ad. Has anyone seen it yet?

-- Bill (y2khippo@yahoo.com), November 13, 1999.

Sorry, after reading the preview, I have to strongly disagree with you. The core of the "no effect" argument is that disaster movies don't cause a change in behaviour. I agree with that in general, but find it a highly spurious argument when applied to this movie.

Here's one difference. Most disaster movies show events that are unlikely to effect an individual. That's not the same as "unlikely to happen", I'm talking about WHO is effected. Even if you ride busses, and are scared by "Speed" (a pretty poor example of a "disaster" movie for this preview to mention), then you can comfort yourself with the thought that even if there is a bomb on a bus somewhere in the city (unlikely), it's also unlikely to be YOUR bus. In plain language, disasters always happen to someone else. But Y2K (as shown by this movie) effects EVERYONE. That's a totally different story: now the chance of it effecting Joe Blow is not (could it happen * will it happen to me), it's just (could it happen). And that makes it more credible.

But more importantly, the effect of other disaster movies would be to stop people from habitually performing some usual activity, e.g. riding a bus, plane, elevator. That's a pretty big life altering decision to make. Y2K is exactly the OPPOSITE, the concern is that this movie could spark a single unusual act, a one off "just in case" precautionary reaction. All Joe Blow has to do is to get up off his fat arse and go out and try and buy a couple of weeks worth of food and withdraw a few hundred dollars. Unlike most disaster scenarios, there's something Joe can DO about this one.

And at this late date, that's a scary proposition. Our best hope is that this movie does suck so badly that Joe switches off before it gets to the rationed ATMs.

-- Colin MacDonald (roborogerborg@yahoo.com), November 13, 1999.

Good post, Colin. But, after rereading the synopsis I still think that "Y2K, the Movie" will not be the stimulus that stampedes the herd. Let me state a scenario that I would regard as a "stampede".

Scenario: Monday the 22nd work suffers as people discuss the movie. A larger number of people than usual visit the grocery store and stock up. Tuesday the 23rd has stories in the newpaper and local TV news about the unusual activity. The activity builds and by Friday, people head for the grocery store, camping goods store, etc instead of the department store to start their Christmas shopping. A slow stampede, perhaps, but this is similar to what I recall from the "gas shortages" of the late 70's. But if the beginning of the stampede is after Thanksgiving, then the movie is not the stimulus -- any slower than my scenario and I would have to be convinced that "Y2K" is the cause.

Here's a clip from the article: " A quick plot synopsis: " Early on, a radio broadcast says cars have been reclassified as "horseless carriages." (Fact: This really happened in Maine this fall.) Later, broadcasters prepare to air live footage of a prison riot when computer-controlled doors swing wide. (Fallacy: An urban legend in the making.)

" An F-18 falls out of the sky at 12:01:40 somewhere in the South Seas. Is it Y2K-related? No one is saying. ATM glitches limit angry customers to $20 a pop. Parts of Paris go black. Is the power outage going to cascade? Times Square fizzles out, so do Philadelphia and Scranton. 911? Forget it.

" A 72-year-old woman dies on the operating table, becoming the first confirmed Y2K death. A nuclear meltdown in Sweden kills all plant workers. Could the fictitious Emerald Canyon nuke plant in Seattle be next?

Plane crashes, old people dying on the operating table, and foreign disasters occur all the time (think of today's news headlines with flight 990 and yesterday's earthquake). I think the stampede is MORE likely if people turn off before the end of the movie, because in the movie everything will turn out OK if everyone will just stay home and light a candle for a few hours during the power outage. The nuclear plant meltdown is already handled by the existing spin (Foreign countries may have problems but the US is ready).

I am, however, looking for a stampede the last few days of the year. The action scenes from the movie may play some supporting role in this, but I think it would happen anyway as most people try to buy 3- days-worth of food, top off their gas tank, & visit their ATM all at the last minute.

For this one, we only need to wait about a week and a half to see whether Colin or I is right.


-- Mikey2k (mikey2k@he.wont.eat.it), November 13, 1999.

The herd's agenda:

Get ready for Thanksgiving. Buy all those Christmas gifts at the mall, including the latest fashions for the tweens.

The only shortages I expect to see are in XMas wrapping paper. ;-)

(Figure out what your favorite creature comfort is and stock up big time. It probably was made in some third world country that is about to turn into a fourth world country.)

-- cgbg jr (cgbgjr@webtv.net), November 13, 1999.

KoS, "(c) King of Spain Enterprises. For reprint permission please send one case of Spam to Polly Outreach Mission, Mudwrestle Mansion, Outthere, Oregon 98113. "

Thanks for you efforts to evangelize us pollies. If you would like me to make a testimonial for the impact you have had on my life I will be glad too. Of course I will be making it up, which should fit in well here alongside all of the made up stories companies that are lying about their compliance as well as the made up stories about martial law.

-- Mr. Nugget (catsbutt@umailme.com), November 13, 1999.

I remember when Jaws first came out....alot of tourist areas were hit hard by 'fear'. I remember when Airplane first came out....lots of fear then too. So you can never tell with John Q. Public.

-- (remembering@atone.time), November 13, 1999.

remembering, was that "Airplane" or "Airport" you were referring to? If I recall correctly, "Airport" made me realize that so long as Dean Martin was in charge, everything would be okay. "Airplane" taught me to bring my own blow-up pilot whenever I have to fly...

-- I'm Here, I'm There (I'm Everywhere@so.beware), November 13, 1999.

Hey folks, you may not believe this but there are still people in America without a computer. I know, I know, that comes as quite a shock but its true. Worse than that though, hold on to your chair, there are people that have never heard of Y2K. Stop the guffawing, I tell you its true! Alright you don't believe me, then here's my proof. Get yourself a translator, go to a jobsite, and ask the people working there if they know what Y2K is. Yes, I know - They won't be able to watch the movie either - Lets skip that group of 10,000,000 then and ask an average Mormon housewife with 7 or 8 little uns' if they know what Y2K is. I'll bet you there are sports fanatics out there that could tell you how many TDs Johnny Unitas had in his career but don't know what Y2K is, alright, alright, he won't be watching that movie either. I don't care what you think, the Y2K movie is GOING to reach some illiterate people and for the first time in their lives they will have to consider the problem.

-- Guy Daley (guydaley@bwn.net), November 13, 1999.

Other disaster movies had no effect? Only because they were not seen as probable. What would the effects have been after viewing Deep Impact and/or Armageddon if it were known that a large meteor was heading towards earth. Even if scientist were debating over if it would hit or just skim the atmosphere. If either of these movies had aired only a month before the possible due date of the meteor I think it would have had a very definite effect. Airing Y2K a month before the actual event is definitely going to produce interesting times.

-- thomas thatcher (jabawaki@erols.com), November 13, 1999.

The most common points of view I've heard to date are extreems. Nothing vs. disaster. Not much on the in between. I've read and believe that the problem is too complex and interrelated to know exactly what will happen. I believe most folks like to follow what appears to be the popular point of view at the moment, and are silently watching for something real or concrete to base their views and actions on. While the movie is not real, it seems to present possibilities that cannot be discarded as "Absolutely Impossible". Sooner or later, reasonable people will want to feel secure knowing they have at least a few of the basics on hand should problems arise, and are waiting for something concrete to get them started. If the movie prompts some people to quietly stock up on a few basics, that could be a good thing. A single real event anywhere may very well prompt the masses of disbelievers. If the movie can make some total disbelievers see the situation as even remotely possible, and let them prepare modestly, (with items they should have on hand anyway), then that will be that many fewer people scrambling at once should something happen.

-- Denny (dennyhb@hotmail.com), November 20, 1999.

It's sad. NBC is going for yet another "throw the general, stupid population into a frenzy" movie. Oh joy. I think the real end of the world will be when all of the idiots out there finally realize they've been duped for so long and they revolt. Then again, most will be so fattened from sitting at home on the couch, eating their chemicals and watching such tripe on the TV that they won't be much of a challenge... 45% of them will have heart attacks before making it out of their decrepid domicliles.

-- Einhander (einhander@y-too-k.go_away), November 20, 1999.

Just a note about "Wag The Dog": the movie was pretty poor, yes, but the novel it was adapted from is excellent. When you read it, it's pretty obvious why they didn't do a straight adaptation.

-- mathew (meta@pobox.com), November 22, 1999.

Moderation questions? read the FAQ