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Can this man predict when your world will crumble?
The Explosive New Documentary From The Director Of THE YES MEN and AMERICAN MOVIE
It s the shattering documentary that has been called superb (Entertainment Weekly), hypnotic and haunting (Time Magazine) and so masterfully made it s impossible to look away (AllMovie.com). COLLAPSE is the story of Michael Ruppert, former Los Angeles police officer turned rogue reporter whose eerie prediction of the current financial crisis shocked millions. Now Ruppert is warning of a new meltdown, one rooted in oil, economics, and covert U.S. policies that are leading us all towards unprecedented global disaster. Is he a prophet who can clearly see America s terrifying future, or a conspiracy theorist fueled by fear and paranoia? And if Ruppert is right, can this slide into catastrophe be stopped? Experience this sometimes harrowing, often poignant and always riveting look into the mind of the ultimate outsider from filmmaker Chris Smith, the award-winning director of American Movie and The Yes Men.
You might not want to watch Collapse if you're in a good mood. On the other hand, viewing this documentary in a bad mood might not be such a good idea either--at least not if there are any sharp objects lying around. Such is the extremity of the dire message delivered by Michael Ruppert, who predicts nothing less than the imminent and total breakdown of industrialized civilization. Ruppert has some credentials--a UCLA graduate, he served in the Los Angeles Police Department, and is now an investigative journalist with many articles and several books to his credit--and a large amount of information at hand. And although it's worth noting that everything he offers in the way of facts in the course of this film goes virtually unchallenged, his argument is compelling, and more than a little frightening. As Ruppert sees it, the collapse can be attributed primarily to just one thing: oil, and our almost complete dependence on it. The world has passed the point of peak production, he says, and the supply is now in steady decline (and this was well before the 2010 spill disaster in the Gulf of Mexico). There is no currently viable energy alternative--ethanol, nuclear power, Canadian "tar sand," and everything else is dismissed outright, leaving only wind and solar power as vague possibilities. The planet's unsustainable population growth began with the discovery of oil (and it will go down accordingly when the oil is gone), Ruppert argues; what's more, the world's economy is essentially a "pyramid scheme" based on the notion of infinite growth, which can't happen because it too depends on oil and its many derivatives (such as plastic). In the end, he says, what we're witnessing is Darwinism in action, and while there are a few ways to prepare for what he passionately describes as "the cataclysmic end of a paradigm" (he suggests learning to grow your own food, for starters), the momentum is irreversible. One might be tempted to dismiss this guy as some wacko with a website, but Collapse--essentially a long interview conducted by director Chris Smith, supported by photos, film footage, animation, and other visuals to illustrate Ruppert's arguments--offers some very serious food for thought. --Sam Graham
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In this film he delves into the issue of Peak Oil, the general idea that at a certain point oil production will hit a high mark which it will never surpass. After sustaining this high point, or at least something comparable to it, for who knows how long, production will begin to decline until eventually the resource is exhausted. This should seem obviously true: oil is a finite resource, and if we never stop using it, we will eventually run out. The relevant point he makes is that this state of affairs is immanent. We are running out of oil. To a world heavily dependent upon oil for everything from plastics and gasoline to toothpaste and various agricultural products, this would be devastating. Combined with extremely reckless economic practices, he envisions a total economic and social collapse, i.e. the breakdown of modern society into chaos and degradation.
I think that Ruppert read the cultural tea leaves correctly in making this film. At the time, gasoline was over 4 dollars per gallon, the entire planet was in some form of economic recession, and pessimism was high. People were ready to hear this message. Obviously though, the planet did not devolve into chaos and madness and degradation, and the mere fact that perhaps someday it could does not exonerate the fact that something he claimed to be immanent never came to pass.
As someone well-acquainted with Peak Oil, I take it as an axiom that we will only know we hit it in hindsight, quite likely in distant hindsight. I for my part thought that we had hit it in 2010. But, advances in drilling technology, fracking, and a slowdown in consumption of oil (most of the world has not yet recovered from the Great Recession) has meant that we have more than enough oil to last us for at least another 10 years, probably a little bit more. However, even if that 10 years turns out to be 30 or 40 years, that is not a permanent solution. So long as we keep using a finite resource, it is just a matter of time before we run out of it. It's just a question of "when" at this point. And the financial hazards that he describes which serve to compound the precariousness of the situation are still very much a source of concern. Thus, insofar as the film calls attention to these issues, it is laudable. However, insofar as it uses these issues to stoke fear and consequent Mad Max type scenarios about how everything is going down the drain any moment now, I think it is somewhat alarmist. He actually entertains, seriously, a scenario wherein the economy collapses all over the world, all governments collapse and cease to exist, and neither of these two ever recover, more or less forever. That's not just cynical, that's nihilistic.
I'd also like to mention several of his claims that seem, shall we say, less than likely to be true:
1. That his father and other relatives had top secret access to intelligence that was somehow conferred unto him as well. The innuendo just feels false. He doesn't come right out and say he has top secret clearance, but he clearly wants you to think that he does. I'm inclined to think that he does not.
2. That his once-fiancé was a CIA plant designed to lure him into illegal operations involving drug smuggling that was being orchestrated by the CIA (imagine what it takes for a man to reach such a conclusion about someone he once loved). He claims that once he refused their designs "She disappeared and people started shooting at me." But apparently they stopped, because here he is, alive and well. Just stop and imagine how it would play out if what he is claiming was actually true: The CIA wanted Mike to smuggle drugs, so they hire a beautiful woman to pretend to date and wish to marry him over a period of many months just so she could sweet talk him into it? Couldn't they just offer him an attractive benefits package? Paid time off? It just sounds silly.
3. That "Richard Cheney and Donald Rumsfeld took an intense personal interest in me and what my newsletter was publishing for all the years of the Bush Administration." I would be shocked if either of these men had even heard the name Michael Ruppert, let alone that they felt compelled to comb through his newsletter. It sounds much closer to paranoid delusions of grandeur than anything else.
4. That his newsletter "From The Wilderness" counted many members of Congress as loyal subscribers. I'm guessing that either some terribly dedicated conspiracy theorist signed up his local Congressman against his will to receive the newsletter, someone lied to Mike and told him he was a Congressman and he reads the newsletter even though he actually works at Burger King and struggles to read anything at all, or it just never happened. And what would it prove even if it was true? And why would he want it to be true? If he's uncovering all these hidden truths that the powerful elite don't wish to be uncovered, why would he be glad that they wished to be kept aware of all developments? Wouldn't flying below the radar be a bit more prudent? The most likely explanation is that it is another delusion of grandeur.
I don't want to be too negative. The fact that he has drawn attention to the very real and important issue of Peak Oil is laudable. That his thinking on the issue is largely accurate is also laudable. It's just important to take the whole experience with a grain of salt. But, be that as it may, if it draws attention to this so very important issue, then I am more than happy to oblige and take that grain of salt.
What makes it so scary is that Ruppert is correct in his statements. As he says, "I don't deal in conspiracy theory, I deal in conspiracy fact". It is an important wake up call for society.
On the down side, I do think that he takes his message a little too far, implying that society is actually descending into collapse right now, and that there will be all out anarchy at any second.
He though the mortgage meltdown and financial crisis going on in 2009 was the beginning of the end. Well, the economy has rebounded and society has not yet collapsed. I also think that he does not give enough credit to technological advances and the human race's incredible ability to adapt. Can the earth sustain 7 billion (or more!) humans into perpetuity? Absolutely not. We have reached Peak Oil and need to figure out how to survive without our addiction to oil.
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Although Mike committed suicide, it doesn't at all take away from his work.Read more