The Politics and Archaeology of “Ruin Porn”

Some great post apocalyptic art work, and some in-depth analysis as well.

Archaeology and Material Culture

An enormous number of artists, urbanites, and even archaeologists have begun to focus their attention on the aesthetics and materiality of ruin in a discourse commonly dubbed as “ruin porn.”  The pornography metaphor invokes the focus on a purely self-centered gaze and seeing urban and industrial ruination for sensationalistic if not purely emotional and instinctive reasons.  Some commentators are unnerved by the implication that the mostly visual documentation of ruination simultaneously shares with pornography the un-expressible and purely self-centered satisfaction of voyeuristic viewing.  Yet artist Matthew Christopher thoughtfully defends his photographic “autopsy of the American Dream” as a “sort of modern archaeology,” making a truly persuasive case for the political might of documenting urban devastation with images and archaeological analysis alike.

The story of urban America is undeniably one of dramatic post-war decline that could truly be likened to social and material apocalypse in some communities…

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The Next American Civil War

My fourth novel, The Tears of Abraham is speculative fiction, and I pray it stays that way. The first American Civil War cost more than six hundred thousand lives. The next one will be far worse.Image

I’ve been kicking this idea around for about six months, while working on the final book in my Wrath series. I read some articles about Texas wanting to secede from the Union, and at first I chuckled to myself. Folks in Texas are tough, and they’re already just about a country to themselves. They have the agricultural base, heavy industry, military assets, and fiercely independent mindset to make themselves a Republic, should the general population actually be in favor of it. What I dismissed at first as pure apocalyptic nightmare began to seem possible, though no less insane.

But what if the recession does not end? What if the cultural, racial, economic, and religious divides within the United States get worse with time?

What if the Republican Party does not heal itself, and the schism within the Party of Lincoln leads to an even more powerful Tea Party?  With both sides gerrymandering districts to protect their power bases, there would be small incentive for moderation.. But on a national level, the Democratic Party would command more of the general vote, and maintain control of the White House, and probably gain seats in the House of Representatives. Much of the country would continue to feel the Federal Government did not truly represent their interests. The shrill rhetoric from the media on both sides of the political isle would increase, finding conflict and scandal to sell advertising.

The war will be about money, race, religion, and a deep difference of opinion of what government exists to do. The seeds have been planted already.


What would happen if Texas really left the Union?  Much of the South might follow suit, along with chunks of the far West. To what lengths would the Federal government go to preserve the sanctity of our country?  I love America, and the idea of a civil war terrifies me. The more I’ve researched the topic, the more worried I get. There are a whole bunch of angry people out there. Some of them seem to actually yearn for war. I don’t think it will come to that. I have faith, not in politicians, but in the innate common sense of the American people. I hope that in the coming decade, this decency wins out over hatred.


Lincoln was willing to fight to preserve the Union. I wonder what will happen the next time. I don’t know yet, but there will be tears. Of that, I am certain.


Major biological discovery…inside the Chernobyl reactor??

Doug's Darkworld

The abandoned town of Pripyat, the Chernobyl reactor in the background.

There has been an exciting new biological discovery inside the tomb of the Chernobyl reactor. Like out of some B-grade sci fi movie, a robot sent into the reactor discovered a thick coat of black slime growing on the walls. Since it is highly radioactive in there, scientists didn’t expect to find anything living, let alone thriving. The robot was instructed to obtain samples of the slime, which it did, and upon examination…the slime was even more amazing than was thought at first glance.

This slime, a collection of several fungi actually, was more than just surviving in a radioactive environment, it was actually using gamma radiation as a food source. Samples of these fungi grew significantly faster when exposed to gamma radiation at 500 times the normal background radiation level. The fungi appear to use melanin, a chemical…

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