Read Ryan Bradford’s “Post Apocalypse” here, and then follow it with this interview. Or do it the other way around. You’re an individual, make your own decisions.
1. How would you end the world?
Iâ€™d shut down the internet. It just seems so anti-climatic compared to all the end-of-the-world-porn imagined in movies, but also completely realistic. I like the idea that the end of the world could be a gradual thing instead of an instantaneous flash or something, like you wouldnâ€™t even notice it if you werenâ€™t paying attention. A quiet apocalypse. And of course, there would be that small group who still donâ€™t engage with or utilize computers. These luddites would be the new Lord Humunguses (Humungi?), as their lack of devastation would certainly give them some advantage.
2. What would you replace the bald eagle with as our national mascot?
A great white shark. If I had to rebuild the US from apocalyptic devastation, I donâ€™t think thereâ€™d be any better symbol of evolutionary perseverance than that. Or cockroaches, but I think those are really hard to stylize in a heroic fashion.
3. How have you survived a personal catastrophe?
I think catastrophe is cumulative in a personâ€™s life. Iâ€™ve never experienced one of those game-changing moments that give rise to superheroes, but I donâ€™t think that should discredit or usurp the intimate sadness that I have, and everyone has, experienced.
My parents divorced when I was a kid, and I think that whole dissolution of Family affected me more than Iâ€™ve let on. It wasnâ€™t until I got married last year that I realized Iâ€™ve been living the past 15 years as this emotionally self-sufficient nomad. My wife is the first person that Iâ€™ve been able to really trust and give up part of myself. I think being able give in to that emotional co-dependency after shutting it off for so long is some sort of survival.
4. Why are Americans so fascinated by violence?
I donâ€™t know, is that still true? I assume weâ€™re talking about movies, but even then, the French have been making incredibly violent movies for the last 10 years, stuff that American movies couldnâ€™t lay a finger on.
Iâ€™ll counter and say that Americans are more fascinated with revenge than anyone else, and the violence in those movies tends to be less ambiguous. Americans, I think, like the two-step, action/reaction events that lead to violence, and no further repercussions. I donâ€™t know where this revenge fascination comes from, but Iâ€™ll guess that it has something to do with our dueling identity of being the best and, simultaneously: an underdog.
5. Who would you give a night call and tell how you feel?
My mom. Sheâ€™s a social worker, so sheâ€™s really good at listening and telling me how I can be better.
6. Where did “Post Apocalypse” come from?
I was delivering mail in San Diego when I first thought of the idea for â€œPost Apocalypseâ€. There are numerous military housing-complexes all over the city that I delivered to, and I got a feel for them and what type of mail they got. Basically, a lot of video game magazines. I just got this sense of really bored young families, holing themselves in these beige units, playing first-person shooters. They have their housing paid for, so they spend their money on nice cars, TVs, sound-systems, etc. It all feels like this oasis, until you realize that these are the people who have experienced (or have signed up to experience) real-life violence. Thereâ€™s this underlying intensity to it all.
And Iâ€™ve always been fascinated with post-apocalyptic renderings in movies and books, especially from the 70s and 80s. I think there are common images themes that run through a lot of them (nomadic tribes, feral children, makeshift weapons). You realize that the images from these post-apocalyptic movies arenâ€™t too far off from what you see in news coverage: sand-blown mercenaries, child soldiers. In fact, it felt a little obvious once I started making the connections, and I was worried that whatever allegory you find in â€œPost Apocalypseâ€ would become a little too overt.