WEEKLY WEB WATCH: WWW - The Y2K doomsayers better wind up with a catastrophe or they’re going to look stupid

’Los Angeles riots and burns to the ground. Digital power brakes lock up at 70 miles per hour. The lights are out. The phones are dead. The US military sits crippled on bases and in ports around the world. Suddenly, from within the confusion, the Chinese Navy steams toward Hawaii.’

’Los Angeles riots and burns to the ground. Digital power brakes lock up at 70 miles per hour. The lights are out. The phones are dead. The US military sits crippled on bases and in ports around the world. Suddenly, from within the confusion, the Chinese Navy steams toward Hawaii.’

’Los Angeles riots and burns to the ground. Digital power brakes

lock up at 70 miles per hour. The lights are out. The phones are dead.

The US military sits crippled on bases and in ports around the world.

Suddenly, from within the confusion, the Chinese Navy steams toward

Hawaii.’



The wilder flights of fancy of a Hollywood scriptwriter? Nope. It’s an

extract from one of the thousands of web sites (this one at

www.satisfy-me.com/y2k.html) claiming to prepare people for the Year

2000. Conspiracy theorists and doom merchants have always been big on

the Internet. And the very biggest of those is Gary North, a radical

Christian fundamentalist who not only predicts doom on his web site

(www.garynorth.com), but really wants the world to end.



’At 12 midnight on January 1, 2000, most of the world’s mainframe

computers will either shut down or begin spewing out bad data ... This

will create a nightmare for every area of life, in every region of the

industrialized world,’ says North. Others, like Practical Jack’s

Checklist for Y2K (www.y2k-checklist.com) and Y2K Crisis: The Family

Plan (www.allward.com/y2k/), are, well, a bit more practical. They just

want you to spend your money on their books, ’authoritative reports,’

guns or other assorted survivalist wares.



For example, The Y2K Family Survival Center

(www.virtualvoyage.com/y2k/home.htm) has the following gear: an 8x8 ft

Winnebago Wind River tent; a 38’x80’ sleeping bag, rated to -10

Fahrenheit; and US Military Issue wool-blend blankets.



In the current climate, the reassuring statements from government, the

Pentagon and public utilities about Y2K preparedness simply come across

as complacent. An article on the Online Journalism Review (published by

University of Southern California, ojr.usc.edu) points to a ’culture of

disbelief’ surrounding official statements about anything to do with

Y2K.



It puts the blame on those very soothing statements that have been

emanating from officialdom. When otherwise steady people are being

encouraged to drag their families off to the hills, the doom prophets

who told them to do it need a catastrophe to occur. Otherwise, they’re

going to look pretty stupid. And if there isn’t a catastrophe, the

people who spent their life’s savings on bags of rice, cans of beans and

Winnebago tents are going to find they’re about as valuable as a

Christmas tree on the 26th of December. And then they’re going to feel

pretty angry.



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