The premise of the Netflix movie DON’T LOOK UP is that there’s a planet killing comet heading for earth and in five months and a few days, it will hit Earth and cause a mass extinction event. The only people who know initially are two astronomers who’ve seen it and done the math. The question asked on a discussion group I frequent: Would the government warn us? I’m not so sure they would. This has been a discussion among the scientists who believe we’re less than ten years from a climate-driven mass extinction. There’s a growing consensus on this, exemplified in the latest reports from the relatively conservative IPCC about the death of the oceans by 2030. ‘They don’t plan to tell us’ 2018 edition
You can note that in DON’T LOOK UP, screenwriter David Sirota makes sure the President and media never say we’re doomed in five months. People die hoping that President Orlean was right—a new wave of prosperity is coming once we figure out how to grab trillions worth of metal off the Comet. And this feeds into my first paragraph—if you knew we were five months away from an extinction level event (be it comet or climate), would YOU keep paying your mortgage? would you make sure you were servicing your Amex account? Would you keep up the payments on your homeowner’s policy? I don’t trust the people in charge to be truthful.
And despite the softening of the doom message in DON’T LOOK UP, many critics panned it.
And meanwhile, Adam McKay, the Director of DON’T LOOK UP just found out about the insurance conundrum. He posted on his Twitter account:
And thus,McKay finds one component of the doom aspect of DON’T LOOK UP not covered in his film. Who thinks we’ll survive a catastrophic event? And the insurance underwriters are far smarter than his fictional president Orleans–they know that coming disaster will leave them on the hook for trillions. There have been similar non-coverage problems in Louisiana and Long Island, where insurers stop writing policies. My FB friend Kevin Hester has stated the end of insurance is the end of capitalism: “For the insurance industry, global warming has advanced from a future ecological challenge to a present financial shock. Together, total losses to the economy from natural catastrophes and “man-made disasters” reached $165 billion in 2018; that followed a 2017 that, at $350 billion, cost more than twice as much. As a result, according to the Swiss Re Institute, the company’s research arm, 2017 and 2018 were for insurers the most-expensive two-year period of such catastrophes on record, requiring them to fork over $219 billion globally in checks.”
So yes–you should watch DON’T LOOK UP and think about these parts of catastrophe that we’re hiding from ourselves even in a catastrophe movie. I’d point you to the video of my play PLANET PHUCKETT!! along the same lines (a play about the coming Sixth Mass Extinction).
So snuggle up and watch these two warnings about the hard times ahead. Understand that DON’T LOOK UP is not a layout of how the future unfolds if things are as dire as predicted. I’d suggest a good Red wine to fortify your nerves. But you’ll have to do some of your own planning, because it’s not in the interest of the PEOPLE WHO KNOW to admit that we’re fucked. Maybe keep a legal pad nearby if you think of aspects of mass extinction that aren’t covered.
And don’t forget the popcorn.