Xpress-rated video: Sneak preview of the July 8 edition

Xpress-rated video: Sneak preview of the July 8 edition-attachment0

Here’s your video sneak preview of the July 8 edition of the Mountain Xpress. You might call it the doomsday edition.

That’s because this week’s cover story by Managing Editor Jon Elliston is a profile of Montreat College history professor and prolific novelist Bill Forstchen. His new book, One Second After (Forge Books, 2009), imagines the aftermath of an electromagnetic pulse attack on the United States, and in particular, what it would look like in Black Mountain.

Readers might well come away thinking Forstchen’s goal is to scare the hell out of people, and they’d be right about that, as Forstchen explains in the video clip below. Click here and here for two more video clips.

— Jason Sandford, multimedia editor

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15 thoughts on “Xpress-rated video: Sneak preview of the July 8 edition

  1. grimatongueworm

    Could they not find a better place to do the interview? The audio sounds like they are in the cafeteria.

  2. AshevilleObserver

    JOE QUEENAN in The New York Times, March 20, 2005

    As a book reviewer, I find that the current ghostwriting imbroglio puts me in a hopelessly difficult situation. Consider the novel ”1945,” written by Newt Gingrich, then the speaker of the House, and William R. Forstchen, now a professor of history at Montreat College. This predictably juvenile affair posits an imaginary past in which the Nazis have slaughtered the Russians, Britain has accepted a dictated armistice, and the embattled United States must figure out what to do next. Quite a predicament! Here is a typical passage:

    ”Donovan maintained a beatific silence. There would be some sore butts in Bureau-land, after Hoover recovered from his own personal humiliation.”

    Here is another:

    ”The sense of the demonic was further enhanced by streamers of the new jellied gasoline smearing across the landscape in long arcs of white-hot annihilation.”

    I do not think I am being overcritical by saying that such prose lacks the epic grandeur of a Tolstoy or a Norman Mailer. But what is particularly irksome for the reviewer is that he has no way of knowing who is to blame for these hideous passages. Newt Gingrich is still a powerful voice in the American political community and still young enough to run again for high public office. If William R. Forstchen is the one responsible for the lunkheaded plot and comic-book dialogue of this infantile novel or the more recent ”Gettysburg” (”He thought of Elizabeth, sweet Elizabeth, wondering what she would say of him if he ever confessed his terror”), that is one thing. But if Gingrich himself is the one firing off these fusillades of malarkey, it could be a portent of some very unnerving stump speeches in years to come. Either way, I think the American people need to know. More to the point, many of us would have greater respect for Gingrich as an author and a public figure if he stepped forward and said: ”Yes, I did write that the sense of the demonic was further enhanced by streamers of the new jellied gasoline smearing across the landscape in long arcs of white-hot annihilation. But I promise not to do it again.”

  3. Perhaps I should clarify. The writing was fine. It didn’t wow me, but I have attempted to read books whose writing I hated and this wasn’t one of them. The interactions were a cross between a pulp serial and a wargame manual, but given the conventions of the genre, that was fine too.
    My objections to the book are philosophical. For all the crocodile tears about our civilization disappearing, this book sometimes reads like a snuff fantasy of modernity. Our soft, decadent, liberal, big-city ways (the big city here being Asheville, believe it or not) will crumble and fall when the going really gets tough, and the only ones who will survive will be the big, tough, decent, Christian, manly, military (hoo boy military- civilians go home) males and those whoe follow them, those partriots who have the courage to become collectivizing fascists. Of course their morally conflicted as hell about that.
    My biggest beef with the book is that Bill Forstchen have two very different ideas of who would survive and thrive “one second after”. I have read his argument, and was not impressed by it. But it is still a disagreement, and a book likely to cause a lot of disagreements, so for that alone it may be worth your (people’s in general) time.

  4. Matt Mittan

    I was gripped by this book. And, putting aside what I believe to have been some commentary motivated more by someone’s politics than the content of the book, I found this book to be the most powerful example of the need for local sustainability, self reliance and resilient energy alternatives on the local and regional level. More than anything else should be the glaring threat we face in WNC on local food supply. We have lost most of our family farms and our general population has forgotten how to nurture and cultivate the land. I think this book is a MUST READ.

  5. michael

    Jon,

    In the description Jason says

    “Readers might well come away thinking Forstchen’s goal is to scare the hell out of people, and they’d be right about that”

    By giving Forstchen a voice the Xpress seems to be making this their goal as well. I feel like scaring people is a goal of a lot of popular media these days (like Fox News), maybe because it at least gets people’s attention (and ratings).

    Scaring people with the idea of a terrorist attack is exactly how the Bush administration got America into this quagmire in Iraq. All these “what if” scenarios are also part of the rationale behind the current destruction of our constitutional rights and civil liberties.

    Scaring people just seems to me to not be the most constructive use of the media. I feel like the Mountain Xpress is usually not drawn into this type of thing.

  6. Piffy!

    [b]More than anything else should be the glaring threat we face in WNC on local food supply. We have lost most of our family farms and our general population has forgotten how to nurture and cultivate the land. [/b]

    i just found common ground with you, matt.

  7. Jon Elliston

    Hey Michael, thanks for your response. Couple thoughts:

    In the description Jason says “Readers might well come away thinking Forstchen’s goal is to scare the hell out of people, and they’d be right about that”

    By giving Forstchen a voice the Xpress seems to be making this their goal as well. I feel like scaring people is a goal of a lot of popular media these days (like Fox News), maybe because it at least gets people’s attention (and ratings).

    From my perspective, what this local author is up to is of sufficient interest to share in Xpress. Granted, he’s trying to scare people. But he’s very up front about why, and he seems genuinely concerned about the EMP matter. Granted, not all of us share that concern. But he’s amping up national attention to the matter, and doing it from here in Black Mountain. What’s more, I think readers are smart enough to decide what will and won’t scare them. And we made sure to note in our coverage that some people think this is all about scaremongering.

    Scaring people with the idea of a terrorist attack is exactly how the Bush administration got America into this quagmire in Iraq. All these “what if” scenarios are also part of the rationale behind the current destruction of our constitutional rights and civil liberties.

    I hear you on that. But again, I think people are more skeptical than ever about “what if” scenarios, and can and will make savvy evaluations of claims of imminent doom.

    Scaring people just seems to me to not be the most constructive use of the media. I feel like the Mountain Xpress is usually not drawn into this type of thing.

    I hear you on that too. We’re not interested in scaring people; but this story seemed to have enough human interest and news value to go with it. It’s been interesting to see how people react, and the comments they have about it all. Hope to hear from more folks in the days to come.

    Thanks again.

  8. I see your points Johnny. Regardless, I found value in the descriptions alone for the WNC Region & the notions already discussed by Matt & (PFKaP).

    The WNC Region could be considered pretty vulnerable to any sort of major threat or catastrophe that might cut us off from outside assistance such as FEMA or other federal aid.

    (I’m copying some of this over from my other blog comment thread on the article)

    Everyday I notice more and more people in this region attempting to revive olden day habits of wild-crafted herbalism, local gardening, and other forms of sustainable living. I attribute a great deal of this movement to the ‘Green Revolution’ that seems to be hand, but perhaps there is something more to these self-sufficient intentional communities that seem to be popping up all over the region?

    Whether it is the 2012 kick being self manifested or a need to develop ‘get back to basics’ principles that don’t require heavy petroleum dependence, this story screams at those within this locality to put out thinking caps on & address the issues of sustainability in the truest sense of the word.

  9. brebro

    I feel certain that, if we had to live without the electric grid and the life-sustaining necessities that we’ve come to rely on it for, we could eventually make do the way our forebears did for all the centuries of their agrarian existence before the last two or so. However, it seems that from this and other post-apocalyptic cautionary tales, that the main obstacle to a continued peaceful and civilized existence would be the constant threat of harm or robbery from our fellow humans, driven either by desperation, laziness, criminality or simple opportunism at the lack of established law and order.

    Therefore, along with your stocked canned food pile, rain barrel water collection system, vegetable garden and solar panels, every home should have a way to keep the barbarians from your gated communities.

    The golf course crowd has this already, of course, but the rest of us need to invest in similar defensive measures. Mark my words people, forget medical stocks. Put all your money in moats.

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