The End Times
Do you want to spend your last days waiting for the cable guy?
by Frank Cagle
Last week, the head of Knology’s Knoxville operations got fired after an interview with Ina Hughs, in which the News Sentinel columnist and book editor gave him enough rope to hang himself five times.
John Gilmore, who has headed the cable company’s Knoxville office for five years, was fired after he announced that he believes we are in the end times and facing the end of the world. That evidently is what God told him and, as far as I can tell, it is not a reference to his company’s competition with Comcast, satellite dish television or wireless broadband.
Gilmore actually predicted that something awful would happen last Friday. I know I lost my car keys, but I’m not sure that’s what he meant. (Maybe it’s just a coincidence, but the top-grossing movie in theaters the last two weeks is Chicken Little.)
I find it disturbing that a guy can get fired just because he’s a wack job. Who will they go after next? They could decimate the op-ed and opinion columns of the entire Knoxville media. But Gilmore’s predictions didn’t seem like a very good marketing strategy for Knology. If the end of the world is coming, are you going to spend your time waiting for the cable guy to show up?
I thought at first it might have been some sort of promotion for the cable company, maybe a miniseries on the SciFi channel. But it isn’t likely that the end of the world will be on CNN or MSNBC, because they’ll be having roundtable discussions about how it’s President Bush’s fault and FEMA isn’t doing enough about the fire raining down on Las Vegas. And Fox? All their reporters and editors will be gone—carried off in the Rapture. But there are selling points on having cable when the world ends.
You could watch C-Span, but I’m not sure that channel can make even the end of the world interesting or exciting. No doubt there would be three phone lines to call in: Saved, Not Saved and Not Sure.
Kudlow and Cramer on CNBC can advise us on which stock investments would be a “pure play” on the whole end of the world thing. The History Channel will be doing a retrospective on Sodom and Gomorrah, the plagues of Egypt and that whole business with Noah, the Ark and the Flood.
Gilmore’s predictions for the end of the world have something to do with adding up the numbers in dates that total another significant number. The most significant number of late appears to have something to do with Las Vegas, the over and under and the Vols’ lousy football season. Steve Spurrier coming back to coach in the Southeastern Conference has something to do with the Antichrist, but I’m not going there.
But to give Gilmore the benefit of the doubt, there are signs suggesting the end of the world is at hand.
• Talibama, evidently tuned in to the pending doomsday, is preparing to elect Judge Roy Moore governor. Moore is the state Supreme Court justice who was removed from office for defying the federal courts with his installation of the Ten Commandments in the federal courthouse.
• The Tennessean, long a bastion of liberal thought and the house organ of the state Democratic Party, has run story after story ripping ethical breaches by the Bredesen administration, political patronage in the Highway Patrol and financial irregularities within the legislature’s Black Caucus. It has run editorials agreeing with House Minority Leader Bill Dunn. Watch out for the lightning.
• Sandra Clark sold her Halls Shopper to the E.W. Scripps Co., owners of the News Sentinel.
• Knoxville had a city election, and the mayor didn’t run any candidates, raise money for any of his favorites or interfere in the election process.
• UT and Vanderbilt will be playing Saturday to see whether UT will be eligible to go to a bowl, and there is some doubt whether the Vols will be able to beat Vandy. There are people who want to fire Phil Fulmer that aren’t even Alabama fans.
• Madonna is writing children’s books.
• Democrats in Congress are calling for fiscal discipline and a balanced budget, while the Republicans are spending the money in our great-grandchildren’s piggy banks.
All those signs may have an upside for Dover, Pa. That’s the town that voted the school board out of office when they put “intelligent design” into the school curriculum. The Rev. Pat Robertson said Dover might get singled out for retribution and pay a price for throwing out God-fearing school board members. New Orleans was flooded, according to many suspect theologians, because of its wicked ways. But if the whole world is going to end, those isolated scenes of divine destruction are immaterial. I’m just not convinced by all these doomsayers. Not unless Al Gore announces he’ll be a candidate for president in 2008.
Frank Cagle is a political analyst and the editor of Knoxville Magazine . You can reach him at firstname.lastname@example.org .