The Prescient Blob

Is 1958’s The Blob the first climate-change movie??

Its (almost-surely unintentional) prescience arrives in the closing minutes, upon the discovery that the key to vanquishing the titular foe is by freezing The Blob. As such, the collected braintrust decides that the safest place to store this endlessly-amorphous entity is in the coldest place on Earth. The planet’s saved … “as long as the Arctic stays cold,” caveats Steve McQueen (yes, THAT Steve McQueen, who went by Steven back then, and not THAT Steve McQueen). The last shot depicts the package carrying The Blob parachute-landing onto a nondescript icy-surface. “The End” appears on screen … before quickly morphing into a question mark???????

I’m sure it was just a kitschy cliffhanger at the time, true to its B-genre. But now, this ominous final note seems to foresee the Arctic thawing. If cooler temperatures will help the species prevail, then global warming is no bueno.

And this isn’t the only resonance that the movie shares with climate change. The Blob itself can be understood to be a (coincidental) representation of climate change; it gradually and insidiously envelops the world, right underneath our noses. And by the point enough of us realize the problem, it might be already too late.

And let’s not forget that, after initially coming to terms with The Blob’s villainy, McQueen’s first task is to convince the rest of his town to join the fight against something their pre-existing worldview will reject as categorically preposterous. In his own words: “How do you get people to protect themselves from something they don’t believe in” (a question that’s pertinent to another international catastrophe currently being erroneously politicized…).

The message is clear: humanity’s ignorance and rejection of the informed can lead to humanity’s downfall. And the solution to these ravages of nature — which is a byproduct of our ravaging of nature — can be found in nature itself. The Blob’s waterloo is cold air, while climate change’s waterloo should be clean energy.

But the comparison falls apart when we consider that CO2 is on our side against The Blob, whereas its overabundance is climate change’s strongest ally.

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