At 6 pm local time on the International Date Line, Harold Camping of the Family Radio Network believed the Rapture was supposed to begin with a tremendous earthquake and destruction the likes of which humans have never seen. Rolling westward, it was set to hit Tokyo -- which has already witnessed its share of destruction this year -- at 6 pm local time, or 5 am ET. Since that's the most reasonable unreasonably early hour I was willing to get up, that's when this liveblog began.
According to Lauri Lebo of Religious Dispatches, Camping settled on that date and time based on years of research -- and only after his earlier prediction that the Rapture was due in 1984 was proved wrong. Peter Finocchario of Salon says Camping decided it was today based on the fact that: it's the anniversary of Noah's Flood; it's possibly the anniversary of the creation of the Earth; and something to do with the anniversary of Jesus' crucifixion and numbers of significance.
And while we're live-blogging, it's good to know that Camping himself will be camped out in front of the TV, watching the end of the world on CNN (according to what he told The Atlantic's Tina Dupuy). And that is clearly a hell like no other.
[Image via matt w, Creative Commons Licensed]
5:00 am ET: Actually, working at 5 am might be a heretofore unknown hell like no other.
5:11 am ET: Well, looks like there have been several earthquakes today in the Pacific Rim. Of course, it looks like there are several earthquakes every day in the Pacific Rim, and none of them seem earth-ending the way Camping predicted. But maybe God-quakes don't register on the seismic monitor?
5:14 am ET: The Rapture should have hit New Zealand three hours ago... yet the New Zealand Herald doesn't reflect any major God-related events today. Just some government stuff, animal rights advocates protesting "Hangover 2" (probably because there's a monkey-related shooting, I've heard), and someone is apparently not dead -- but it's someone called "Robyn Malcolm," not Jesus. I guess the Revenue Minister with the "dead possum hairdo" is yesterday's news. Hrm. I thought the Rapture-related God-quake was supposed to beat the devastating Christchurch earthquake in intensity? You'd think it would make the paper.
5:21 am ET: Now, this is all getting rather suspicious. The Rapture should have hit Sydney more than an hour ago, and yet the Sydney Morning Herald has no stories about it either. Apparently, the Prime Minister is mad at someone, and they won't be sending Indonesian asylum seekers to Malaysia (which seems like a bad idea) and Australian hipsters like squatting in vacant apartments. Well, maybe that one is Rapture-related, what with there being so much abandoned housing.
5:26 am ET: Maybe this is all God's plan to prevent spoilers.
5:30 am ET: In keeping with the end-of-the-world theme, here's the recipe for a Cafe Nero (you know, for fiddling with while Rome burns), a flaming alcoholic coffee beverage.
5:33 am ET: And a little apocalyptic wake-up music, courtesy of Amanda Marcotte:
[youtube http://www.youtube.com/v/l9yeFkLms3k?fs=1&hl=en_US expand=1]
5:38 am ET: For the New Yorkers in the crowd, Mayor Bloomberg has suspended alt-side parking restrictions due to the Rapture, fully expecting most New Yorkers to be around to have to pay the tickets if it does happen and hoping to curry some favor with either the voters or the as-yet-unnamed Antichrist.
5:44 am ET: If you're not quite sure what to expect after all the faithful get carried up (naked!) to heaven later today, Jamelle Bouie of the American Prospect has a primer for everyone who's expected to get stuck here.
5:50 am ET: Here's an article about two parents in Maryland that stopped saving for their childrens' education because the world was ending, even though the kids don't believe it (and thus probably aren't getting raptured). I'm guessing 7 pm ET is going to be rather awkward in that house.
5:54 am ET: So, it's been just about an hour since the Rapture was supposed to have hit Tokyo -- but it's still not reflected on the front page of The Japan Times. The weather's even listed as sunny and 22 degrees Celcius. That seems kind of cool for hellfire.
5:58 am ET: Japan Today says that Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao, South Korean President Lee Myung Bak and Japanese Prime Minister Naoto Kan all visited Fukushima today and at some local farm produce. Nothing about the rapture or another devastating earthquake, either. God must be really good about preventing spoilers.
6:05 am ET: A note of caution: both Reddit and Gizmodo are hosting posts calling for people to punk the rapture by leaving piles of clothes around their neighborhoods. If you see such piles, but they don't look like the kinds of clothes worn by the kind of people who would get raptured, it's probably a prank.
6:10 am ET: And now, a little more wake-up music: The Rapture.
[youtube http://www.youtube.com/v/bibXZUZVonw?fs=1&hl=en_US expand=1]
6:42 am ET: Still no massive earthquakes.
6:48 am ET: Early morning programming on Family Radio, whose billboards around the New York metro area first alerted me to the upcoming end of the world and promised live programming, is strangely silent on what's happening in the places that already experienced the Rapture and is, instead, playing hymns.
7:00 am ET: HuffPo's Jaweed Kaleem had an interesting long-form interview with a family that all believes the rapture is coming today -- despite the fact that the wife is due to give birth next Friday.
7:10 am ET: For Rapture-related technical questions, check out the Rapture Help Desk on Twitter.
7:12 am ET: According to Camping's timeline, China should be currently experiencing the Rapture. But with such strong media controls, we're not sure what they'll let leak out. At this hour, the Xinhua News Service, China Daily and People's Daily all report that the yuan will be fully convertible in 3-5 years and that Premiere Wen is in Japan.
7:25 am ET: Professor James DiGiovanna has a primer for students on how the Rapture will affect their academic commitments. (Hint: if you aren't personally raptured, he's not cutting you any slack.)
7:45 am ET: Let's just get this one over with, as everyone knew it was coming.
[youtube http://www.youtube.com/v/Z0GFRcFm-aY?fs=1&hl=en_US expand=1]
8:00 am ET: Still no major earthquakes.
8:15 am ET: Family Radio, the non-profit broadcasting group that help spread the word of today's rapture (as predicted by Harold Camping), had $72 million in 2009, according to CNN Money. They reportedly requested an extension to file their 2010 tax returns in Minnesota, from July until November 2011, which is after they believe the world will end. I guess I wouldn't want to waste my accountant's time on taxes in the midst of the reign of the Antichrist, either.
8:30 ET: Still no word out of China about any Rapture-related events, though Xinhua now reports that the Iranian government has arrested 30 people for supposedly being spies for the CIA and a suicide bomber blew himself up in a hospital in Kabul. In Vietnam, which should have already experienced the rapture, the state news agency reports that none of their watermelons are exploding, unlike in China. And in the Jakarta Post, there's no news of the Rapture that should have started more than an hour ago -- but there is a "monster shuttlecock", which could explain things.
8:45 am ET: If you're not yet sure whether you are going to be one of the chosen ones to be raptured later today, go check out the "Will You Be Raptured?" flowchart to determine your likely status.
9:00 am ET: Mother Jones' Julia Whitty dug up this apocalyptic gem to help wake you up:
[vimeo_embed http://player.vimeo.com/video/23885207?title=0&byline=0&portrait=0 expand=1]
9:15 am ET: Still no massive earthquakes, though people awaiting the rapture in Oklahoma felt a slight tremor.
9:34 am ET: Just about an hour post-rapture in India and Nepal, and no news isn't good news for Harold Camping's predictions. The Himalayan Times reports on a suspected bomber arrested in Kathmandu and a mudslide in Hulu Langat, Malaysia that buried an orphanage Saturday afternoon. The only fire in evidence on Nepal's eKantipur site is this photo of a fire-breathing performer in China. The Times of India reports that a thunderstorm in Uttar Pradesh killed 30 on Saturday afternoon... and that we in America are all ready for the judgment that some believe is nigh. That's the first rapture coverage of the morning.
9:45 am ET: Though we suspect even some of Camping's most devoted followers might be getting a tetch suspicious if they, like he, are watching CNN and it's dearth of death and destruction, 41% of Americans expect that Jesus will return by 2050, including 58 percent of white evangelical Americans.
10:00 am ET: Things that were actually inevitable: Rapture erotica.
10:18 am ET: For those feeling slightly sad about the Rapture maybe not being entirely true, a song so suit your mood (courtesy of Maura Johnston):
10:30 am ET: You guessed it: still no massive destruction-causing earthquakes.
10:44 am ET: Post-rapture time in Iran and Afghanistan, and still nothing hits the news other than the Iran Daily's assertion that the West is causing their droughts and a report in Afghanistan that President Karzai believes that terrorists are opposed to development. Maybe all the Rapture news is just in the slightly less state-controlled media.
11:02 am ET: It's not just Family Radio that's gone all-in for the Rapture: so has the New York Daily News, if today's cover is any indication.
11:15 am ET: Might you have even longer to wait? Pass the time with a little old-school U2:
[youtube http://www.youtube.com/v/hI6sBdA99c8?fs=1&hl=en_US expand=1]
11:30 am ET: Apocalyptic earthquakes: we still haven't had any.
11:45 am ET: Potential proof the apocalypse is actually nigh: the LA Times created a list of must-read books which included Dante's Inferno and Tucker Max's I Hope They Serve Beer in Hell. If nothing else, that's definitive proof of the decline of Western civilization.
12:00 pm ET: More than an hour into the Rapture's arrival in Moscow, there's no word of mass destruction or even a single sighting of a naked person ascending into heaven. However, Pravda says that 6 cups of coffee a day can reduce one's risk of prostate cancer and that an ex-CIA agent now says we didn't kill Osama. The Moscow Times reports that the government's latest excuse to refuse LGBT people the right to a parade in Moscow is the "mental health" of children and that a German industrial agreement to stop paying bribes in Russia is basically a failure.
12:15 am ET: Having written well into the brunching hour, here's a recipe for a Bloody Hell, a variation on a Bloody Mary made with habanero-infused vodka, tequila and ginger liqueur, and rimmed with chili powder and salt. It's a decent way to make eternal damnation feel slightly less horrifying.
12:30 pm ET: Since David Camping promised to watch CNN all day, I turned it on to get a sense of how pissed he must be. First segment: cruises are lowering prices because of all the world turmoil, so it's a great time to take a cruise. (Side note: cruise lines charge extra for Diet Coke, because they are clearly run by terrible people.) Next up: Dominique Strauss-Kahn is out on bail and some sleazy defense lawyer reminded the audience that "He's innocent until proven guilty, I know some people don't want to hear that." (Side note: all of France wants to hear that.) The other defense lawyer unironically says, "He's not Roman Polanski here," without acknowledging that both men were accused of forced sodomy and France shielded one of them from extradition for more than a decade and that those things might be why the NYPD demanded Strauss-Kahn's passport. Then they both suggest that forcing a woman to perform oral sex without really hurting her isn't rape-y enough. Next up: the sleazy defense lawyers discuss two NYC cops accused of raping a drunk woman who are awaiting a verdict in their case, and "innocent until proven guilty" seems to be way less of an issue for them. They'll be coming back later in the hour, since they aren't expecting the rapture until 6 pm. Not sure whether Camping would actually hate himself for watching that segment more than I now do.
12:45 pm ET: A much-needed albeit obvious Blondie palate cleanser:
[youtube http://www.youtube.com/v/pHCdS7O248g?fs=1&hl=en_US expand=1]
1:00 pm ET: Just in time for the Rapture's arrival in Western Europe and America, there's finally a report of a small earthquake on the Mid-Atlantic Ridge. Nobody felt it and it's unlikely to unleash a massive wave of destruction, but at least there was one.
1:12 pm ET: So, the Rapture should have arrived in all of the Middle East, parts of Eastern Europe and on the continent of Africa by now, but there's still (mostly) a media black-out as to its consequences. The Times of South Africa reports instead that a man died after a shark attack in Cape Vidal and that the Democratic Alliance has won an outright majority of the votes in the Cape Town municipal elections. The Star reports that the number of people injured in Thursday's massive train crash in Soweto is up to 852. The Mail & Guardian reports that former British PM Gordon Brown is in South Africa, unelected Angolan president José Eduardo dos Santos may not stay in office after next year and Zambian President Rupiah Banda may be behind a campaign smearing the Catholic Church as a promoter of homosexuality in an effort to win reelection over a popular rival.
1:16 pm ET: Around the Middle East, Al Jazeera English reports little in the way of apocalyptic signs, although it does report that mourners clashed with Syrian security forces during a large march for the protesters killed last Friday. The Taliban has taken responsibility for the hospital bombing first reported this morning and 6 hard-line Turkish politicians resigned after tapes were released showing them having extramarital affairs. I remain thankful that John Edwards' sex tape with Rielle Hunter is still under lock and key.
1:40 pm ET:: The publishers of the Helsingin Sanomat left a letter for their international readers "Just in case," to let us know that, in case of Rapture, they wouldn't be publishing an international edition today.
2:00 pm ET: With the Rapture sneaking up on us in America, it might be time to look into what Hellfire looks like. Here's a cocktail recipe with an idea: Hellfire is little more than tequila mixed with chili-infused vodka and Tabasco sauce.
2:15 pm ET: Long before David Camping's first rapture didn't work out quite as planned, Hollywood had its own prediction, starting Mimi Rogers and David Duchovny (now streaming on Netflix). Watch the trailer below:
[youtube http://www.youtube.com/v/rmX7d9B20WQ?fs=1&hl=en_US expand=1]
2:30 pm ET: Now, while you could read any one of a number of stories about people who believe that the Rapture is coming this evening -- like the one by Dave Faraone of the Boston Phoenix or the one by Jeff Winkler at The Daily Caller -- it takes a certain kind of chutzpah to call up a friend in Christchurch, New Zealand to tell him that a evangelical on this side of the ocean has predicted they they are about to have another earthquake in 15 minutes and ask how he feels about the end of the world. Luckily, Jeff Winkler has understanding friends. Read their conversation here.
2:49 pm ET: The time for Rapture has come and gone in Central and Western Europe, with nary a whisper in the mainstream media about naked people flying in their air on their way to heaven. Rather, Italy's La Repubblica notes that the Pope talked to the astronauts serving aboard the International Space Station, hopes for the survival of a 22-month-old girl left in a car for 5 hours are fading and a cokehead priest accused of child abuse is said to be HIV-positive.
3:00 pm ET: In Spain, El Pais is filled with news of the vast protests against the law against pre-election protesting. The French paper Le Monde is filled with coverage of the rape charges against now-former IMF chief Dominique Strauss-Kahn and the rallies in Spain but notes than an accord has been signed by the opposition in Yemen. The German paper Der Spiegel is leading with news of the Greek financial crisis -- as the Germans were heavily invested in saving it -- but has nothing about any Germans potentially saved by Jesus through a good rapturing.
3:15 pm ET: One for the techies: as God attempts to install the Rapture software on his PC, he gets a little frustrated, leading to one big oops. (Via the Huffington Post). I guess God, too, thinks John Hodgman is funnier than Justin Long.
3:25 pm ET: I am not the only one to notice that Harold Camping is awfully quiet today.
3:35 pm ET: But perhaps this photo, snapped by photographer Nick McGlynn in NYC this afternoon, explains some things about the non-Rapture.
4:05 pm ET: As the Rapture makes its way across the Atlantic, it seemed about time to check in with how the Brits and the Irish fared on this day of destruction. The Times of London is all abuzz that some soccer player is suing Twitter because someone on Twitter leaked that he was suing to keep a paper from publishing that he was having an affair. Good luck with that, sir. Try keeping your fly closed next time, it's far easier and cheaper. The Guardian reports that "modern life" is making us all "weaklings." The Irish Times is reporting on the death of and service for former Taoiseach (Prime Minister) Gerarld FitzGerald and a bomb planted in the shopping district of the Northern Ireland town of Derry, while the Irish Independent is all about Queen Elizabeth's visit. Really, the Queen of England?
4:25 pm ET: Watch Rachel Maddow make a "Last Word" cocktail, which consists of gin, maraschino liqueur, green Chartreuse and lime juice. Just the thing for your Rapture party!
4:45 pm ET: And now, for another musical interlude, courtesy of Squirrel Nut Zippers:
[youtube http://www.youtube.com/v/13Yfc479Eo8?fs=1&hl=en_US expand=1]
5:00 pm ET: A couple of small earthquakes in the Caribbean this afternoon, but nothing like the apocalypse.
5:15 pm ET: Here's another cocktail recipe -- courtesy of Religious Dispatches -- for a Death In The Afternoon.
5:30 pm ET: Lilit Marcus of Crushable reports that at least one Brooklynite got started just a bit early on the Rapture-punking.
5:45 pm ET: Wondering what might become of humanity post-Rapture? Charlie Jane Anders of io9 has some ideas.
6:00 pm ET: Arrived at Rapture shortly after 5; however, other than the clothes creatively scattered about by the bar's owner, there's no sign of earthquakes, general destruction or naked people rising to the heavens. We're having a second round of drinks to make sure.
6:02 pm ET: Definitely no one around flew up the heaven, but my friend Nick McGlynn and I were interviewed by WCBS 880 for a bit about the Rapture that will air tonight after the all-important Subway Series.
6:30 pm ET: Reports indicate that a volcano erupted in Iceland this afternoon, though it was less of an eruption than the big one that screwed up air travel. Also, no one was reportedly raptured!
6:45 pm ET: It poured briefly here, but nothing Noah-worthy. There were also small earthquakes outside of New Zealand and Indonesia... but, as is par for course, nothing apocalyptic.
7:39 pm ET: Reports indicate that Chicago and its denizens (and everyone else in the Central time zone) are all intact. If San Francisco survives, this really is all a hoax.
9:05 pm ET: With reports from all coasts in, and minor volcanic eruptions aside, no one's been raptured, little's been destroyed, that which was terrible about the world this morning remains so and Harold Camping and his followers are likely having a deep crisis of confidence tonight. But, at least this live-blog is finally done. Thanks for following along.