Go tell it on the mountain: The Y2K banking computer glitch will bring about screwy traffic lights, a worldwide blackout and (maybe) the return of Christ. Oh those silly profiteering televangelists!
I have a theory. Bear with me now. Okay, ready? I think that televangelists of the late 1990s actually wanted the world to end. Or they wanted everyone to think the world was going to end. In which case, they thought that everyone might eventually know they were wrong. If that was going to be the case, then they had to sell a whole lot of tapes before the end of the 1999 calendar year.
The 2000 Time Bomb is an informational video from the Jack Van Impe Ministries. I find it kind of scary. Almost as scary as this announcer. Is the woman he's talking to really named Rexella? Where are we? I'm confused. And frightened. He's telling me that this is my last chance... to buy this video. He's "almost" sorry about that. You see, the world is about to end, and once it ends, no one will have a VCR. Right? Right. Scary? Yes. That is why I must do what he says. It's been a decade, yes, but I still think he might be onto something. He listens to secular experts! He's figured out that Y2K has united all mankind against one common adversary, more than ever before in human history. Wow. But what was the adversary? Strings of messy binary code? What is going on? I have a headache now.
Okay, what I learned from this clip is that the Millennium Bug jeopardizes our lives in ways never imagined. Like, apparently, it may cause us to have to bang the sink nozzle in order for water to come out. Not to be an alarmist, but this is actually happening to me right now in Brooklyn. I've seen the enemy, my friends! It's the same enemy that may make traffic lights go rogue. And people will slow down and then stop and then go, just like they would with regular traffic lights, but faster. Oh... hold on, I'm watching more. Oh. It's all about Christ's glorious return. That or $24.95 plus shipping and handling.
Speaking of money, the televangelists weren't the only ones trying to ride the Y2K train. Ever heard of a gentleman by the name of Leonard Nimoy? Well, he's afraid for you—and for elevators, airplanes, telephones and don't get him started on nuclear power plants—in the coming year, 2000.
Anna Jane Grossman will be with us for the next few weeks, documenting life in the early aughts, and how it differs from today. The author of Obsolete: An Encyclopedia of Once-Common Things Passing Us By (Abrams Image) and the creator of ObsoleteTheBook.com, she has also written for dozens of publications, including the New York Times, Salon.com, the Associated Press, Elle and the Huffington Post, as well as Gizmodo. She has a complicated relationship with technology, but she does have an eponymous website: AnnaJane.net. Follow her on Twitter at @AnnaJane.