Astronomers have just discovered a new comet that come next year may be the brightest comet of all time, shining even brighter than the moon.
Modern people hear this news and say “Ooooh…..shiny!”
But every generation before Irving Berlin would have looked at this and said “Oh crap!”
This would have been clearly seen as an evil portent, a bad bad omen, a sign of impending doom brought on by our evil ways. Some ancient cultures would have taken this as a call to repent from their evil ways.
Can you imagine? We are so much more evolved and sciency now.
Others more barbaric cultures would have been begun sacrificing babies…
Maybe we are not that different from them after all.
September 29, 2012 at 8:46 pm
No, we don't sacrifice babies. Abortion is basically the Greco-Roman custom of exposing unwanted children, not human sacrifice.
And not all pre-moderns considered comets omens. The medievals, for instance, don't appear to have; the Bayeux Tapestry, which (along with the Norman Conquest) depicts a comet we now think was Halley's, says merely "Isti mirant stellam"—"These (ones) marvel at the star."
September 30, 2012 at 10:55 pm
"If I find ten innocent men…will You spare us, Lord?" Abraham asked…