WHAT’S IT ABOUT?
Basically, the end of the world as we know it.
Collapse is a 2009 documentary by filmmaker Chris Smith that chronicles the theories and work of prolific doomsayer Michael C. Ruppert, former L.A. police officer turned investigative journalist and cigarette-smoking man conspiracy theorist.
Or, as he says, “I don’t deal in conspiracy theory, I deal in conspiracy fact.”
Americans generally like to hear good news. They like to believe that a new president will right old wrongs, that clean energy will replace dirty oil and that fresh thinking will set the economy straight. American pundits tend to restrain their pessimism and hope for the best. But is anyone prepared for the worst?
The film is a one-man show/interview with Ruppert sitting in a bunker-like warehouse, fielding questions from Smith, and interspersed with archival footage to emphasize the main points: that is that the infinite growth paradigm we live under is dead, and petroleum man (us) is doomed to extinction.
Collapse also recounts Ruppert’s life and reveals much more than just the man’s predictions of Peak Oil, social unrest, and the collapse of civilization. It also reveals much about the man himself. In fact, Smith admitted in an interview that, “What I hoped to reveal was … that his obsession with the collapse of industrial civilization has led to the collapse of his life. In the end, it is a character study about his obsession.”
The film has received rave reviews since it’s release and Ruppert’s predictions are just as pertinent today as they were a decade ago. So, join us as we delve into those theories and what, if anything, we might be able to do about it.
WHAT DID WE THINK?
This film is riveting, mesmerizing, infuriating, illuminating, and seriously depressing all at the same time. It’s also a hauntingly prescient document, not only of our own demise, but that of the film’s subject as well, as Ruppert’s personal life ultimately collapsed and he committed suicide in 2014.
Having followed Ruppert since his early days of tracking CIA drug-trafficking and other government crimes as a subscriber to From The Wilderness (formerly CopvCia), up to his publication of Crossing the Rubicon, his epic take on 9/11, Peak Oil, and the Decline of the American Empire, I have to say that I wasn’t too surprised that he ended up taking his own life. Saddened, but definitely not shocked.
The life and times of Mike Ruppert could really be a whole movie in itself, a sort of poor man’s James Bond meets A Series of Unfortunate Events. Much of his adult life, it seems, was filled with one tragedy after another, sometimes (though not always), self-inflicted. Attacking the powerful isn’t necessarily the best career move, as there’s not much room for advancement. Nor is there any combat pay or other fringe benefits. In other words, the pay is shit and it’s bad for your health. And Mike, if nothing else, attacked those in power. And he did so without a safety net.
As a former cop, especially one who witnessed corruption at the highest levels, he should have known that the police (and military) are ultimately there to serve and protect the wealthy and powerful. It’s always been that way. Of course, he knew this, and knew it only too well. But that still didn’t stop him from believing the system could be changed, that people would finally wake up, and that truth and justice would ultimately prevail. This, in my opinion, is what led to his downward spiral, because despite his outward message of doom and gloom, inwardly he was a frustrated idealist who cared deeply about the world, but just couldn’t reconcile the gap between how things should be with how they actually are.
He was truly the Man Who Knew Too Much, and his suicide should be a warning, a cautionary tale, to all those who tread into finding out how the “real world” works. Sometimes ignorance IS bliss.
Mike had a brilliant investigative mind that could suss out the most minute details, make connections others had missed, and articulate those findings to his audience. He drew a map for others to follow if they dare.
Collapse does an excellent job of getting to the gestalt of Mike’s beliefs and, though he may not be right about everything, we ignore him at our own peril.
Most of Mike’s work can be found on the internet. We recommend his book, the many articles, and videos.
Journalist Matt Stroud wrote an excellent piece about Mike after his death for The Verge, titled: “The Unbelievable Life and Death of Michael C. Ruppert” that we highly recommend.