This World is on Fire:

This World is on Fire:

What Existential Threats are Giving Scarfies the Scaries?

In a world that seems to be sliding further and further into the shit every day, Critic checked in with students to see what terrified them most about their future existence on this fuck-up of a planet. Most of the questioning was conducted on St Paddy’s to ensure that participants spoke from the heart. The question was: what is the one thing that scares you the most about the future of the planet? Quotes have been tidied due to general incoherence.

Drew was stumbling along Howe Street. It was midday, his box was empty, and he was finishing off his last Great White as we approached him. His St Paddy’s day garb was an understated rugby jersey and jeans, and Rambo stripes of green paint ran under his eyes. Humble, but effective. When we asked Drew what existential threat he feared most, he gave perhaps one of the most generic answers possible: “Probably Covid. If there is another [variant] that will suck and it’s everywhere around the planet, but also the oceans and all that stuff obviously is still ceebs…. like the sea levels and acid levels.” Knocking back his bottle, Drew wandered back to the debauchery that was Castle Street. He seemed far more focused on trying to walk in a straight line and not yak than on his worries for our global future. Fair enough.

Next, we headed away from Castle to find some St Paddy’s stragglers. Dylan, our next encounter, was found wandering around the bottom of Warrender street. He carried a half-empty box of Flamés, but looked fairly sober, so we decided to take our chances. When asked about the existential threats he feared most, he said he believed that goblins were in fact the greatest threat to humanity. A bold claim, but he backed it up by saying that “It’s the goblins you have to watch out for, they’re already everywhere in Dunedin and they’ll definitely spread one day”. When pressed for further explanation, he refused to elaborate and instead ran off into the sunset. Where he was headed, we'll never know, but it was definitely somewhere cooked.

The cogs were still turning after Dylan's cryptic answer when we came across Sophie. She was drinking in a group outside a flat on Howe Street and was visibly bored beneath her crumpled leprechaun hat and green glasses. Sophie was reluctant to answer the question. Eventually, after some awkward silence, she came out with perhaps the most profound thing we had heard all day: “I think the biggest problem is misinformation and people not believing things that are obviously not opinions. Most media outlets now just twist things to make them suit their customers so even if you can show something is true, it doesn’t work.” This nuanced response was lost on her mates, who were deep in a conversation about the merits of their respective vapes. Perhaps Sophie is the oracle this world needs. She is for sure not a sheep, nor goblin for that matter. 

We intercepted Zoe as she walked home from Uni. While she did not appear drunk, and clearly wanted to get the fuck away from anything green, she was happy to share her opinions on her top existential threats. “Covid, nukes and climate change”, she sharply responded. It was clear that Zoe wasn’t keen to elaborate further or explain why these things are her top three biggest fears. She quickly walked off, making tracks to escape the drunken hoards of screeching green students. Maybe those are the goblins that Dylan was worried about.

Fatty Lane raged with the drunk and hungry when we found Ruby sitting in a gutter outside of Domino’s. Her mates were waiting for pizza and it was taking a while. So, what better way to pass the time than to send her into an existential spiral of dread and anxiety? “People love to get [stressed] about everything but at the end of the day that’s the problem”, said Ruby. She gazed across the vomit-strewn street and sighed. "If people didn’t worry about all this stuff then it would be way easier to sort out.” We couldn’t tell if Ruby’s statement was profound or if she had just become so emotionally numb that she remained truly apathetic to the thought that our days are limited. Either way, the mindset remains respected. 

Crises abound throughout history, and today is no exception. With the world at our fingertips it's easy to be informed, misinformed, and generally overinformed. And yet, on an overcast day on a litter-strewn street, and even through a thick veil of alcohol and other inebriants, the fate of the world remained on the mind of our drunken revellers. That, and goblins.

This article first appeared in Issue 5, 2022.
Posted 5:48pm Sunday 27th March 2022 by Sean Gourley.