A handy pamphlet for coping with extra-dimensional anxiety

Though the wonderful wizard of Northampton may strike me down, I must confess: HBO's new Watchmen series is really, really good. I would argue that it actually has more in common with Moore's adaptive approach to League of Extraordinary Gentlemen—alluding to some established literary canon, but remixing the elements into a story all its own.

Just as the original comic featured news clips and other articles at the end of every issue, the TV show has an online  "Peteypedia," a collection of supporting text documents that exist within the world of the series. For example: a social work pamphlet about "Extra-dimensional Anxiety and You." This is, of course, supposed to be a reference to the climactic events of the 30-year-old graphic novel, where a (fake) squid-like alien is sent through an extra-dimensional portal into the middle of Manhattan, killing millions of people, traumatizing millions more with telepathic psychological damage, and, ultimately ending the Cold War by uniting USA and USSR against a common enemy.

But honestly it…just kind of sounds like living in the United States in 2019 in our own reality. The pamphlet warns of the common PTSD-like symptoms of EDA such as flashbacks and obsessive rumination; hyperavoidance and hypervigilance; negative changes in identity, relationships, or worldview; and paranoia, thrill-seeking, or suicidal thoughts. While, yes, it is supposed to be a somewhat-satirical riff on the generic language of support groups, it also feels like an accurate and relatable description of social media in the Trump years. Read the rest