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The Tone Poem: ‘2012’

Subjects have now entered the hot zone.

No, 2012 is not quite the pointless cinematic exercise that G.I. Joe was, as I noted in my review last week. But that’s no reason not to repurpose some of its more notable dialogue for an alternative literary experience:

Looks like the neutrinos coming from the Sun have mutated into another kind of subatomic particle. They’re heating up the core of the Earth.

I work for the White House.

You do know this is a fundraiser, not a frat party, right?

Whoa, man. Will you look at that? Sick.

Yes, your seven-year-old daughter still wets her bed. Maybe that’s something you should know.

I told myself, Charlie, get your stupid ass to Yellowstone.

Only a dozen people in this administration know what I’m about to tell you.

Cute girl, huh? The first daughter? I saw you looking at her.

Subjects have now entered the hot zone.

You’re not by any chance the Jackson Curtis who wrote Farewell Atlantis? I read a couple of your short stories in college.

The critics said I was naïve, an unabashed optimist.

The Earth’s crust is destabilizing.

All our scientific advances, our fancy machines. The Mayans saw this coming thousands of years ago.

You know, a cell phone’s something we have to talk about as a family.

They’re building spaceships.

Women pay me thousands of dollars to handle their boobs.

Noah has music at two, and Lil has karate.

Mommy, why is Daddy so crazy?

It’s been a gas, it’s been a flip, it’s been a hell of a trip, but it ain’t the end of the world.

You know your mom and I, we had a hell of a good life, son.

After 25 years on the wagon, are you out of your mind?

We’ve gotta find Charlie, ‘cause he’s got the map. It’s a secret map, like in the pirate movies.

I’ll be the last president of the United States. Do you know how that feels, son?

We’re gonna need a bigger plane.

You do not have clearance. You must abort.

This book is part of our legacy now. Why? Because I’m reading it.

My dad’s on a cruise ship out there. But I guess you already knew that, didn’t you?

I didn’t even kiss a boy until I was in college.

Do you want to be responsible for the extinction of the human race?

He was my friend, and he died in vain.

Goddamn it, I told you to stay up there with Mom.

We’re gonna die. We’re gonna die.

Great job. You light the way, and I’ll get the cable.

And just this morning we worked it out: Somehow we all have relatives in Wisconsin. The end.

Christopher Orr is a senior editor of The New Republic.