More to the point, it suits the current fashion for the apocalyptic. Hardly a day goes by that some headline doesn't warn us about impending environmental disaster. Remember The Day After Tomorrow? Forget terrorists. Don'tcha know the real threat is people living in the suburbs driving around in SUVs? It was bad old humans just like you and me - not fanatics with bombs strapped to their bodies - who brought about the ruin described in The Road. You can't mistake the message of the book's last paragraph: It wouldn't have happened if those people had been ecologically righteous.
Of course, as D.H. Lawrence pointed out in the last book he wrote, Apocalypse, those who warn of apocalypse secretly crave it, the way puritans tend to be turned on by the very vices they so loudly denounce.
The Road is just the latest installment in the pornography of despair.I am not sure I agree with Frank's argument. Certainly, common people are not a spot on terrorists when it comes to threatening civilization, but to make a comparison itself is facile. The point here is not terrorism at all, a wholly different phenomenon, but ecological stability. The choices that we make today will have a bearing on how future generations survive on the planet. Climate change is a reality in today's world and columnists from the FT's Martin Wolf to Time's Alex Perry have been drawing attention to the ways in which it is changing our present and future. Perry has gone on to say that conflicts like Darfur and Rwanda could be the result of "a contest between too many people on too little land".
It's nobody's case to justify apocalyptic predictions, but look at it as a literary technique that a writer employs to drive his point home. When we speak of Animal Farm, we don't actually think a Stalinist republic of the animals is possible, but the technique works nevertheless. Is it because we are able to anthropomorphize the context? Similarly, a movie such as The Day After Tomorrow or a book like The Road, while being exaggerative, may have helped in rousing a few indifferent souls to the tangible reality of climate change.