Monday, April 08, 2013

The End is Not, So Long as We Can Say “This is the End”

Carlos Lozada:

So, men may rise again, free markets may survive, power may concentrate, lawyers may thrive and sex may go forth and multiply. As Vassar’s Hsu put it to me, this type of idea “works best when it’s somewhat self-aware of its limitations.”

Except the entire genre undercuts that impulse. The more grandly you proclaim the end, and the more vast and undefined the thing that is ending, the easier it is to kill off. That’s why we see essays like Peter Theil’s “The End of the Future,” as ambitious in scope as it is dubious in argument.

If you’re contending that something specific has ended — well, the specific is measurable, observable and debatable. Specificity implies expertise. Generality is accountable to no one.

So let’s get it over with and declare, once and for now, the end of everything.

Meta-humor like this makes me snicker. Of course, let me remind you that I already pronounced a time of death on such pretentious portentousness. Or portentous pretentiousness. No, wait, had it right the first time. Whatever.