I have a new piece out at Fortnight today. This one, in keeping with the dire overtones of the last, is all about our fascination with the apocalypse and mass destruction. Featuring awesome artwork by Matt McCann! Brief sample:
We’re pretty fucked, and we know it.
Two weeks ago, I wrote about the grim economic and political situation in which our generation has found itself. If the present is indeed a culmination of the trends of the last two decades, then it would seem to be no mere coincidence that our era has witnessed a phenomenal rise across all forms of media in the formerly obscure subgenres of nihilism, post-apocalypticism and dystopian fiction. And even less surprising is how avidly our generation has consumed the stuff.
We were born into upheaval and collapse. We were raised during the height of the Cold War, and were toddlers when the Soviet Union disintegrated and Germany reunited. For those of us raised in the United States, then came the boom years of the Clinton era. Even to our less-than-fully-conscious minds, things seemed to be going pretty well. At least one, if not both our parents (or all four) had a job. We were safe from scary things like that Gorbyshave man, and this fantastic new thing called AOL was making our lives really interesting.
But as they say, “the night is darkest before dawn”—and, perhaps by the same token, the day is brightest at sunset. The unbelievable trauma that the destruction of the World Trade Center and the E-Ring of the Pentagon wrought on my nation was unparalleled in living memory. For our generation, it defined the beginning of our maturity, including attention to politics and global affairs…
Read the rest at Fortnight.