“Hmmm, Rapture.”

Do you think the elimination of people constitutes the “end of the world?” I sure as hell don’t. Frankly, I believe the world would be just fine without us, better even, with demonstrable improvement every day we’re gone.

All this ‘end is near’ talk reminds me that doomsayers need to speak for themselves and not for every living creature on the face of the earth. Frankly, we are all culpable. We immediately think the world has no meaning without us in it. This sort of arrogance drives me crazy. So much so, I wrote a novel about it. Entitled The Last Generation, it imagines a world where people can no longer bear children. The book’s tagline: “It’s not the end of the world. It’s just the end of us.”

Years later, Alan Weisman wrote The World Without Us, which explored these ideas even further. It was far more popular than my book and almost as good!

Still, mine is a minority opinion. Most people tend to believe in some form of human manifest destiny. It goes something like this: We possess souls and other creatures don’t, therefore we have dominion over them and everything else under the sun. Non-believers can substitute “intellect” for “souls.” Either way, when it comes to our perceived superiority even normal (and presumably smart) people can be as sanctimonious as Glenn Beck, as unbridled as Donald Trump, and as relentless as any given dictator. We say we deserve ‘our place in the sun’ (at the expense of other lesser organisms) merely because we exist.’ We mistake the “right to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness” as a license to commit all manner of atrocities, big and small, many without even thinking. The bible tells us we are created in God’s image so naturally we are in charge of everything else.

Like you, I didn’t particularly want to perish on Saturday but I’m calling bullshit on the arrogant position that if the Rapture did occur it would have meant the end of the world. Like hell.


For all its awesomeness, the advent of social media has ruined at least one thing (albeit minor) I used to love: the end-of-the-year list.

There was always something highly addictive about reading my favorite columnist’s top (and especially bottom!) ten choices in music, movies, books and the like. Not anymore. Mostly because I don’t have a favorite newspaper or magazine columnist. And that’s mostly because I don’t have a favorite magazine or newspaper. Not anymore. Now I rip through websites, blogs and magazines like some sort of content zombie. I still get off on lists but not nearly as much as BTI (Before The Internet).

Besides, now I tend to aggregate the results. I look for patterns and tendencies as opposed to details and specifics. I learned this behavior from the web. Take the website Rotten Tomatoes, for example. Here you can peruse countless reviews for any given movie as well as get the cumulative score on its greatness or lacking there of. Big deal you say. Actually it is. Not only has social media diminished the power and value of any one critic it has also made critics out of us all. Reread that last sentence. I’ve emboldened it for you! It is no doubt the most important one in this essay. Thanks to Twitter, Facebook, MySpace, WordPress, Blogspot and countless other entities everyone, and I mean everyone, is now a critic. Therefore, I don’t think end-of-the-year lists are all that interesting, unless, of course, one analyses them for patterns and tendencies!

Reflect for a moment…Remember when you actually gave a shit what Roger Ebert thought about a movie? Or Richard Corliss? Or Rolling Stone? Who? What?

Exactly. Which brings me to my final point and it is not a little one: We have all become a focus group. God help us.

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