Wednesday, March 17, 2004

Wonderful Life 3 — Direct to Tape

The first “It’s a Wonderful Life” was a sentimental but inevitable movie much loved by my reactionary but good-hearted nephew. The second was Stephen Jay Gould’s paleontological romance about the weird critters in the Burgess Shale. The third, should it ever appear, would be a memoir about my career as an Epicurean god. There’s no getting around it. Here’s the shit pool and there’s the sign, “The Pig is In.”

Between the Big Bang and the Long Whimper, there will have been only the briefest instant of awareness in cosmic history. It’s almost too good to find yourself not only in the general vicinity of the only action in town, but with a front row seat. Even inside human history, the late 20th/ early 21st Century are surely privileged since, to speak of the sciences anyway, very little was understood before 1900 and the stuff that will get figured out after 2050 is likely to be small potatoes. The secrets of nature, like fossil hydrocarbons, are a wasting asset; but for the time being we get to drive SUVs.

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