There were two noteable events last week that have something to say about the span of history that we inhabit.
The first, a march to protest inaction in the face of climate change, demonstrated that a lot of people all over the world are ready for someone to step up and do somthing before the apocalypse renders the point moot. The second, a small crowd outside of Area 51, proved that there are people willing to carry an internet joke all the way to its ridiculous conclusion.
These two overlapping events are somehow supremely au courant. They are freighted with importance but I can’t put my finger on exactly how and why outside of a sort of system-level knowledge that their juxtaposition means something. And I don’t know if it’s a positive or a negative meaning either.
On the one hand, both of these events are group actions created and organized using free online tools that are available to anyone with internet access. On the other hand both of these gatherings hint at something that looks very much like the fraying of civilization. I know, that’s hyperbolae. And yes this is a very incomplete thought, but something about those two things, their concurrence, their similarities, and their obvious disparities feels like a moment. The desperate attempt address a possible species-level threat juxtaposed with a joyfully nihilistic pursuit of nonsense, all crowd-sourced, all given media attention. It’s like a tableaux that simultaneously depicts everything good and bad about what the internet has brought us.