End of Everything

October 10, 1994|By ANDREI CODRESCU

New Orleans -- The End of the World is coming, according to Harold Camping, a radio evangelist. A rabbi named Isser Weisberg thinks so, too. The comet slamming into Jupiter is his cue.

I've now sat through several ends of the world, most of them in San Francisco. It was embarassing to go home after the world didn't end. The things you did and said while waiting came back to haunt you. I remember telling a total stranger stuff I wouldn't tell an evangelist or a rabbi. That's the worst part about the end of the world: surviving it.

For a while, there was a big fashion in proclaiming the end of everything. Somebody declared the End of History. He seemed to be almost right when communism collapsed, but then it started all over again.

The End of Philosophy, which had been proclaimed by a bunch of French Deconstructionists, seemed to really hold for a while but then came the End of Deconstruction which was proclaimed some Post-Deconstructionists. Right now, one of the most famous Deconstructionists still alive is said to be deconstructing the very idea of Death, which is to say that he's proclaiming the End of the End.

The thing about the End of the World is that people never seem to have enough of it. As soon as they realize that one End hasn't happened, people start looking for another. It even occurs to people that all these prophets are phonies, but they still want more. This is a new kind of thing and it signals, in my opinion, the end of good sense.

Still, it's the end of this riff. It came, see?

B6 Andrei Codrescu is editor of ''Exquisite Corpse.''

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