Saturday, October 3, 2020

Junctures and Posterity

When I was a child, I would eagerly perk up at major occasions – elementary school graduations, round number birthdays, etc. – but not for normal reasons. Most people get excited about such things just because they’re taught to. It’s just What We Do. Me, I rose to these occasions because of the prospect of time travel.

If time machines were ever to be invented at any point in the distant future, my descendants might be checking me out at such moments. And, more conventionally, my future self would be teleporting back via memory. So I felt a responsibility to do a good job, and to take really good pictures with my eyes.

Time travel isn't just about bodies transporting in from other eras. I didn’t spot any audience members in silver jumpsuits at the Apollo 11 launch, but I could sense a certain pressure of attention, beyond the present-day attention, and I identified it as the presence of posterity.

This weekend, with the unimaginably twisted and bottomlessly stupid folly of this administration’s infection and infection super-spreading, and with Republicans and Fox News managing to muster grave concern for the president while continuing - because they're fully committed - Operation Maskless Freedom (I made up that name), I feel that same weight of posterity’s attention. And I’m trying to take good pictures.

I know historians will get it wrong, and that the mangling will happen sooner rather than later. I took good pictures in the weeks after 9-11, and predicted that we’d view the event, in retrospect, as a very bad, sad day when the towers went down....even though the real horror was in the waiting for the next shoe to drop. For a few months, I brought a flashlight and a transistor radio with me whenever I ventured into Manhattan, just in case I needed to track news. I was right, and more quickly than expected: 20 years later, it's remembered as a very bad, sad day when the towers went down.

So here’s how I predict they’ll get the present situation wrong:
Those barbaric historical people sure were whacky and dumb. We moderns would never let that happen.


It fills me with joy to be made to look like a shnook by people being way smarter than I can be. This Tweet is so much better than what I just wrote:

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