Somewhere, long ago, someone probably said “People need to get their priorities straight! If we waste time painting on cave walls and coveting shiny rocks, our species is doomed!” But this reaction to current events has become increasingly prevalent, especially in recent months. Anytime something stupid happens in the Trump administration (so basically every day), people trot out prophesies of doom. Often they’ll make hamhanded Third Reich comparisons, or link to alarmist news articles and studies they’ve briefly skimmed. What they don’t do is, well, anything else. Anything helpful.
The news can be overwhelming, and sometimes the cynical reaction is the easy one that helps you get on with your day. My own default emotional state is soul-sucking existential dread, so I get it. But almost everyone who likes to posit that we’re doomed, in reaction to everything from a shooting to the transgender military ban, tries to present themselves as dispassionate observers who are above the fray of daily life, like Dr. Manhattan with hashtags.
There’s this tone that implies they’re smarter than everyone else, that they’re dropping profound truth bombs that we’re all too dumb or irrational to see. They talk about humanity like they’re not part of it, like by saying “The fact that more people use Instagram than Wolfram is proof that #humanityisdoomed #notgettinglaid.” They talk like they’ve evolved beyond us mere mortals and our petty problems, and they only grace us with their presence because they’re stuck with us. They should be discussing impenetrably deep concepts with beings of pure light and Mark Twain’s disembodied brain. Instead, fate has trapped them in Virginia.