Apparently, through some rather incredible and oddly parallel set of mistakes, the ending of the world will not happen on December 21st. Instead, it appears the world has already ended on November 10th. The mistake is a moment of some embarrassment for the experts involved–all of whom seem to have been taken in.
Protests have broken out throughout the globe demanding that leaders cease their war efforts. As one German Green Party member noted, “Look if the world has already ended, what’s the point of going on with all these wars. I mean, really. Think about it. All this killing—how can it possibly help now?”
Fox News, MSNBC, and other cable shows have turned to academic philosophers to help explain the implications. In the main—and the Anglo-American philosophical community seems to be of one mind here—whether the world ends on December 21st or has already ended on November 10th is, as one Oxford don put it, “really (really) inconsequential. Mere facticity. One thing is clear, however: Insofar as the world ended on November 10th, nothing that has happened since is of any significance.” As another Oxford don put it, “After November 10th, it’s all been gravy actually. So if you’ve won an award or you got an article placed somewhere really good, well bully for you. It’s extra. A little bit more. Of course, it doesn’t count.”
I asked the Oxford don, what philosophical strains looked promising in light of the world having ended. At first, he was non-plussed by the question, but quickly recovered: “Basically, if the world were to go on—which quite clearly, it can’t because, well you know, it’s ended—existentialism would be the only remaining option. Asked what he thought about this, the Oxford don replied, “Well, you know, existentialism—it’s mostly French.”
Brian Leiter posted one final entry on his blog: “The rankings are in. The final world rankings are in. Chicago is number one. I AM NUMBER ONE.”
The most negatively affected group are the Nihilists who seem to have lost their entire program. “We all feel really deflated here,” said Karl Osmann—the red-haired German leader of Nihilism Plus. I caught up with him in a condo in East Frankfurt. He was sitting an overstuffed chair in a darkened room gulping single malt from a bottle of Laphroaig. “How would you feel?” he added. “We’ve lost everything. Everybody else had their day, you know. The Christians. The Marxists. The Hugenots. They all had their shot. And now for us—it’s too late. It’s like nihilism never really had a chance. We’re all really bummed here.”
I interrupted my interview with Karl to take a phone call from Tom Frades, CEO and Chairman of NASCAR. His outlook seemed more upbeat. Frades announced that NASCAR will continue the Indy 500 as scheduled—except basically the race will now go on forever.
“You mean around and around?”
“So, uninterrupted—forever? ”
I mentioned the NASCAR news to Karl Osmann. He cracked a weathered smile around his smoldering Gitanes and said, “Well, we’ll take support anywhere we can get it. We love NASCAR. And we are grateful that people are still trying.”
“Any thoughts of a possible merger?”
“Not at this time,” said Osmann.
Thomas Thompson, President and CEO of the Chamber of Commerce, was also contacted He was characteristically succinct: “You know the Mayans were also small businessmen. You get that—right?”
Sisyphus was contacted by phone by my assistant, Francesca. (Francesca is new with us and is just getting started so please be patient. ) In any event, Francesca reported a tense conversation. Apparently, Sisyphus exploded in fury as soon as he got on the phone: “I knew it. I f-ing JUST knew it,” he said. “I’m just glad that the end didn’t happen before November 10th. Otherwise, well—you see the point? But does anybody ever think of calling me? Uh? ‘Hey let’s give Sisyphus a call? Make sure, he doesn’t waste his time?’ No. Never happens. They never give me a thought. I am outta here.”
The world was asked why it had ended and what would take its place. As to the former, apparently, there is no reason. “Just a change. Last year, we all went down to Aruba. This year, we just decided that ending it all would be nice. Don’t read anything into it.” As for the anticipated replacement, the world thinks it will look a lot like a 1950’s bubble gum machine. No one knows why–indeed, no one knows why generally and the world expressed the weary hope that, in the future, people will stop asking.