I’ve just returned from a relaxing, computer-free vacation in parts unknown. Now that I am reconnected to my favorite newspapers and websites, I am forced to conclude: Doom is right around the corner.
One of the first opinion pieces I noticed upon my return aired out the tired question: “Is the Broadway musical doomed?” Oddly, this article ran just before the successful Tony Awards broadcast that — Robert De Niro’s curious “Sweeney Todd” riff notwithstanding — looked like fun and garnered decent television ratings.
Once you start looking, doom is everywhere. “Kim Jong Un Knows North Korea is DOOMED,” the defiantly un-authoritative Daily Express tabloid blared last week. Really? I wonder what Kim knows, because if North Korea was a stock, I would be buying some right now. Kim just completed a star turn through Singapore’s duty-free paradise and found time for a peace-in-our-time chinwag with the leader of what no one would bother calling the free world.
Doomed? Throw me into Kim’s briar patch! He got to use Dad’s — well, China’s — Boeing 747 for a super fun road trip, and Singapore picked up the hotel tab! Plus his new friend Donald wants to build condos on Kim’s coastline. (“Boy, look at that view.”)
Is this what life is like at the grown-ups table? I suspect Kim plans to book many more historic summits in the weeks and months to come.
“Is Seattle Doomed?” Forbes magazine asked in a recent, endless thumb-sucker. Well if they don’t fire Pete Carroll, they’re doomed, everyone knows that. Oh, wait; Forbes thinks the entire city of Seattle, not just their anemic Seahawks football team, may be doomed. The magazine has an astonishing scoop, revealing that Seattle in January is colder that Houston, Miami, or Los Angeles, and that the city receives the same amount of sunlight as Cleveland.
Good grief. Had he known that, I bet Pete Carroll wouldn’t have moved there in the first place.
With the World Cup barely under way, I read that the host Russian team is “doomed to fail,” which (a) is not exactly earth-shattering news and (b) might be forestalled by some innovative new Putin-inspired doping schemes — who knows?
Separately, the determinedly non-authoritative London Sun tabloid reports that England’s soccer team “is doomed already” at the World Cup. Why? Because psychologists, using facial recognition software, have concluded that British forwards don’t look happy enough in posed photos, and their defenders don’t look mean enough. “Both anger and happiness are emotions associated to dominance,” researcher Astrid Hopfensitz told the newspaper.
Portugal and Germany have the required looks. England doesn’t. Russia? We know they are pre-doomed, as it were.
Other recent portents of doom: The Catholic Citizens of Illinois issued a press release, “Why the #MeToo Movement is Doomed to Fail.” Why? “Unless it denounces the hook-up culture, it will merely reduce consensual promiscuity into acts of mechanical consent.”
Also doomed: Immigration compromise (says Mother Jones magazine); Theresa May (says the authoritative Times of London) and, well, everyone, according to the Doomed & Stoned music website, which promotes “the post-Sabbath school of doom, drone, heavy psych, and stoner metal.”
Are we doomed? Nah. Call me a cock-eyed optimist, but they managed to save the Necco Wafer while I was off twiddling my thumbs. There is hope for civilization after all.Alex Beam’s column appears regularly in the Globe. Follow him on Twitter @imalexbeamyrnot.