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A rumbling in your yard. A sudden thrash. The sound of stirring, late in humid night. Black, matted, domed head, snuffling through your trash; a sinewed, stooping back not-quite-upright. You shudder now, unlatching your back door— you pull it open, swallow, smell demise— there’s something out there, shuffling on all fours— a glowing and malodorous pair of eyes— an ape. Your cousin. Now reduced to things once left to lowly beasts—raccoons and squirrels. Consuming rancid chocolate drink, while strings of fur that reek like tombs are dripping pearls of prophecy: the grave awaits for you, too. You close the door and leave him to his Yoo-hoo. 🕹🌙🧸
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Stuff I’ve been enjoying lately
How do you make people believe something that’s obviously absurd? Tell them they’re Nazis if they don’t believe it, of course.
In Simon Edge’s satirical novel The End of the World Is Flat, a map-centered nonprofit finds itself with a massive problem on its hands: it’s achieved all its goals. Having originally set out to convince the world to turn away from the vaguely Eurocentric “Mercator projection map” (that one that makes Greenland look huge) in favor of the more equitable “Goode homolosine” or “orange peel” projection, they’ve now met with resounding success. This would be great for them—except, with nothing left to achieve, they’re all about to lose their jobs.
Enter a tech billionaire with bottomless pockets and a massive chip on his shoulder for Christopher Columbus.He’ll continue to bankroll them, he says, if they can use their clout to convince the populace that the world is actually flat. And so, the game is afoot: time to sow the soil with angry Twitter mobs, thought-terminating slogans, and inane academic blather. Before long, the Orange Peel Foundation has the U.K.—and the world—convinced that the idea of a “round earth” is really white supremacist propaganda and only out-and-out racists believe it.
It’s probably clear which obvious absurdities of our time Edge is satirizing here, but even beyond that, The End of the World is a hilarious, insightful parable about how the professionalization of activism and self-flattering “right side of history” thinking can lead people into destructive intellectual cul-de-sacs. I assumed I’d enjoy the book for those reasons alone—what I didn’t necessarily expect was how well The End of the World would work as a novel. Every character—even the villains—was sympathetic and memorable, and the plot (structured as sort of a cat-and-mouse thriller between muckraking journalists and scheming Orange Peel operatives) kept me up all night turning pages.
I tore through this book in about two days, and I suggest you do the same. 🕹🌙🧸
Yes, Captain Pedant, we all know that scholars knew the earth was round for thousands of years before Columbus. Don’t worry, the book addresses this as well.
Love the poem, and the emojis at the end made me laugh aloud. Emojis are a great addition to the sonnet form!
Ending up buying “The End of The World Is Flat” off the back of this. Devoured it in a few days, it’s a great social satire.