Wednesday, January 16

For reasons not always entirely clear to me, I'm a sometime subscriber to The Economist. The subscription will lapse for a while, after I look at the renewal notice while thinking about one too many agonizingly tone-deaf photo captions or quasi-contrarian-reasonable-fiscal-conservative political stances, and then one day I'll be looking at the list of magazines you can get for your tiny heap of airline miles just before they lapse and I'll think well, this is all basically shit, but I guess I might as well get The Economist again, because they're sort of doing actual reporting and such, and unlike Standard US Market Fundamentalists, they aren't completely out of their brains.

I came home tonight to what I think is the most recent issue. It features The Thinker posed on a ceramic toilet with a large thought bubble which says

Will we ever invent anything this useful again?

and then down below and to the left, just where the toilet ought to be plumbed in to something, is a caption which says "The growing debate about dwindling innovation".

I don't particularly need to pick on The Economist. For all I know, there's a substantive article behind this skull-hurting cover. But the cover itself does strike me as a symptom of something: A kind of detachment from on-the-ground techno-social reality. I mean, it has been the God Damned Gosh Almighty No Shit Science Fiction Future since some time in the mid-1990s, a fact which has been obvious to any reasonably competent observer since, I'm going to say, 2007 at the absolute latest. There remains a lively debate to be had about which GDGANSSFF we're getting (I'm not holding my breath for something on the utopian end of the scale), but here we are.