We wrote in the 90's that Martha Stewart did more for unnecessary consumption and Chinese growth than any government policy. White suburban households and ex-agrarian Chinese owe her a lot. Oprah, however, became the universal gate keeper of all that was wanted/needed in the United States of Stuff. Not only would Oprah tell us what to read, want and empathize about, she would hand out the desirable to "true believers" in the West Loop of Chicago. (She once caused the overload shutdown of a friend's catering business when she included their brownie on her Christmas list.)
The bull market in "The End of the World" is more than a 2012 Mayan countdown. This is a bubble blow off in the Rapture that went into correction after the Millennial muff. Oprah's last show is scheduled for 4 days after whatever the billboard pictured above is advertising. The U.S. debt "ceiling" bumps up the week prior. I feel like it's all tied together. The world is not going to end. The bill for decades of competitive consumption has just arrived at the Baby Boomer's table. Did you enjoy the buffet? Wafer thin mint?
The medical, rather than economic, definition of consumption is apropos. Consumption is the progressive wasting away of the entity from lack of breath. No gargantuan level of "electronically marked up bank balances" - in the words of the Chairman - can recharge the Post-Oprahcalyptic pull back. The conspiracy theories, paranoia and impending doom juxtaposed against technological advances and mind numbing entertainment are emotions only Pynchon could appreciate. And thus, before "a screaming comes across the sky", I will leave you with this Easter thought for life "Beyond the Zero."
"Nature does not know extinction, all it knows is transformation." - Wernher von Braun