Every fundamentalism focuses on end times, and Armageddon is, in a sense, a rhetorical trope, an emphatic and overwhelming conclusion, meant to wrap up and make tidy the mistaken wanderings of history. For a fundamentalist the end is one of the forms desire takes, a passion no different from lust or avarice, intense with longing and the need for fulfillment and relief. It’s like they’re horny for apocalypse. They get off on denouements, which partly explains why Hell House never amounted to much more than a series of murderous conclusions. It focused only on that part of a story where life finds itself fated. Inside every act a judgement was coiled. Real people with their ragged and uncertain lives, their stumbling desires, their bleak or blessed futures, would only break into the narrative, complicating the story, dragging it on endlessly.
Being suicidal is really tiring. A lot of suicides are so lacking in affect and so lethargic that they aren’t able to kill themselves until their mood improves—spring, for that reason, has the highest rate of what people in the business call “completed” suicides.
The canker of self-consciousness has been long in me, so like a lot of writers I not only do a thing, I see myself doing it too—it’s almost like not being alone. That morning our hero skipped in his skivvies down to the shore of the sea . . . it was dark . . . the fog . . . Storytelling!
Meanwhile, back in the real world, my first instinct is a sort of stupid ducking motion I’ve learned from the movies, and I have the sure sense I’m going to be shot in the neck, where I feel particularly exposed and vulnerable.
We shoot our heroes and enjoy peripeteia as a spectacle akin to sport and perhaps harshly disavowing the past protects us from the disappointment of our outsized hopes--who knows, really, but shifts in taste don't fully account for the phenomenon. At any rate, nearly everything urgent and alive becomes doo-wop down the road, at least in this country's pop culture, and along the way a somewhat self-hating irony lays waste not only to the work but to the desires it once carried. It's like we die into adulthood.