Found Object: The Rant, dated November 1, 2000
One of Grand Valley’s student publications was a dubious collection of journalism known as “The Rant.” I don’t remember most of the things they covered; I think I stopped paying attention to its existence after Freshman year, and never did more than laugh at it anyway. (Note: it’s possible that The Rant was supposed to be a satire. If so, well, The Onion it ain’t.)
Case in point, their “Special Election Issue,” November 1, 2000. (Vote Nader!) The standards for journalism are so high that only one writer in this particular issue attached his full name. Even the “From the Editor” article, which says that hot sauce is Texas’ only useful export, is only signed “Kevin.”
The one signed article, though, is my all time favorite piece of writing ever. And so, presented in full, “A Thought” by Patrick Rich.
The American Empire is destined to fall. All great empires reach a state when they can no longer expand, and must contract, leaving room for the rise of the next great state. Something to think about…I heard somewhere that the ancient Greeks refused to learn Latin, but the Romans had no qualms with learning Greek. Greeks felt superior, even though they weren’t, and decided they didn’t need to learn some barbarian language. The guy I heard this from then added something – the Japanese are learning English, but Americans see no reason to learn Japanese.
In ancient Greece it took days for a message to go from one city to another. In Rome, it took weeks for a message to travel from one edge of the Empire to another. In America, it takes seconds for a piece of information to circle the world several times. With progress, the time needed to communicate an idea or news has diminished. Greece and Rome required long periods of time for communication, and their empires lasted a goodly amount of time. In America we communicate with deliberate speed. If the speed of communication is a factor in empire longevity, we can see that America is destined to die any day now. We communicate four times as fast, so why shouldn’t our empire die four times as fast? It’s the spread of ideas and events that leads to the fall of an empire. Perhaps this high-speed information superhighway is doing nothing more than destroying America?
And there you have it. America is doomed because we’re not studying Japanese and because of the Internet.
Unless, of course, you vote Nader in the 2000 election.