Saturday, March 29, 2008

Ten items to change the world? I think not

The new issue of Time touts what it claims as 10 items to change the world’s future.

Color me skeptical.

First, the list in general sounds like kinder, gentler American exceptionalism in some ways.

Second, some, like the “new austerity,” have been heralded, prophesized or dreaded in print for 20 years or more, as Time itself knows. Thank St. Alan of Greenspan for “bubbling” off that new austerity to the next generation, and expect Americans to keep trying that for as long as they can.

Third, most people will NOT be doing handstands over the elimination of customer service, item No. 2 on the list. Self-serve grocery checkouts offer an example. We didn’t get a discount when stores went to this; instead, Kroger, et al, just pocketed more money. At the same time, the kiosks don’t always work perfectly.

As far as phone-based customer service, what, are we going to work entirely with computer voice-activated programs over the telephone, or keystrokes online?

And, some are just over-hyped, such as “Re-Judaizing Jesus,” which isn’t a “future” thing at all, but simply the latest evolution of a hermeneutic that is more than 30 years old.

As far as this one actually changing anything, fuhgeddaboudit. Christian Righters still cozy up to Israel just because they believe in a literal millennium, Jews have not suddenly cozied up to Jesus, and Muslim fundamentalism has been on the rise.

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