Essay: Metaphors of The World, Unite!

World, Unite!

Forty-eight intellectuals from around the world recently assembled to help celebrate the sesquicentennial of Boston University by trying to find a metaphor for the age in which we live. It was an elegant game, but also inadvertently right for an age of television and drugs, in which the world is reduced to a sound bite or a capsule, a quick fix of meaning.

"Postmodern Age" has always been an empty description, and "Postindustrial Age" was a phrase about as interesting as a suburban tract. They are not metaphors anyway, but little black flags of aftermath. An age that is "post"-anything is,...

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