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Afterword: Remembering the Future

We hear much talk today about how things have changed, changed forever apparently, in that apocalyptic tone so generously (and so often) bestowed upon events by media pundits and politicians alike. As these announcements of dramatic change (to come) are made in the present it is obviously impossible to know if some future time will share the predictive confidence and identify a particular past moment as decisive. To make a claim or prediction about the future is not only to believe that its coming is an inevitability, but also to have a real investment in the way things might eventually turn out. It is a bit like a manifesto; it is implicitly assumed that the rhetorical flourish will help fuel the transformation of prediction into fact. To say that things have changed forever is, in some ways, to hope that things have changed forever.