History is filled with movements, and moments in which those movements die.
Some of those moments are unintelligible, shuffling in real time with a hush, growing louder only with hindsight. Fifty years on, we look at these incidental events and say, “Ah, that was when it all changed.” Others are booming from their advent, arriving as death knells and then exiting successful in their purpose. Their mark is undeniable and unavoidable.
The blue marble we exist on is at once complicated and simple. The unflinching randomness that defines life has left humanity grasping for answers for millennia. But there’s one law of nature that always has been guaranteed, that always can be relied on: that of cause and effect. Things happen in this world, and yet more things happen in response. The trick is understanding which events have the most outsized impact.
Over the next week at The Ringer, we will explore these events—the moments that changed the world as we knew it, yes, but more specifically the ones that marked the ends of established eras and triggered the beginnings of then-unknown futures. Some will be overt and well-established: an entire industry course-correcting after boundaries were egregiously and irrevocably crossed, the spirit of a decade dying in the flames and dirty water of a music festival.
Others will be less trodden and perhaps more speculative: the feeling of something lost in the pouring of concrete in a desert; a slight tweak in coding that reverberates throughout the web; a simple pass of a basketball that might finally squash a movement and force one’s finger on the reset button. But all will entertain an immovable idea that when things die, there is someone or something that pulled the trigger.
Welcome to This Is the End Week.