A historic cataclysm gets its lasting name after the fact, as detached perspective allows for a consensus. For example, the European war of 1914 to 1918 was first called The Great War, owing to the unprecedented mobilization of the belligerent states’ civilian populations. It was then called World War I after 1945, for obvious reasons. Similarly, the US-led action over Kuwait is now called by its Pentagon name “Desert Storm” or Gulf War I, but as I recall the talking heads’ TV chatter at the time, forgettable proposals were made such as “World War III” on account of the breadth of global coalition involved.
An exchange between Prospero and Caliban in William Shakespeare’s The Tempest caught my attention. If you are unacquainted with the play, Prospero is a Great White Patriarch ruling over an island. Caliban is a creature whom he sought to humanize only to have the thing try to rape his daughter.
The events were set in motion with Western Europe’s post-war forfeiture of her colonies in tandem with America’s desegregation of her schools. Things culminated with Obama’s second term and Merkel’s invasion of Europe. Will this era be called “The Tempest”?
Thou most lying slave,
Whom stripes may move, not kindness! I have used thee,
Filth as thou art, with human care, and lodged thee
In mine own cell, till thou didst seek to violate
The honour of my child.
O ho, O ho! would’t had been done!
Thou didst prevent me; I had peopled else
This isle with Calibans.