-the FIN-DE-SIECLE is where it's at!


THE BIG DAY IS ALMOST HERE!   NEW YEAR'S EVE is just a hop, skip and a jump away, and WIT MEMO is already celebrating . . . celebrating a momentous and historic passage for which we've waited ALL OUR LIFE,  and which was an important milestone when it happened once before.

No, silly, it's not the MILLENNIUM, it's the FIN-DE-SIECLE, the end o'the century, the moniker hung on the hothouse flourishing of modern, decadent art, literature, music, and culture in general 100 years ago throughout Europe but especially in Vienna, and the attendant severing of ties with the past and hopeful-but-jaded optimism for Good Times to Come.  The anniversary of the FIN-DE-SIECLE has been mostly forgotten amid all the Millennial hullabaloo, but WIT MEMO says that oversight could be the BONER OF THE CENTURY.  For whereas the FIN-DE-SIECLE is a guaranteed PARTY, a good time that can be had by all, recent developments should convince anyone with even a fraction of a brain that the much-ballyhooed Millennium will be the most insidious letdown since MC met DONALD'S, a Bullshit Bad Trip to be avoided at all costs.

If you find that hard to swallow, then dumpster dive for one of five million free-trial AOL CDS that get pitched each month and tune in to the Conspiracists' CB radio popularly known as The Internet.  You'll see that while some folks plan the party to End All Parties,  plenty more are getting all dolled up for the End of the World.  The web crackles and hums with gloom-and-doomsayers who auger apocalypses authored by We haven't got a prayer!suspects running the gamut from short-sighted computer designers and space aliens to no less an esteemed personage than the Good Lord Herself.  Their splashy sky-is-falling sites have sprung up like toadstools after a summer rain; in sheer numbers they're giving the billion-or-so porn sites a run for their money, a feat that by itself merits some kind of prize.

Of all the dire consequences penciled in for December 31, none gets more dot-com play than The Big One, everyone's favorite monster-under-the-bed, the web weenie's bugaboo of choice, ol' mister Y2K hisself, the stroke-of-midnight seizing up of Everything Electric due to the failure of the bright boys who invented computers to anticipate that IF you're reading this on a pc, you're screwed!humankind might somehow survive through the end of the 1900's.  Thanks for the vote of confidence, guys.  You're probably fed up with hearing about Y2K, and what's more, you're not worried . . . how many computers could the darn thing actually affect anyway, with all the press it's gotten?  Five percent?  Ten percent?  No real harm done, right?

Guess again, Bucko.  Why, "if even only 2% of the world's computer systems fail to digest the new millennium date on 1 Jan 2000," advises www.revelations.org.za, we'll witness the total crippling of  "all major systems ... transportation ... communications" precipitating The End of "daily life as we know it!"  Stock markets, tax systems, power and telephone systems, planes, and "just about everything that involves a Kaboom!! moving electron will have crashed," according to the good folk over at www.garysouth.com, who sure have a way with words:  "You and countless billions of other lost souls will soon perish in mortal agony," they sagely counsel, noting that all who're even vaguely computer literate have already converted their cash into gold and staked out timeshares in remote mountain caves.

But as it turns out, Y2K is the least of our worries: "Y2K Problems ... are insignificant compared to everything else that is coming!  Check out what God is going to do!" or so said www.goodnews.org.au/endtimes before they hightailed it and took their site with them a coupla weeks back.  As if the big turd that the world's computers are about to drop in the punch bowl wasn't enough, we can also look forward to a good old-timey You've seen these pamplets before!Biblical Apocalypse, the Second Coming set piece foretold by Revelations, what revelations.org.za dubs "the start of the Biblically prophesied time of 'Great Tribulation' and world turmoil, to precede the establishment of new Universal Rule by the Creator God of Israel."  And don't look for a piddling flood or a few locusts, either; we're talkin' earthquakes, volcanoes enveloping the world in smoky darkness, nothing less than the "end of times," the day when "the antichrist will reign supreme."  The coincidence of Y2K and the Biblical Apocalypse is no mere coincidence, what with "The 'Millennium Bug' Computer Problem in the Bible Codes."  According to the "Apocalypse Millennium 2000 Millenniumistic & Xfilean Pages"  we've had several thousand years advance notice of Y2K, in the form Hebrew lettering at Numbers 7:12-80 spelling out phrases like Helluva chip!!"millennium bug," "year 2000 computer problem," "bank electric power grid," and "destruction US government."  If only we'd paid attention during Sunday School . . .  it was right there all along in black and white!  Never mind that the year 2000 shouldn't have any special religious significance, since there's no evidence that GOD operates in BASE 10, and it's only that the Biblical Second Coming is scheduled to last 1,000 years and is hence called "the Millennium" that has caused its confusion with the other "Millennium" slated to begin shortly.  That logic hasn't a prayer against the arrogant egotism of certain Cassandras presumptuous enuf to expect God to graciously schedule the Second Coming for their lifetimes, right now, instead of, say, five hundred billion gazillion years from now.

And if the one-two punch of Y2K and Armageddon isn't enough to keep you occupied, then there's always the Usual Gang of doomsday crackpots swarming to the Millennium like mosquitoes at a Fourth-of-July picnic.  The subway-gassin' Japanese AUM SHINRI KYO cult, the late, up-in-smoke BRANCH DAVIDIANS, the HEAVEN'S GATE spaceship-behind-the-comet suicides, their tenets all tinged with dark Millennial forebodings.  Throw into this stew a dash of NOSTRADAMUS, who's said to have predicted a Fiery Cataclysm of the meteor variety for this summer, and you've got the Nostradamus would know what image is loading!Chicken Little waterfront just about covered.  (Thus did fashion designer PACO RABANNE recently announce plans to vamoose PARIS to avoid its August 11 obliteration by a falling MIR spacestation.  Surely Nostradamus must have foreseen that everybody leaves Paris during August??)  If all this tribulation has you on pins and needles, it's comforting to know that Millennial counseling is available from "DR. WILL MILLER," sometime Court-TV guest commentator, who counts among his titles Radio Personality, Author and Corporate Speaker.  He's identified seven "millennium-based mental illnesses," including "Second Coming Anxiety Disorder" and "Apocalypsia Nervosa," that he benevolently diagnoses at his yes-he's-serious site, drwill.com.

So why is all this foolishness slated to come down when the clock strikes 2000?  WIT MEMO says it's all those zeros.  We all love a nice round number.  It's like getting to see your car turn 100,000 miles.  Hence the populist shunning of curmudgeon commentators who shrilly whine that the REAL Millennium won't be here for another year, January 1, 2001 --  as if anyone gives a flying fuck.  Something about there never having been a Year Zero.  (Says who? Couldn't 1 B.C. have been Year Zero?  Show me ONE ancient coin, stone tablet, hieroglyphic, or parchment that any archeologist has EVER uncovered which bears the year "1 B.C.")  That's ANOTHER reason why the Millennium sucks donkey dingus:  no one's even sure when the damn thing is.  Plus, plenty more don't know how it's spelled . . . a web search for the common-but-wrong "Millenium" turns up nearly as many sites as the correct two-N spelling.

SO WIT MEMO says IF-YOU-SEE-KAY the Millennium . . . and bring on the FIN-DE-SIECLE! That's the party WE'RE having.  The FIN-DE-SIECLE beats the Millennium hands down on all counts.  For one, the FIN-DE-SIECLE was a helluva lot Sometimes a picture is just a picture!more fun . . .  a time when "European high culture entered a whirl of infinite innovation" . . . a "ruthless centrifuge of change" that saw "sexual openness" challenging "the moralistic stance of the 19th century."  ("Fin-De-Siecle Vienna : Politics and Culture," Carl E. Schorske, Vintage Books, 1981).  The FIN-DE-SIECLE was a decadent cultural explosion, the Salad Days of thinkers, artists and writers the likes of GUSTAV KLIMT (he of "The Kiss" fame), sex-crazed SIGMUND FREUD, and soon-to-be-reacclaimed ARTHUR SCHNITZLER, whose Beardsley, by God!controversial sex-swap play "La Ronde" was used as a pretense to stage antisemitic demonstrations in 1921, and whose "Rhapsody - A Dream Novel" is this year the basis forDanae by Gustav Klimt - Hot Stuff!! STANLEY KUBRICK's screen sizzler "Eyes Wide Shut."  Ditto creative folk like AUBREY BEARDSLEY, OSCAR WILDE, and HENRI  DE TOULOUSE-LAUTREC.  (While you're at it, check out some dyn-o-mite Fin-De-Siecle erotic art ).  What's more, celebrating the end of the century makes more sense than a Millennium party.  Think about it:  every notable development of the past thousand years -- the mastery of electrons, the sanctity of individual Zzzzzzippp!!!!life and the removal of nobility from warfare, not to mention rock music, liquid-cooled Japanese motorcycles, Sierra Nevada Celebration Ale, and pizza with cheese in the crust -- occurred during THIS century.

SO stick with Millennium Fever and wake up with a bad case of doomsday cults, the breakdown of civilization, cataclysms, meteors, and the wrath of a Vengeful God.  Or make the bold switch to the FIN-DE-SIECLE, and Trade Up to art, literature, decadence, and, while we're at it, LOVE and SEX  . . . old-fashioned, finger-lickin', never-went-out-of-style sex.  Whaddya think ANTON CHEKHOV had in mind when he wrote-

The fin de siecle woman ... must be independent, clever, elegant, intellectual, bold, and a little depraved.  Depraved within limits, a little; for excess, you know, is wearisome.  You ought not to vegetate ... you ought not to live like everyone else, but to get the full savor of life, and a slight flavor of depravity is the sauce of life.  Revel among flowers of intoxicating fragrance, breathe the perfume of musk, eat hashish, and best of all, love, love, love. ( "A Woman's Kingdom," 1894)

WIT MEMO sez, a-friggin-men!  Could you possibly imagine anyone ever waxing so rhapsodic over "the MILLENNIUM woman?!?"  Please.  Nothing could be less about sex than the Millennium, the Millennium is the opposite of sex, as the male Heaven's Gaters made clear when they voluntarily excised their testicles. SO hang on to your family jewels and step into the sensual decay of Vienna a hundred years ago, and of America today!  . . .  We guarantee, you'll need 'em!  The choice is yours.


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