The Big Ideas of 2012

The Fairy Tale

More choices than you can dream of.
The Fairy Tale
Beth Yarnelle Edward

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Your mom tells you a story before you go to bed and you believe it. She tells you that you can be anything you want to be when you grow up. She says that you are a unique and valuable individual and that you are to never forget it. She says that you are very lucky and the world is your oyster. And she is right. You live in an exceptional time. You will travel greater distances in a single day than most people only a century ago traveled their entire lives. You will have food choices that English kings and Ottoman princes couldn’t have imagined. You will casually flood your system to the point of illness with sugar, once the currency of the world and the prize of empires. You will live longer than any generation before. Your wardrobe will contain cloth from what was once beyond the reaches of the greatest civilizations. Broken bones won’t render you a cripple. If you were born a girl you can become a boy. If you were born a boy you can become a girl. You can break tradition without death. You can upgrade your biology and change your organs. You can assume any identity you wish. Her words comfort you into a wonderful sleep. She is careful not to explain that this oyster isn’t for all the children of the world or that such good fortune is making the Earth sick.

That would ruin the story.

—Darren Fleet

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