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THE COELACANTH

    Once a coelacanth assumed a leading role in the Culture Wars.
    It undertook this charge out of a conviction that coelacanth society was losing its allegiance to time-hallowed truths, and doing so at an alarming rate. One day was proving to be “slippery slope” to another, it bubbled to itself and any other coelacanths willing to listen. Nothing was considered sacred and beyond challenge anymore as traditional values steadily lost their authority. Things had been better in the Cretaceous Period.
    Those were the days! The Cretaceous had none of the fuzzy relativism the coelacanth detected all around it now. There was none of today’s questioning of everlasting certainties and incessant discussion of “multiple perspectives.” There wasn’t much discussion of anything, nor was there much sense in proposing there should be, since the coelacanths inhabited a world where patterns of thought and behavior had been set in stone so far in the past it seemed they’d existed forever. Trusting to this confidence and a steadfast faith in the rightness of their bearings, the coelacanths had no trouble finding their way about in the lightless depths that were their home.
    What went wrong then? How had the greatest geologic period of all time come to such a disturbing close? Things had been fine right up until the moment when, in the space of a single decade, all that was good and right started falling apart. A single decade! Eons of self-assurance were undone as the coelacanth world inexplicably changed overnight, strayed from its rock-solid values, spun out of control, went straight to hell. It seemed every conviction and norm was called into doubt, and called into doubt precisely by those who had the least understanding of the “eternal principles that had given substance and solidity to the coelacanth way of life!”
    No matter how weak the link between the end of the Cretaceous and the decline and fall of nearly everything in the space of ten short years, the coelacanth always managed to find one. If the connection wasn’t obvious, it would declare in an exasperated, larger-than-usual burst of bubbles, you simply weren’t looking for it.     
    Matters were worse the closer one got to the surface. The light played funny tricks on the brain there. Nothing appeared as it should, and it was easy to lose track of all that had been obvious and beyond dispute for so long. What surely were dangerous hallucinations had already led many of the young and impressionable to begin seeing things differently. And worse yet, to believe what they saw was real! 
    If this continued, where would it end? Unless they adapted to a brighter, warmer world, what future could coelacanths expect? But wouldn’t trying to adapt to what was plainly a threat to all that a self-respecting coelacanth had come to stand for be worse than courting extinction by not changing in the slightest? 
    Of course it would! When life-defining verities handed down from the Cretaceous were at risk, to dither was to invite disaster. Time was running out to stiffen your fins and reverse this folly!
    “Back to the depths!” the coelacanth bubbled frantically. “Back to the depths or we’re doomed!”