Joe Donatelli was procrastinating one day. So he combed through The Atlantic in search of stories about “the end of” something. He found more than 75 examples.
But The Atlantic’s not the only culprit. Here’s a list of things Slate has declared done:
The End of Roementum
The End of Facts
The End of a Played-Out Ad Campaign?
The End of Moore’s Law
The End of the BSD
The End of Fukuyama
The End of Welfare Reform
The End of Summer Vacation
The End of “Anthony Weiner, Front-Runner”?
The End of Retail
The End of Dixiecratic Louisiana
The End of New York’s Gilded Age
The End of North Korea?
The End of History
The End of Republican-Muslim Outreach
The End of Mystery
The End of the Nuclear Age
The End of the British Invasion
The End of the World as We Know It?
The End of White Southern Democrats in the House
Is it ever okay to use “the end of” in a headline? Perhaps in those rare cases when something truly has ended. Even then, though, the phrase is played out, a hyperbolic cliché that provides little clues as to what the story’s about.
The Atlantic and Slate are but two examples. Publications new and old use “the end of” to appeal to our interest in things going away. On Google, the phrase garners over 18 billion search results, including a piece on Slate about how declaring things dead is dead.