Entering Sector D

Henry Allen: There’s something about the word “disembowel.” Or “depravity,” or “disfigurement” — about so many words that begin with the letter “d.” Divorce, destitution, doubt, drugs, dirt, dwindle. So many of them are on our lips just now — though not “disembowel,” and we should be thankful for that much. Once more, as a nation, we have entered Sector D.

As in: debacle, depression, debt and debauchery.

Which is to say: mission unaccomplished in Iraq, world stock markets on tumble-dry, subprime mortgages imploding, Britney Spears.

People watch their houses plummet in value and say: “We’ll just have to make do.”

Do. D. Do as in doom, which is mood spelled backward, as in the national mood that dotes on rising global temperatures, falling test scores, and death from diseases such as mutant tuberculosis strewn across the continent by defiant airplane passengers.

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