by Joe DeMartino
Most of us will stare at it and see something gorgeous. Others will be quietly terrified -- the heavens rarely speak unless to say something, and nothing good can come of a message sent through the death of another solar system. Still others will marvel for a day, until the wonder of the thing recedes into banality, long before the star itself dims.
For at least one person -- and I don’t yet know who that is, but I’ll near-guarantee he or she exists -- the supernova won’t be inspiring, or terrifying, or banal. It’ll be an excuse. Time to go. Time for everyone to go.
Marshall Applewhite -- slight, wide-eyed, with the calm conviction of an airline pilot -- saw his excuse in the comet Hale-Bopp, whose passing was perhaps the most widely-observed celestial event in human history. Applewhite’s cult, Heaven’s Gate, counted among its beliefs the idea that the Earth was