Crystal ball persuasion

Back at the beginning of the year, I posted 5 predictions for 2009. I’ll just note that I was unequivocally correct on numbers 1 and 5. Number 4 is kind of right, in that I think Mrs. Obama has been putting herself out there as a champion for children, especially children of color and in the working class. She’s not sticking to uncontroversial events like book expos on the Mall (much as I appreciated having the chance to get my Sandman #1 signed by Neil Gaiman himself, so thank you, Laura). I still think Jon Stewart might leave the Daily Show, since there are other big gaps in the late night time slots now—can anyone argue that 5 nights of Jay Leno at 10 o’clock aren’t 5 nights too many? As for number 3, well, I think the health care bill in Congress is testimony to the forces against abortion, but I wouldn’t call them quiet, and I wouldn’t say they rise—yet—to the level of vitriol we’ve seen against getting gay married.

What I absolutely failed to understand last January was how ridiculously insane and ludicrous everything would get. It was one thing to blame sub-prime borrowers for the housing market failure. Who doesn’t like to pick on people with bad credit, after all? But really, death panels? “You lie!” shouted in the chamber during the freaking State of the Nation address? The entire Fox News staff schlocking gold as an investment for the masses? Hannity’s time-lapse magic to exaggerate the tea baggers’ crowds at a rally in DC? And hell, the Tea Baggers? I couldn’t dream this crap up!

Or could I? Okay, I’ll take a stab at it. I’ll try and springboard off of some of the more outlandish headlines from 2009. Feel free to chime in with your own flash forwarding stories for next year.

1. Glenn Beck, Tom O’Reilly, and Rush Limbaugh officially begin a new third political party, called the Gold Fox Party getting Sarah Palin and Mitt Romney to agree to run again in 2012. All kinds of donations come in, most in the form of gold, which drives the Federal Election Commission nuts as the price of gold keeps climbing and putting donors over the maximum donation limit. After 6 months, the party collapses when Glenn and Rush are discovered receiving kickbacks and prescription painkillers from a laid-off worker of ACORN.

2. Sarah Palin’s own political career is finally dismantled when the public learns that Trig is the offspring of her and Levi Johnson, Bristol’s now-ex-boyfriend.

3. The US media goes crazy with tons of stories about the new “green economy,” even though the GDP is only up 0.4 percent and there’s only one new factory for producing solar panels that because of NAFTA, has opened in Mexico. The Mexican government is dismayed to find out that all of the physical barriers we’ve erected in the last 5 years aren’t any good at keeping illegal US citizens out of Mexico.

4. An independent study comes out revealing that 72.4 percent of people previously detained at Gitmo know nothing about al Qaeda’s operations from 2001, much less anything that could help counter-terrorism officials now. They have, however, secretly formed a support group with tips on making their prison lives better, including  how to make a lovely bisque from ephemera, though they can’t find any in the middle of Illinois. They turn to Martha Stewart for advice on working with dandelion greens.

5. The CEOs of AIG, JPMorgan, Lehman Brothers, and Countrywide Mortgage take their latest year salaries, pool them together, and buy an island in the Carribean, setting up a new government with so many tax shelters for the rich that they make a fortune in taking other people’s money at their new banks. They also send out a message to Roman Polanski that he should find a way to get out of Switzerland and come to Moneytopia so that he can direct a film about their story. It wins 8 Golden Globes and 2 Academy Awards and is hailed by critics as an “opus of epochal storytelling, delivered by the master storyteller himself.”

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Categories: ponderings


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