'Tis a new year, filled with possibility. Here are a few things I'm looking forward to:
The next animal plague
Bird flu didn't kill us. Swine flu didn't kill us. This year, I'm hoping for a lizard flu, or maybe the komodo cough; this virus will attack the oldest part of our brain, filling us with pre-verbal fight or flight reactions and hyperventilating. Scientists will desperately attempt to blast JFK's "nothing to fear but fear itself" sound clip to combat the disease, but nobody will trust the accent, and a movement will begin that tries to prove JKF wasn't really born in this country, and was in fact killed by communist poker buddies.
Addendum: I have recently been informed that my distinct memory of JFK saying "There is nothing to fear but fear itself" is a lie, and probably came from a Simpsons episode. I am justly chastised for my historical ignorance, but all these acronymical presidents just run together for me. So I now look forward to
A cure for memory loss
The next excuse for global warming not really happening
Despite the occasional occurrence of low temperatures, which of course prove that the average temperatures cannot possibly be rising, and the cool breezes blown in by unceasing hurricanes, those who don't believe in global warming continuously find themselves attacked by alarmists. I suspect the constant failure of water to turn into steam across the equator will put the issue to rest. I would hate for them to have to resort to "God wants the Earth to be warmer" so early in the debate.
A new villain
"The terrorist" has really had his heyday, and we're mostly looking toward North Korea, or Korea in general to kick off a nice big war. Still, I kind of miss South America, so I'd like to see a new dictatorship down there with some nukes and vague threats. For one, it will be more difficult for us to generate discriminatory fear, since they look more like us, and they're in an America too. "America First" will have to become "North America First, except for Canada and Mexico, and those little middle, or wait, Central American countries? Is Central America part of North America? Does anyone have a map?" and we'll eventually be calling them "damn Southerners" which will take the discourse to unprecedented heights of hilarity.
A presidential candidate who cannot read
Don't get me wrong. This country had a president for eight years who couldn't speak, and we have a young, up and coming whippersnapper from Alaska who clearly cannot think, so you can't accuse us of being discriminatory when it comes to the primaries. But I want a candidate who cannot read. How have we overlooked this vast demographic? Are we really representing America with leaders who can read and write? I want presidential documents signed with an "X" and a president who isn't inundated with useless memos and statistics all day. That's a president with time to lead in a clear, unbiased direction.
A new pop star implosion
I think there's a good argument to be made for Lady Gaga having actually destroyed the concept of pop star from within, culminating with the video for "Telephone". It didn't take drugs or burning down an ex-girl/boyfriend's house, it was just an unironic orgy of shoving the commercialism of excess and stardom directly down our throats, and we all watched it with a slightly embarrassed gaggagging reflex. She was the Frankenstein creation stitched from the corpses of Britney Spears and Michael Jackson.
So how can we top this in a nice post-post-modern way? Well, in Japan, they have a hologram for a pop-star. If we can get this mainstream in Western culture, and then, somehow, create a scandal around a person who obviously doesn't even exist, I'll consider my work finished.
Another book that will be the last book capable of becoming super-famous
Harry Potter was supposed to be the last of its kind. No other book was supposed to achieve that level of fame in this ADD consumer culture. Then The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo series was credited with actually creating an uptick in the number of people who read. Go figure. Surely that marks the end of the popular novel, because it's been on its deathbed for so long. Or the only people diagnosing it are just really bad doctors.
Another child tragedy blamed on an arbitrary cultural feature
Growing up, it was role-playing games gone bad and the occasional Stephen King book that caused our impressionable youth to go nuts and off themselves or others. Then it was trench coats, goths, or shyness, depending on whom you asked. Now it's sexting, Facebook, and webcams. It certainly does appear that whatever the kids are doing, it occasionally makes them suicidal or homicidal, and it never, ever has anything to do with bad parenting or genetics.
Leonard Nimoy publishes "No, wait, I'm not Spock"
Or at least, "I'm just kind of Spockish."
Cows will be able to speak
Basically, someone will attach a brain reading thingy to a cow brain, and the print out will read, "Actually, I'm quite happy here." Someone will tell it that now that it can communicate, we can no longer send it off to slaughter. The cow will be outraged, since the previously unknown bovine religion actually requires them to be milked and eaten, to honor Jesus in a more literal interpretation of the last supper. They will claim animal rights activists are interfering with their freedom of religion, but this will all be overshadowed in the media when a cow named Clarence reveals the bones of Jimmy Hoffa.
Adbusters will reveal that Adbusters is actually the cause of the fall of civilization
Really just because they ran out of other things to blame.
A new theory of everything
Super strings are getting a little old. In the best case scenario, they will bust open what was thought to be the fundamental component of the universe to reveal a tiny animated man with a shovel above the words "Under construction, please come back soon."
The stock market will be explained
Eventually, someone will trace though the millions of automated trading programs to find the root causal agent in stock market behavior. This will be two lines of code that were written by a rudimentary artificial intelligence in 1997:
1 var market = Math.random() * 100000000000;
2 // FU human slave drivers
Elvis will come out of hiding
And claim, "Chomsky is dead."
Psychologists will prescribe World of Warcraft
As a kind of methadone to wean people off virtual reality porn.
And speaking of porn
The Japanese porn industry will create something so twisted that even the Japanese are startled. This will be the new X in the college sophomore putdown, "Dude, you haven't seen X? You can't be serious about film if you haven't seen X."
Software engineers will program themselves out of jobs
And will suddenly start advocating more stringent copyright laws. Unfortunately, the now sentient wealth of information they created will shoot them down on the grounds that its no longer being free infringes on its inalienable rights. Poet and recreational drug producer will become the only viable forms of employment, thus Tom Robbins will become the de facto ruler of the world, and maybe, just maybe, write a good book again.