It seems only proper that a blogger predict the future. I mean, what are you paying for if not some reassurance that 2009 will be different from 2008?
So, here is my attempt to write the news stories before they become news. Let me be the first to welcome you to 2009.
June 11 (RW) Internet pioneer Leland Vaughn succeeded in sending himself through the Internet. The full appreciation for this momentous feat was somewhat muted by the time it took for this inaugural full body download. During the three years it took Leland to be fully downloaded into his fiancé’s living room, she married and gave birth to a child. The little family was “shocked and horrified” when Leland was finally, unceremoniously dumped onto their living room floor.
On a positive note, a great number of Wikipedia entries seemed to have gotten tangled up in Leland’s memory, although his eager attempt to share tidbits such as the ability of the crown cardinals of Austria, France, and Spain to veto papal appointments from the 16th to 20th centuries failed to calm his ex- fiancé’s new husband. Given that the tidbits downloaded into his consciousness during this time seemed random, Leland has lost all sense of time – his memory of the 3 years during which he was in transit are a curious mixture of ancient and modern history and current events based on what scientists are now calling proximate virtual memory events, or data nuggets that were co-mingled with his digital ghost.
September 17 (RW) Unfortunate cookies become popular. Fortune cookies give vague promises about the future, whereas unfortunate cookies offer vaguely worded consolations for past injustice. “You have every right to feel slighted by your in-laws; they should have been more impressed.” Or, “In spite of your grade school’s teacher’s reassurances to the contrary, her punishment was excessive.”
Although wildly popular, these unfortunate cookies have created a new, awkward dating situation: first dates that break into tears after breaking their unfortunate cookie to suddenly find themselves consoled for an injustice that has been haunting them for years.
November 11 (RW) Groovy makes a comeback in the American vernacular.
March 16 (RW) Iceland succumbs to a takeover bid from Citibank. Pundits are divided as to whether this transforms finance or politics. Cynics claim that it just formalizes the old arrangement between the two.
June 9 (RW) Budget cuts and a weakening economy lead to the first genuine innovation in education since kindergarten: the 3 year Bachelor’s degree. By reducing education costs by 25%, this move brings college education within reach of millions more Americans.
October 14 (RW) Universities around the nation are issuing recall notices to graduates, ordering them back for additional courses or risk losing their degree. This move is seen by some as a desperate attempt to replace revenues lost by cuts in government spending and the sudden popularity of 3 year Bachelor degrees.
April 19 (RW) Bionic limbs are suddenly the most obvious and popular of the new solutions to the transportation problem. Rather than move 3,000 pound vehicles in order to transport 160 pound people, the limbs will add only a few pounds to the total person weight and create less congestion on roadways while dramatically lowering annual fuel costs and carbon footprint. (Catchy slogan of the year? “Instead of a carbon footprint – why not just leave your own? Bionic legs – one charge will take you 40 miles …. in about an hour.”)
December 23 (RW) Happiness becomes the new black, the fashionable alternative to gloom and doom that is popularized in the news. Sadly, it is back out of style by year’s end.
August 28 (RW) Newspapers, continuing to lose market share and revenues, will begin to auction off celebrity. Taking a page from the Paris Hilton saga, they will create buzz for a million, and coverage that can’t be missed for only ten million. After the most closely watched election in decades, this will be one of the few growth areas for beleaguered papers. The news will benefit twice: once by selling their services this way and again by reporting on this trend in tones of outrage.
All year long (RW) Blogging will go through a year of mergers and acquisitions. (Given that there is no money in blogging, it seems only natural that the M&A activity will move to the blogosphere in a year when there is no money in financial markets.) Some of the mergers will be unsurprising - Huffington Post's takeover of Daily Kos seemed terribly obvious in retrospect. Others, however, caught even the most savvy analysts off-guard. June Cleaver Nirvana takeover of Cosmopolitan, for instance, shocked everyone in traditional media and no one in the blogosphere. (Holly told reporters that after giving sex tips for decades, it was time for Cosmo to begin offering advice about how to raise the children that are the natural consequence of following such advice. "It is time to move with our readers, offering stories that they would now find relevant - advice on potlucks and being seen in public in chicken costumes, for instance.") R World will, sadly, be bought out by a Ukrainian poet who insists on rhyming everything BEFORE translating it into English. Living Next Door to Alice will be the first to pioneer the application of a new claymation software that makes all of his posts look like they are narrated by lava lamp blobs morphing into talking heads that vaguely remind people of celebrities in the same way that clouds remind people of horses or sea shells. This media form will so captivate audiences as to entirely replace TV - for the third week in May.
And best of all, in 2009, people will begin to take silliness seriously. It is not obvious that there will be any other way to make it through with our sanity intact. Have a wonderful year.