"Humor is senseless"
—Gilles d'Aymery -- or whoever
(Swans - December 28, 2009) What an interesting year 2009 has been. It began with the Israeli joyous rapture over Gaza, the trillions of dollars thrown into the coffers of the banking system, the crumbs paternalistically sent the way of hoi polloi, the suffering of millions left unemployed, their houses foreclosed, the renaissance of tentvilles all over the USA, and the explosion of poverty. It went on with climate disruptions galore and the deepening misery in the Global South, and it ended once more with lost opportunities (e.g., health care in the U.S., the climate conference in Copenhagen...), and the absence of imagination on the part of our "leaders" in the so-called First World (e.g., the deafening silence surrounding the model of growth our elites keep peddling). In between, wars, destructions, and destabilizations had a field day as the new US commander in chief took over the mayhem where Mr. Bush had left it.
Fortunately, our news media kept us entertained. We've been served a plethora of hot and sully dishes. Among them: the kingpin of Ponzi schemes, Bernard Madoff; Allen Stanford, the flamboyant financier; the pay-to-play Illinois former governor, Rod Blagojevich... Then, we were fed our daily brew of sexual scandals: John Edwards's illicit paternity; South Carolina Governor Mark Sanford and his Argentinean soul mate; Nevada Senator John Ensign and his cavalcade; David Letterman's dalliances with staffers; and, of course, the insufferable Tiger Woods making a cuckold out of his lovely Swedish gold-digger wife. There were also the strange plots of Richard and Mayumi Heene (the balloon-boy hoaxers), and the White House State Dinner crashing of Tareq and Michaele Salahi.
We got to hear a lot about Sarah Palin, the Tea Partiers, the Birthers, and the Deathers, as well as the real deaths of Michael Jackson and Ted Kennedy. For the benefit of fear, which keeps us all in check, the media force-fed us with terrible stories about the H1N1 "swine" flu and the wicked terrorists that want to eat us alive in the name of seventy-seven virgins.
For everything else that could go wrong we were repeatedly advised to find a culprit -- blame the Chinese! (Russians came in second position. France is presently in remission, thanks to King Sarkozy.)
In such a context, our traditional Infamous Predictions, courtesy of a bevy of Swans, should look pretty lame or quite rational to the gallery. However, we do expect that as in prior years those who do not grasp the humor will, in the words of Garrison Keillor, direct us to "the name of a bodily orifice"; ask us "what's wrong with you, orifice?"; and tell us to go "molest" ourselves.
Which is a fine and delightful characterization, accepted in stride. After all, we strive to add to people's quality of life!
See ya next year.
The US Senate debates the gay marriage law passed by the mayor of Washington, D.C. Fundamentalist Fellowship wingnuts Sam Brownback, Tom Coburn, and Chuck Grassley open the session by asserting that marriage is between one man and one woman. In a surprising break by fellow Fellowship members, Mark Sanford argues that marriage should be between one man, one woman, and one soul mate, while John Ensign contends that marriage should be between one man, one woman, one other woman, and her husband. Confusion ensues when Ben Nelson inserts a last-minute clause stating that abortion is only available to a man and a woman, potentially undoing all recently-enacted restrictions.
The anti-gay "Referendum-69" will be on the November ballot stating: "A 'yes vote' means that you do not support the ban on forbidding the prevention of current laws limiting the expansion of same-sex partners." The Christian Right will become confused, and vote "no" by accident, inadvertently enacting same-sex marriage in America.
Cuba takes the United States to the International Court of Justice. US lawyers offer Florida by way of reparations for US crimes against the island nation. Millions of Americans move to Florida to get free Cuban healthcare.
Great Britain sends a battalion of Red Coats to take back Washington and set up an interim government.
Mexico retakes the southwest.
The U.S. agrees to reverse the Louisiana Purchase at the original price.
Black people are exempted from tax on income and savings for one hundred years, by way of reparation.
All military hardware is made into ploughshares and the like.
Canada is asked to draft a new US Constitution, and a second US Republic is declared. The dollar currency is replaced by New Dollars, with only legally-held, honest dollars being exchangeable within three months.
Kindles will go out of fashion when it is discovered they cause a fatal myopia. The nation will rabidly begin collecting old and rare books, which, being no longer extant will eliminate the habit of reading altogether.
After Houston, Texas, became the largest US city to elect an openly gay mayor, George and Laura Bush pack up the Dallas mansion and move out of the debauched state to the comfort of Kennebunkport, Maine, where men are still men and gays are no longer welcome. "A lesbian mayor in Houston?" quips W. "What's next, a black president? Heh, heh, heh."
Sarah Palin donates a copy of her book to Bush's presidential library, doubling the size of the backpack now housing the collection behind the ranch's stable.
Rush Limbaugh will discover a document that proves that Barack Obama is hiding the fact that he is secretly white, like Michael Jackson was. To his caught-in-the-headlights audience he will reveal a "Certificate of Honkyness" that one Toot Monde, a character who claims to be "straight from the Hood," swears is issued to every white kid born in the Honolulu ghetto. "It's official," Limbaugh will bray. "Here's the proof," he will add as he waves the pink Naugahyde "Certificate of Honkyness" that looks like it has been torn from the seat of a Pimpmobile.
Glenn Beck will come out of the closet and enter into a fervid relationship with Bill O'Reilly, causing Sean Hannity to sue for alienation of affections.
Lou Dobbs will host a rogue radio show off shore in the Rio Grande for wetbacks. His newly discovered birth certificate proves he was born in Buenos Aires of Inca-Mayan stockbrokers.
Noam Chomsky will be voted the foremost intellectual philosopher in history -- in history, no less -- by the Amy Goodman crowd for the 35th year in a row.
Paul McCartney will turn 68 and release his latest CD, "When I'm 74."
Seeking to cut costs in hard times, the Obama administration will ask Attorney General Eric Holder to streamline the procedures for litigation. "All that litigation is making our courts overflow like plugged toilets," Holder will declare. "When a poor guy sues, he loses. The rich guy always wins," says the AG. "Let's just award the judgment to the rich guy from the get-go, it will save us money," Holder adds. Congress warmly welcomes the proposal.
Once the legislation is passed, the Obama administration will look into expanding it to the criminal area. "Poor people are guilty and rich people not guilty so why all the hoopla?" Holder will argue. "Give the rich a break," which the Senate approves by a vote of 99 to 1 -- the lonely one having died during the timely procedure.
Money buys Congressional seats. Nancy Pelosi, who knows what money means, introduces a bill that directly awards a seat to whoever has raised the most funds. Says the Speaker of the House: "Why bother to spend money on wasteful empty campaigning when it could be far better spent for Congressional mistresses and gigolos? Just award the victory to the one who raises the most money." Congress votes overwhelmingly in favor of the bill.
It will become chic to talk about and demystify power. Okay, probably not.
Someone in Nebraska will receive his millionth Facebook Friend and will want to go out to celebrate, but will be unable to find a companion to go with.
Karol Józef Wojtyla -- John Paul II -- who passed away on April 2, 2005, is deemed to have performed a miracle two months after his death -- the first postmortem miracle ever -- on a young French nun who woke up free of Parkinson's disease. He is beatified by Popyboozook Benedict XVI on his march to ineluctable sainthood.
At long last John Paul II's choirboy, who upon the demise of the venerable prelate had entered the service of George W. Bush, returns to Rome to relieve the god-given needs of Benedict XVI. Elisabeth Dole sends a private recommendation to the moribund Poppy: "Your Excellency, my near defunct husband, Bob Dole, is still kicking from all wheels when in bed. I attribute this miracle to Viagra, which deserves a Nobel Prize and a prayer. It's about time a drug is rewarded for the well being of your Holiness."
Joe Lieberman will be appointed Ambassador to the Vatican. Christians throughout the world will celebrate by instigating new and more wide-sweeping pogroms.
Spiders will begin creating their own Web sites.
The Nobel Prize for medicine is awarded to a Greek American for the invention of Phlogiston II. This great breakthrough has the amazing result that normal people are immune to its effects. It affects only the ultra-rich, psychopaths, and warmongers. Phlogiston II is quietly added to American drinking water. The results are dramatic.
Psychopaths in politics, corporations, and the business of religion silently commit suicide, thereby removing the one percent of Americans who had previously made life hell for many people.
The filthy rich put their money in a fund administered by Ralph Nader for the public good, and then join Madoff in prison for tax crimes, with supervised day release to clean up litter and graffiti.
The Cavalry, starting with horses, will be the first Army sector to put their motto on a darling equestrian battle flag: "We Ask and We Fucking Tell!"
The City of Chicago, having sold its parking meter concession for the next 75 years for fewer beans than Jack in the Beanstalk got for his cow, will start marketing license plates for the whole country autographed by four imprisoned ex-governors. Some states may start putting historic panels on vanity license plates, like "The passing of toilet paper under public stalls in Colorado." "Invisible but loving South Carolina governor treading Appalachian Trail in wrong state." "Congressman freezing cash in Louisiana authors plan to freeze all the waterways of Louisiana to increase global cooling and minimize flooding."
New York will market a Bernie Madoff license plate -- with less on the plate than you pay for.
Sarah Palin will be devoured by a horde of Alaskan wolves. All the wolves will ultimately die of food poisoning.
La Dolce Vita will continue to gain new audiences and one thing that people will take away from the film is a new perspective on today's celebrity-obsessed media: and more and more North Americans will glean that wearing their sunglasses indoors is actually very cool as well.
Jesus is spotted on the face of a melting glacier, inspiring the Religious Right to reverse its position and demand immediate action on climate change. Congress moves swiftly to endorse the Kyoto Protocol, and President Obama announces that the U.S. will cut carbon emissions by 75% by 2011. The Vatican, for its part, replaces the Popemobile with an armored Prius.
Silvio Berlusconi will wave his dick at the next EU summit, but the German chancellor will reply that she's used to more drive and stamina in the economy.
The double-dip recession will be linguistically adjusted, first to the multiple-dip, and then to the big dipper without a handle.
Tiger Woods will check into a Hollywood rehab clinic for sex-addiction for five weeks, then return home to a new reality TV show about Tiger trying to work things out with a furious Elin Nordegren. It will be named "Honey, Who's Calling You at This Hour?"
A warship captained by a modern major-general will invade and capture a pirate compound in Mogadishu while declaring, "I know what is meant by 'mamelon' and 'ravelin.'"
Faced with diminishing recruiting targets due to the teen obesity epidemic, the US Armed Forces militarizes the health-care system to whip a generation of potential recruits into shape. Nationalized boot camp is an immediate success, despite the overabundance of pork, cost overruns, and one-year wait for a psychiatric consult. Conscription becomes the only public option, and the insurance industry attempts to counter America's improving health by declaring fitness a pre-existing condition to all post-existing illnesses.
A handwritten diary will be discovered in a Parisian garage sale revealing that Pablo Diego José Francisco de Paula Juan Nepomuceno María de los Remedios Cipriano de la Santísima Trinidad Clito Ruiz y Picasso's actual name was "Tom."
To continue the tradition of selecting exceptional, transformative men of peace, the 2010 Nobel Peace Prize will be awarded to Ariel Sharon in absentia for his enduring peaceful behavior ever since January 4, 2006. The 2010 Nobel Prize for Medicine will go to the Israeli medical unit that keeps Sharon in a vegetative state so that he may fully deserve his prize and carry on to be known as a man of peace for many more years.
The Palestinians convert to Judaism en masse and proceed with internal Aliya thus making the two-state solution moot.
French president Sarkozy applauds the move, contending that the burqa has no place in the Holy Land, and calling for a discussion on the new National Identity of the state of Israel. Abraham Foxman of the Anti-Defamation League accuses Sarkozy of anti-Semitism for daring to question the National Identity of the Jewish people.
Reminiscent of the Bush shoe assailant and Berlusconi statuette attacker, Nicolas Sarkozy is pelted with day-old baguettes while giving a worn-out speech on French national identity. The "pained" Sarko proclaims desecration of the sacred baguette a capital offense. Sales of bread soar, reviving the French economy. Sarko reigns victorious.
A more equitable capitalism will miraculously emerge, adding more equity to the already well-endowed few.
The Vatican and the White House, in response to recent security breaches, award no-bid contracts to Xe, the company formerly known as Blackwater, to improve security for the pope and the president, respectively. Now with the Vatican, the White House, and the US military under its control, Xe's mercenary founder Erik Prince declares holy war and martial law, thereby taking control of the world.
Someone will win $100 million in the Mega Millions Lottery and his check will bounce.
Mahmoud Ahmadinejad and Benjamin Netanyahu will meet in a posh brothel (err, hotel) in Sharm el-Sheikh under the auspices of the great democratic leader Hosni Mubarak of Egypt, to congratulate each other for their respective, highly successful efforts to fuck the Palestinians and managing to stay in power. Mubarak applauds. Barack Obama joins the party.
Having thrown his fate with the angels by becoming an American citizen earlier this year, right-wing leftist and muckraker par excellence Alexander Cockburn will get in bed, figuratively, with Justin Raimondo and open his brain, if not his legs and ass, to the non-global warming crowd of the Paulistas and constitutionalists the two supported in last year's presidential election. Left meets right to one's brainy ass fulfillment and pocketbook galore. Ralph Nader will officiate the marriage.
Jeffrey St. Clair, not wanting to be left behind his more famous co-editor, will join the Libertarian Party in order to espouse the Good-Old World Order advocated by Cockburn and Raimondo. The triumph of Ron Paul and Chuck Baldwin is finally assured in the nothingsphere. Ralph Nader reluctantly officiates the marriage of convenience, though refrains from publicly supporting it.
Doug Ireland will join the gaily brown-red coalition and display pictures of Grover Cleveland, Ludwig von Mises, Friedrich Hayek, and Murray Rothbard on the walls of his little cove. Ayn Randians join in the celebration of bipartisanship. Ralph Nader endorses the congruence and officiates the marriage of confluence.
Good fences make good neighbors, once wrote a poet. To vindicate the vision, pilgrimages are organized to visit and pray to Israel's Wall of Apartheid and the American southern bunkers along the Mexican border.
Nike puts Tiger Woods's ad contract on hold for a year and hires his wife Elin Nordegren in his place. Sales of irons and sand wedges soar as angry women all over the world flood to stores and buy golf clubs to beat their cheating husbands and smash their prize possessions. Female-friendly car manufacturers market a special Elin Nordegren package that includes a club of choice in the trunk of new vehicles over $50k. In response, testosterone-infused car manufacturers produce a vehicle guaranteed to withstand a golf-club attack. Success assured.
Being the "best-informed" people on earth (see introduction), Americans will agree that we need over 250,000 troops and contractors to defeat 1,000 al Qaeda fighters in Af-Pak in order to fill the tanks of our SUVs.
Peace, freedom, equality, and HOPE will be as important as ever in the coming year. As none will be fulfilled, bien sûr, everybody will live happily ever after.
As the lady said, "It's all the same fucking shit, man..."