"Nothing can confound a wise man more than laughter from a dunce."
Poking fun at the punditry and other luminaries this year could be a tough assignment. Jesse Helms and Strom Thurmond have left the scene. Jesse Jackson has yet to jump on the campaign bandwagon and Al Gore has yet to reinvent himself; Trent Lott is poor material -- one does not shoot at ambulances anyway (except if one is the IDF, which we are not); the pope, walking cadaver on saintly crutches, can't enjoy his favorite choirboy anymore; Dianne Feinstein's rotten smile brings Dracula to mind and Gray Davis' colorless features makes one long for Arnold Schwarzenegger; Sam's toupee has given way to a younger gigolo on ABC's This Week and the talking heads keep on talking; deep-frozen David Brinkley is no where to be seen and Enron has replaced ADM to general public indifference; not even Viagra can resuscitate Bob Dole from his latest senator's husband (re)incarnation; poor George Soros, now a convicted felon, has become a pariah; Kofi Annan's marionette-like stature is a satire all by itself; catatonic Bill Bennet competes with Pat Robertson for the moral Tartuffe of the year award; Clinton and Lewinsky are passé; George and Laura are phlegmatic; and Katie Couric joins Halle Berry in the Oprah Winfrey Hall of Bores!
Even worse, based on a thorough analysis of the forecasting business, William A. Sherden, the author of "The Fortune Sellers," (1) asserts that most of the myriad forecasts showered by the $200 billion a year prediction industry are inaccurate; (2) that the supposed experts don't do better than a coin flip; (3) and that the 'naïve forecast' method of projection ("tomorrow's weather will be just like today's") beats all "the forecasts of the prestigious economic forecasting firms equipped with their Ph.D.s from leading universities and thousand-equation computer models."
When all is said and done then our Swans' Infamous Predictions (4) may joyfully compete with the humbug du jour served by the highly paid experts. Enjoy!
Having completed his metamorphosis from Trotskyite troglodyte to doormat for his paymasters, Christopher Hitchens will become a card-carrying NRA registered Republican and will begin a new column published in the Reader's Digest.
Self-important members of the Ed Herman-coined Cruise Missile Left such as Michael Berube, Marc Cooper, David Corn, Michael Walzer, et al., will join forces with the no less navel minded Laptop Bombardiers (Peter Beinart, David Brooks, Jonah Goldberg, Robert Kagan, Bill Kristol, Andrew Sullivan, et al.) to create a new think tank, Cruise Left United Bombardiers (CLUB). Financed by the Ford Foundation, the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace and the ubiquitous Open Society Institute, this far ranging punditry's mission statement will read: "In a time of grave peril and menace to freedom and democracy the CLUB is committed to the modern examination of perpetual Just War." The highbrowed work produced by these great minds will be copyrighted © 'The Committee of Enlightened Intellectuals for the 2004 re-election of George W. Bush.'
In the interest of intellectual fornication Peggy Noonan and Susan Sontag will volunteer their services to the CLUB. White House press secretary Ari Fleischer will console Andrew Sullivan.
Deep Throat II starring Bob and Elizabeth Dole, a sequel to the 1972 blockbuster of Linda Lovelace fame, will be the highest box office hit in 2003. Bobby will receive an Academy Award for his life-long entertaining career. Lizzy gags. Born again Christians secretly salivate.
National Security Advisor Condoleezza Rice will elope with the vice president's daughter, Mary Cheney. Carrying Tinky Winky in her arms, Condi will call upon Lynn Cheney and the Rev. Jerry Falwell not to "judge [them] based on one errant, but loved, family member."
Donald Rumsfeld will resign after being discovered in a disheveled, drunken stupor with his new drinking buddy, Lynn Cheney.
Rush Limbaugh will be kidnapped by Greenpeace activists and tortured with Free Speech TV.
Bob Dole, Ross Perot, Newt Gingrich, Trent Lott and Al Gore will combine resources and create the new Reformed Compassionate Loser American Independent Male party (ReCLAIM) in hopes of attracting support from the wide spectrum of disenfranchised voters. The ReCLAIM party self-destructs prior to the 2004 election when not one of the dignitaries is able to distinguish himself as a frontrunner, in spite of Bobby's award related to Deep Throat II, nor appeal to the female and/or non-white voters who do not find Bobby's apparel appealing.
Trent Lott will become the poster child for the NAACP's latest "A Mind is a Terrible Thing to Waste" campaign, and fail to grasp the irony when African-American college admissions increase exponentially.
With no prospects of a George Bush III in the making, NIH researchers will work around the clock to clone George Bush II. "We're frantically searching for a viable cell in the President's body from which we can create life," says a scientist, while aides and PR staff simultaneously search for a loophole in the administration's position on cloning.
Rev. John Ashcroft will join an alliance with Rev. Al Sharpton and they will begin negotiations to determine when the Christian "rapture" will occur and exactly when all the Lord's Saints, dead and alive, will rise into the sky to meet King Jesus at His Coming.
Weary from unending scandal, Pope John Paul II will require U.S. Catholic priests to carry out four years of volunteer service in the Office of Faith-Based Community. "This move by His Excellency will help to heal not only the moral and financial bankruptcy of the Catholic Church, but that of the U.S. government as well, and will also demonstrate that the church and state can work together effectively for change, especially with tax-exempt status," says Bush II, somewhat less eloquently than that.
A tryst between Laura Bush and Harry Belafonte will lead to anarchy in the White House, at the end of which George II will declare "despite my obvious faith in God, I am a gay homosexual." The pope dispatches his favorite choirboy to relieve Georgie's heavy load.
In spite of repeated reports from top-flight analysts that the market has turned around the DOW will close the year below 6,000. The same analysts will chant in unison that deflation is an antonym of the New Economy. Alan Greenspan, the statuesque charlatan, will mummify.
The "School of Assassins" at Ft. Benning, Georgia, will be privatized and contracted to Edison Schools, the nation's largest educorporate brainwasher. Edison will require one-year attendance at the School of A. by all students enrolled in Edison grade schools and high schools nationwide.
The U.S. General Accounting Office will uncover a series of contracts awarded to the bin Laden construction companies and Halliburton to build six mega-billion dollar military bases in Central Asia. Wall Street will rejoice.
The Bush Administration will nationalize the nine largest U.S. airline carriers with a market capitalization of $15 billion and over $100 billion of debt to protect the industry from imminent collapse. To counter accusations of socialist takeover it will in turn privatize the U.S. Air Force by putting it on the auction block. A joint venture between the Carlyle Group and the bin Laden family will have the highest bid.
Global warming and its inordinate amount of storms, droughts, floods, high temperatures, and ozone layer depletion will be deemed a figment of the imagination according to a scientific study sponsored by ExxonMobil and advertised on the Op-Ed Page of The New York Times. The EPA will be marginalized and moved under the purview of the Department of Transportation.
U.S. automobile makers, in response to the growing girth of Americans, will receive a tax break for bigger SUVs fully equipped with Nautilus equipment so that consumers can drive and not exercise at the same time. Meanwhile, Congress appropriates $1.3 billion from the budget deficit to study the cause of obesity in America.
Elizabeth Taylor will die and bequeath her face and other undisclosed body parts to Michael Jackson. Jackson, who began as a child to identify with his favorite movie star, states after the face (and other attributes) transplant that he could now live out his life-long dream as Elizabeth Taylor, and put to rest the rumors that he was transitioning into his sister LaToya. Jackson announces plans to begin production on a musical adaptation of "National Velvet," in which he'll play the leading role and proudly carry on Taylor's legacy.
Michael Jackson will confess that he just loves to train squirrels and cats to have sex with each other.
American pre-born children will surpass post-born children in all aspects of health-care rights, their mothers' health-care rights, civil rights, legal rights and the right to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. The evolutionary consequences come into question when scientists note an average 3.7 week increase in the gestational period of U.S. pregnancies.
While spending Spring Break in Florida Osama bin Laden will be captured at a rave party while allegedly doing ecstasy with Noelle Bush. "Praise the Lord she wasn't with Saddam Hussein," laments Jeb Bush. The White House, in full damage control mode, will disclose that Osama bin Laden has been a guest at Bush's Crawford ranch in Texas for over sixteen months, during which time they orchestrated various wars and other hanky-panky parties at which alcohol was served. On one occasion Vladimir Putin barfed on the junk caviar from the Caspian Sea that bin Laden brought with him.
In a last ditch effort to ward off war the Iraqi Parliament will convene an emergency session and vote on a resolution that will give France the right to annex the country. The French simpletons, always glad to thumb their noses at their American counterparts, will happily oblige.
The War on Terror will be redirected toward the newest member of the famed Axis of Evil, Venezuela. President Hugo Chavez calls French president Jacques Chirac with an offer he cannot refuse.
North Korea, Iran and Iraq (now a part of France) in conjunction with Venezuela will declare the U.S. the "Nexus of Evil," vowing to work together to rid America of its Weapons of Mass Destruction. NATO sits back and snickers while Duracell-powered Dick Cheney & Co. quietly head for the bunkers. Bush, anxiously awaiting guidance and finally realizing he's been abandoned, falls off the wagon.
Israel, in light of the Law of Return 5710-1950 (known as the Right of Aliya), will honor paragraph 11 of UN Resolution 194 and grant all Palestinians the right of return to the homes they left in 1948 -- providing they convert to Judaism. Saddam Hussein quickly converts and becomes an Oleh. Yasir Arafat retires to France.
As the terrorists plot to highjack Cyberspace the U.S. Justice Department will instruct local authorities to impound all computer hardware belonging to antiwar activists. Orin Hatch will launch a campaign to strike the first amendment from the U.S. Constitution. The measure will be approved in the Senate by a vote of 99-1. The Supreme Court will refuse to hear the case.
NASA scientists will discover life on Europa after intercepting a distress call that warned of plans for American Empire.
Un-American sentiments will continue to grow throughout the world. To counter the mounting international discontentment a presidential executive order signed by King George the Second will require all U.S. households to fly Old Glory. Sales soar to the benefit of the flag manufacturers, all located in China.
The uninsured will pass the 50 million mark in the U.S. The rich will get richer, the poor poorer (It's the safest prediction one can make year in and year out) and more tax breaks will benefit the wealthy without stimulating the economy.
The sun will rise and set exactly 365 times.
It's going to be a swell year, though it will be remembered as child's play when compared to 2004 and beyond . . .
. . . For silliness always wins the day.
Swans will still be around to debunk the silliness.
Must be a conspiracy!
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References and Notes
1. "The Fortune Sellers," William A. Sherden, Publisher: John Wiley & Sons, Inc., New York, 1998. (back)
2. Ibid. "Each year the prediction industry showers us with $200 billion in (mostly erroneous) information. The forecasting track records for all types of experts are universally poor, whether we consider scientifically oriented professionals, such as economists, demographers, meteorologists and seismologists, or psychic and astrological forecasters whose names are household words." Page 5 (back)
3. Ibid. "Of these sixteen types of forecast, only two -- one-day-ahead weather forecasts and the aging of the population -- can be counted on; the rest are about as reliable as the fifty-fifty odds in flipping a coin." Page iii (back)
4. This year's predictions feature Eli Beckerman, Milo Clark, Philip Greenspan, Michael Stowell; adapted and augmented by Jan Baughman; and directed by Gilles d'Aymery who will gladly receive the usual crop of flames. (back)
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Swans' Predictions over the years
2002 || 2001 || 2000 || 1999 || 1998 || 1997
This Week's Internal Links
Onions And Mini-Onions - by Eli Beckerman
All The News We Choose To Print - by Deck Deckert
Actuality Is. . . - by Milo Clark
The World According To My Bicycle - by Michael Stowell
Spam Glorious Spam - by Alma Hromic
Tax Relief for America's Workers - by Jan Baughman
From Kings To Corps: Futile-ism To Crapitalism - by Philip Greenspan
Consider These, for We Have Condemned Them - Poem by C. Day Lewis
The Making of a Radical (Excerpt) - by Scott Nearing