36 Predictions for 2009 in Media/Tech/Pop
Everyone is doing their predictions for 2009 right now, and everyone who isn't is claiming that the future is too bleak or complex to predict. What you see below takes both perspectives into account and says: fuck it, let's have fun with this.
However, don't mistake this satire as an empty gesture. If not literally true, I believe most of predictions below in some metaphoric sense. In other words, to hell with the Black Swan!
So here we are again -- playing Nostradamus in media, technology, and pop culture -- with 36 predictions for 2009:
- Hatahs. 4chan digitally antagonizes an entire race of people into self-inflicted genocide.
- Facebook. By the middle of summer, you realize that you're logging into most websites via Facebook Connect. You get a creepy feeling in your gut about this, but it's so damn convenient.
- Politics. After a freak caribou attack injures Elisabeth Hasselbeck, Sarah Palin joins The View.
- Newspapers. At least three major daily newspapers cease to exist. The most likely members of the carnage: the Denver Rocky Mountain News, the Minneapolis Star-Tribune, and the Seattle Post-Intelligencer.
- Yahoo. Fuck it, Lycos buys it.
- Twitter I. Facebook finally buys Twitter, but only after a price war with Google ramps it up to a ridiculous nine-figure valuation. Unsurprisingly, this is Twitter's big plan "to make money."
- Twitter II. But seriously, just like those stories in 2001 about people who [shock!] make a living off of blogs, the "Twitter professional" will somehow become a reality.
- Twitter III. A major news event happens that no one live twitters. NYT writes three stories (Styles, Tech, and Media) about this phenomena, quickly dubbed "Twitter Shock."
- Starbucks. After trying everything else imaginable, they introduce a new "buffet" option, which is a surprise hit.
- Daughter Moguls. In the most convoluted assassination plot ever devised, Christie Hefner, Shari Redstone, and Elisabeth Murdoch join forces to commit triple patricide. Vanity Fair dedicates three eInk covers to the incident, with heads that morph from father to daughter.
- Magazines I. Some rich kid on the west coast launches a magazine called Charticles, which consists only of... yeah. Choire Sicha commits suicide in his St. Mark's apartment by paper cutting himself to death with the debut issue.
- Magazines II. Monocle raises its newsstand price to $1295.00.
- Magazines III. Doy, of course Portfolio goes under. The final cover story is mysteriously about cotton gin inventor Eli Whitney.
- Gossip Girl. In the Christmas '09 episode, Chuck and Blair finally fuck again. The recession ends.
- Subscriptions. Against all seeming rationality, several new online subscription publications show up on the scene.
- Where The Wild Things Are. You know what? The movie actually does suck. Gen X icons Spike Jonze and Dave Eggers are pilloried by a millennials who claim old people just don't get it. They're kinda right.
- New York Times. After Brian Stelter notices that David Carr has refriended Jayson Blair on Facebook, the New York Times asks Carr to take a drug test. Upon failing, he returns to Minneapolis to run City Pages, which ends up being the last remaining alt-weekly at Village Voice Media.
- Online Video. Something's gotta give. Two of the "big" three -- Revision3, ON Networks, Next New Networks -- cease to exist by the end of the year. And when 23/6 and Funny Or Die expire on the same day, Alley Insider's headline is "Funny Or Dead In 24/7." Normal people have no idea what any of these things are.
- Terrestrial Video. Something's gotta give. One of the "big" five is morphed into a cable outlet.
- Daily Beast. Tina Brown uses her consulting role at HBO to pitch a reality series about her own website. No one thinks it will go into development, but then Aaron Sorkin and Mark Burnett sign on. Julia Allison and Arianna Huffington are super pissed.
- Tina Fey. First woman knighted. Now Oprah's pissed too.
- Google. They do a lot of stuff that no one expects, but the surprise application of the year is some sort of mashup between three core Google products: Reader, Chrome, and Docs. Oh, and maybe Android, just to make this pshit sci-fi.
- FriendFeed. Not only does your mom still has no fucking idea what it is, but your friends don't either.
- Publishing. 49 books are published that chronicle the end of publishing.
- Music. Proving that fake stuff always wins, Lonely Island's album debuts platinum -- the only album to do so this year.
- Lara Logan. Dueling February covers of Parenting and Playboy.
- Gawker Media. Nick Denton predicts armageddon, using copious Excel graphs to elucidate his point.
- Mad Men. After negotiations break down with AMC, a rumor floats that a movie is in the works. It is eventually released in 2012 on the same day as the Arrested Development movie.
- Diablo Cody. Released in September, Jennifer's Body becomes the first young adult movie since Heathers and Clueless that resonates with grown-ups. While you try very hard to think of a new reason to hate her, Diablo casts Sasha Grey in her next film. Backlash-to-the-backlash-to-the-backlash-to-the-backlash ensues.
- Words. Webster's Dictionary names undershare word of the year.
- Online Media. Trying to take advantage of cheap labor, hundreds of "me too" small startup publications launch. They will call themselves "online magazines," but they will be blogs.
- Microsoft. They! Will! Suprise! You! (Actually, no they won't. You hear this every year. Their online version of Office will be begrudgingly cool, but it will have one severe flaw that renders it unusable.)
- Apple. After Biz Week's "Is The Innovation Over?" story appears, Steve Jobs retires at the end of the year, surprisingly citing health reasons.
- Education. 37 percent of the people you know go back to grad school.
- Digg. It does not get bought and Kevin Rose does not go on a date with Jennifer Aniston. Every boy in the Valley weeps at a shared realization: their sense of worth is over-valued.
- Rupert Murdoch. He dies in a freak yacht accident. Sumner Redstone, Padma Lakshmi, Barry Diller, David Geffen, Rachel Sklar, Hoobastank, and Shaquille O'Neill are also on board, but all survive. Foul play is suspected, and an investigation reminiscent of the board game Clue ensues. A rumor spreads that Murdoch's cryogenically frozen brain is in an Anaheim basement next to Walt Disney's frontal lobe and the Arc of the Covenant. Michael Wolff sells his next book, The Brain Eaters, for $10 million. 17 people buy it; 4 read it.