January 2021

5 Predictions for 2021 (That Are Probably Wrong)

Author: Swami Barry Kaufman, Master of the Mystic Arts

After a year like 2020, I think we’re all in need of some good news. Thankfully, the media-industrial complex (the real home of the whopper) has been hard at work to bring you that good news, bloviating across thinkpiece after thinkpiece on how all of this past year’s trials and tribulations are going to evaporate like some kind of simile about evaporation.

(We would have thought up some kind of simile about evaporation, but if there is one tradition the media-industrial complex holds dearer than the annual “things to come” thinkpiece, it’s completely phoning it in for most of December. So, you get what you get).

As I write this from the waning hours of 2020, I notice that the prediction thinkpieces have come early this year, possibly due to the bag of flamin’ hot dog doo that 2020 has left on our collective front porch. More than any other year, it seems like 2020 is the year we all want to get a jump start on forgetting. Which is why you get predictions like the following, which almost certainly won’t come true.

Prediction: Fortune says face masks will be worn on New Year’s Eve 2021.
Always the sexiest of financial magazines, Fortune recently unveiled its list of predictions for 2021. And while some of them seem feasible (Donald Trump launching his own media empire, Chadwick Boseman receiving a posthumous Oscar for Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom) or at least so great we want them to be true (2021 becoming a new “summer of love” as people re-congregate), some just seem hilariously misguided.

For example, their prediction that we’ll still be spotting chin undies when the ball drops again. According to Fortune, “regions that have seen widespread, airborne, infectious diseases ravage their communities tend to keep wearing them even after the immediate danger has passed. So don’t be surprised if face masks remain a part of your daily routine.”

Why it’s bunk: People aren’t even wearing them now.

Prediction: The Daily Star says the mullet will return.
Always the stewards of high-class journalism, England’s Daily Star recently made the bold prediction that the mullet will make its grand return in 2021 as the hottest new hairstyle trend. The Kentucky Waterfall (or as it’s delightfully known in England, the “Barmy Barnet”) reached its cultural zenith in the darker parts of the ’90s when icons like Billy Ray Cyrus and John Stamos wore one.

But according to Daily Star, new icons like Joe “Tiger King” Exotic and Cara “I’m not 100% sure I know who this is” Delevingne have made the mullet the new fashion statement for 2021. Maybe it’s our deep-seated need for nostalgia; maybe we’ve just run out of other ways to make our heads look funny. Who knows? Regardless, the Daily Star assures us that the mullet is back.
Why it’s bunk: Guys, barber shops have been able to reopen for a while now. You really don’t need to cut your own hair anymore.

Prediction: Forrester says depressing pandemic advertising will continue.
Common sense might tell you that we’re all a little sick of giant corporations assuring us that we’re all suffering right now, especially as they do so through ads paid for with the billions in stimulus funds we as taxpayers provided them. Hey, Frito-Lay, I’m really glad that your company has been “focused on people,” but what does that have to do with the price of chips? Sadly, the geniuses at Forrester think we’re just getting started.
Yes, according to the venerated market research firm, “Cue the somber piano music and the ‘we’re all in this together’ declarations. We’re now entering the mass-market phase of pandemic advertising.”
For some companies, this is a natural fit. Taco Bell should discuss social distancing in their advertising, because no one wants to be within six feet of anyone who has recently eaten Taco Bell. For others, it’s a stretch. Remember that Keurig commercial from earlier this year where a soulful piano piece played over images of people having fun at home because something something coffee? Do we need more of those?

Why it’s bunk: This whole “pandemicwashing” thing was played out back in March when McDonald’s separated the golden arches as an act of … solidarity? I guess? Anyway, point is, the faster we bring back those ads where people happily eat from a chocolate fountain, the quicker we put this year behind us.

Prediction: Vogue says philosopher babies will rule the class of 2039 (because planets).
Speaking to Vogue magazine, a woman known as “Fashion’s Favorite Astrologer Susan Miller” gave a few of her more space-based predictions for the coming year, utilizing the scientifically sound measurement of giant rocks millions of miles away and their influence on babies.

Starting off her predictions with the credential-killing caveat, “I didn’t see the pandemic coming because I didn’t look for it,” Miller predicts that the coming Mercury retrograde will result in a slew of “philosopher babies” being born in the early part of 2021.

She also assures that everything will be okay after Jan. 12, owing to the fact that Jupiter and Pluto will be further than eight degrees apart and that a renewed focus on cleaning up the environment will happen, “because Uranus can innovate and come up with ways to save the planet.”

Why it’s bunk: I’ve always said, anyone who uses the phrase “Uranus can innovate” is not someone you want to put a lot of faith in. I think we all know where that prediction was pulled from. That said, if Philosopher Babies turns out to be a TV show featuring adorable little versions of Nietzsche and Socrates, I am all in.

Prediction: C2 says that people of all creeds and nations will come together in a sense of unity.
If we may pen our own quatrain into this year’s edition of Les Prophéties, we can’t help but feel like this year will be one of togetherness. We all spent this past year diving into our own bubbles, soothed by the reassuring tones of our echo chambers even as those songs turned us against those on the outside. Everyone is guilty of it to some extent.

But this is the year we break out of those bubbles. This year will come like a sudden drawing open of the curtains, bathing our cocoon-like viewpoints in the harsh sunlight. Seeing how insular we’ve become, we will seek out other opinions and points of view, reconciling them with our own perspectives. We’ll realize there is more binding us together than separating us, and a new golden age will emerge.

Why it’s bunk: Nothing that happened in 2020 makes us think that’s true. But it’s worth a shot, right?

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