What a Pigeon's Entrails Told Me About Justin Bieber's 2012

The Atlantic's entertainment columnist makes his predictions for 2012


This morning, like a good cultural critic, I ascended knife in hand to my rooftop terrace and committed prophetic murder upon a slow-moving pigeon. One thought, one question, was in my mind: "What's going to happen next year in the world of TV, music, et cetera? I need to be ahead of the curve on this shit." Despite its obesity, the bird's innards were stringy and hard to read. Plus it was snowing. But I persisted! And after a certain amount of squinting and chanting I was able to establish the following ten soon-to-be-facts:

  1. In 2012, technology will deal another blow to the publishing industry, as it becomes clear to consumers that books no longer need to be purchased in bookstores or downloaded from the Internet, but can simply be syringed into a fleshy part of the body. "Bookshots," so called, will run away with the market, the biggest hit being Best YouTube Comments 2011, edited by Paul Muldoon. (Close second: Glenn Beck's poetry collection,The Boiled Frog Diaries.)
  2. Ke$ha duetted with Alice Cooper, Lady Gaga with Tony Bennett - which fruity eminence will sing with Justin Bieber? The question answers itself: Hillary Clinton. In 2012 the Secretary Of State and Das Beebs will enjoy worldwide success with their cover of Judas Priest's "Dissident Aggressor."
  3. Plagiarist Times, the popular free broadsheet featuring only stolen, cribbed or clumsily paraphrased writing, will be forced to close after accidentally printing a series of devastating exclusives.
  4. Charlie Sheen made it look easy: Twenty minutes of loony talk, a smell of porn and fritzed pleasure-circuits, and the money rolls in. It takes craft, however, so lucratively to explode oneself, and 2012 will see lesser performers found out in their attempts to rip off the Sheeniac. A nude sprint down Sunset Strip will gain little traction for Zac Efron, and few will be convinced by Fareed Zakaria's on-air "breakdown."
  5. The set of ABC's Occupy Reality, a reality show in which anti-hegemonic activists are awarded "protest points" by a panel that includes Rachael Ray and the pepper-spraying policeman John Pike, will be stormed by anti-hegemonic activists.
  6. Tensions will surface in the community of unbelief, as Trad Atheist groups like Fist of Dawkins clash with the new generation of easy-breezy I'll-pray-if-I-want-to Post-Atheists. "Heresy," Daniel Dennett will mutter, through his God-like beard.
  7. Finally, there will be a global renewal of interest in the career of Leo Sayer, who will record an album with Rick Rubin.

Only seven items? I promised you ten. The last three revelations, however, were apocalyptic in nature and too disturbing for the general reader, so I've posted them on my Facebook page where only my 17,481 closest friends can see them. Happy New Year!

Image credit: Shuttershock

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James Parker is an Atlantic contributing editor.

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