Every year, in late December, I, like so many of my journalistic colleagues, like to look to the future and speculate on — i.e., make predictions about — the events, developments and trends we can expect in the upcoming year. And this year is no exception. But before making any predictions regarding 2001, I feel compelled, in the interests of accountability, to revisit and review my prognostications for the year 2000.
Excerpted from Pseudoquasiesque, Dec. 23, 1999:
"In Texas, Gov. George W. Bush will oversee the execution of his 68th human being; meanwhile, on the campaign trail, Candidate Bush, through his speeches and actions, will demonstrate to America that his IQ of 180 makes him an uncommon choice for president."
For this, I'll give myself half credit. I simply had my numbers reversed.
"A marginally attractive female will do something hugely ridiculous and/or illicit. This will garner her an undeserved, unwanted and tiresome amount of media attention. Then, just as her notoriety is about to expire, she'll pose naked in Playboy magazine for a large sum of money."
Thanks to Darva Conger, multi-millionaire marrier, I nailed that one dead on.
(As regular readers might remember, I've made this identical prediction six years in a row and six times I've been right. In light of that, I'll let it ride and predict it again for 2001.)
"The Nasdaq's performance in the year 2000 will be weak and lead to unprecedented losses."
Being the avid sports fan that I am, I can't believe how wrong I was on this one. In fact, let me now apologize and go on record as saying that Nasdaq might be the most talented center in the league and it was his brilliant play on offense and defense that single-handedly won the NBA championship for his Los Angeles Laker teammates.
Nearly a year before the Bush-Gore debacle, I wrote "... there will be a tie in November's presidential election." I believe I'm the only pundit in the country to see this one coming.
(Editor's note: While technically true, Woodiwiss neglects to mention that the tie he predicted was between Reform Party candidate Pat Buchanan and I Could Eat Me a Monkey Sandwich Party candidate Gus Sug. Still, Buchanan's inability to outpoll Sug, while perhaps surprising, has been hailed by political scientists at the Brookings Institute as "proof of a not entirely hopeless electorate.")
Although I did not foresee the Elian Gonzales episode specifically, that incident proved to be the catalyst for this prediction coming true: "Tensions with Cuba will escalate and, with the resultant strain in trade relations between the two countries, Americans will find themselves in short supply of absolutely nothing."
Now, moving on to what 2001 will bring, I think we can expect the following:
Big Tobacco will lose several more major lawsuits and hundreds of millions of dollars in judgments along with them. To thwart future suits, they'll begin to secretly blend their tobacco with high resin marijuana in the hopes that really stoned cigarette smokers will look at a long legal battle as "way too much of a hassle, man."
The nation's tabloid readers will be treated to several cover stories about Anne Heche and her new boyfriend, Pregnant Chad.
President Bush will go on national television to inform America that, with the patient assistance of his Secretary of Education, he's become "hooked on phonics."
O.J. Simpson's tenacity will finally pay off when he finds the real killers. Unfortunately for him and California law enforcement officials, when he locates the culprits they're already dead, having been savagely hacked to pieces by an obviously experienced, but as yet unknown, assailant.
Protests over global trade agreements will expand and escalate, stretching anarchists' time and resources so thin that they have to close ranks and organize. But because they necessarily find their own system repressive, they begin to demonstrate against themselves, stretching them even thinner, leading to a need for even tighter management, and so on and so on and so on.
Robert Downey Jr. and Darryl Strawberry will learn their lessons, walk the straight and narrow and become productive, respected citizens. Hah-hah. Just goofin' on ya.
Late in the year, Vice President Dick Cheney, in a move most Americans call "equal parts ruthless ambition and deep patriotism," will smother President George W. Bush in his sleep.
I'd invite you to return to this space next December and see how I did, reader, but you're not going to survive that stroke I see you having in September. ©