Ahh, the week between Christmas and New Year's. Despite this year's passings of James Brown and Preisident Gerald Ford, it's traditionally a very S...L...O...W news period, which is why the media, old and new alike, is inundated with appearances by the Lookie Twins--the looks back on the year past and forward to the year ahead.
I can deal with the annual Look-Backs. They're relatively innocuous: what happened, and why. Near-time nostalgia.
It's the Look-Aheads that kinda tick me off a bit. This is the time of year when the blowhard brigade trumpet their polished horns the loudest. Suddenly, everyone's a John Naisbitt, and soothsaying with reckless abandon. And with so many media outlets fighting for attention, the pundits' prognostication gets wilder and louder to shout down the other guys.
And here's why they can get away with it--there's no accountability. Look-Aheaders know that no matter what they say, no one's ever gonna call 'em on it. In fact, the more noise they make, the more outlandish their forecasting, chances are that they'll be invited back to predict the future same time NEXT year. The end doesn't justify the means; it's as if the end doesn't even exist. Screw the answers, this is all about the questions.
As FOPs know well by now, the whole nature of Surprise is going against what is expected, or what one says is expected to happen. The truly eye-popping things we look back on in late December are rarely, if ever, foreshadowed in early January. Show me the psychic that predicted the meteoric rise of YouTube or Facebook or An Inconvenient Truth or (add 1,000 other examples here) and I'll show you a liar. In fact, one of my favorite adages of all time is the skeptical and somewhat nasty:
"He Who Predicts the Future Lies...
Even If He Tells The Truth."
Yeah, yeah, I know; I should chill out. Suck back an eggnog or something. Most of the Look-Aheads are meant primarily for entertainment purposes. But to me, what would be REALLY entertaining is if every so-called fortune teller's claim made this time of year would be duly recorded, safely stored and ceremoniously brought out 365 days later to be compared to the reality they foresaw.
Like Mutual Fund Managers, Sport Oddsmakers and other people who risk their credibility every time they open their mouths, Look-Aheaders should be evaluated, ranked and rated every December 31st. Let 'em put their crystal balls on the line. Live by the word, die by the word. Now that would separate today's true Nostradamuses (Nostradami?) from the Country Fair Fakirs!
Come to think of it, that would also make a truly interesting year-end reality television show; way more fun that those lame-o, Y-List "Celeb"-packed New Year's Eve "specials" the networks foist upon us.
So, any brave oracle out there wanna go out on a limb and predict that this makes it to TV by next Dec. 31?
Uh...Happy New Year.