outsideleft voices, alex v. cook, lamont and alarcon look ahead to 2005, assessing the damage...
2004's in the rear view already and the years' atrocious promises kept, are not just bigger than they look, just bigger. 2004 will cast its shadow for months, if not years to come.
What would you celebrate coming out of 2004? Asked to write a year in review, things seem so dark that I could only look ahead with hope, not back. No seeds of human grace sown.
So, in 2005. How about farewell to 'Freedom Fries' and the restoration of French Fries, in the Congressional kitchen. Farewell to the lazy and illogical hating of all things 'French'? How and why did this happen? I was in Von's on New Year's Eve to be remonstrated with by a woman for buying French Champagne."I won't buy anything French, we hate the French and the French hate us.." I wondered what her French friends would have to say about that.If we hate them so much why don't we just send their damned Statue of Liberty back?
2005, how about some aid to the victims of the Vioxx Tsunami? It began while Clinton's FDA was on watch and hasn't abated since. The estimated dead and injured approaches 130,000 now. If the estimates are true, then are we looking at one of the biggest mass manslaughters in history? Can there be a bigger public interest scandal ahead?
On a lighter note...On TV. Well, Jerry's gone, but Law & Order's still on TNT. There's been little else for years.
What else? How about an Arcade Fire sophomore slump. I'd pay my $9.90 to download that from iTunes, to hear it with my own ears. It's probably not going to happen, they'll be on more soundtracks that Franz Ferdinand in 2005.
The truly horrible Robosapien will be Hobosapien by mid-year. C'mon, our cat is subnormal by cat standards and he can go fetch the roasted almonds from the kitchen when we ask. When we had hobosapien in our office, he couldn't do anything. Hobosapien is not Asimo's younger bro' by any means. And on Asimo, Honda's got to stop putting out those scary i-Robot press releases, "Asimo Can Now Run!" Have you seen that? Yikes!
The rest? I never know, I'll be hopefully and happily stumbling blindly, looking for things to love.
alex v. cook
Given that our attention spans have been whittled to such a nub that we are no longer even able to repeat history, we are doomed to constantly cycle through the present. It's like Nietzsche's Doctrine of Eternal Recurrence, except we are cutting out the middle-man.
Politics: There will be an audible screech heard in the wind when the proceedings to actually reverse Roe v Wade get into motion.
Music: No one will care about Modest Mouse anymore. And it doesn't really look good for any of the others (Arcade Fire, Franz Ferdinand, and TV on the Radio) either. Sad to say this, but they are no The Hives. Some hoary act like Duran Duran (but not them) will come out of nowhere and be huge again. Either U2 or REM are going to break up, to a (to them) shockingly lack of fanfare and Rolling Stone will weep alone in its empty pew at the service.
TV: TV will save us all. The Surreal Life will be super-awesome, with professional nut job Jane Wiedlin and creepy hyperlabial porn wrestler Chynna and Mini-Me there are the dark horse that will out-creep them all. And Jeff Probst will enter politics. "Desperate Housewife" shirts (and I do like the show) will be the new "Porn Star" shirts for the cheeky ladies in the mall. And its been like 6 years since the last season of the Sopranos, so surely they are going to come back on, please? I'm lonely without good TV.
Movies: The only movies I will end up seeing in the theatre are going to be kid's movies, and Netflix will be my only connection to high culture since there will yet again not be a single goddamn movie worth watching on any of these pay channels. If only Netflix could somehow include burritos with your copy of "The Shield: Season 2 Disc 1" I could officially cut ties with the outside world.
Technology: I think this is going to be the year for Apple. I think the iPod opened the door on their widespread viability and they as a company are going to get the hint that 95% of the high end computers in the world are not being utilized by graphic designers and turntablists, but by dullard uncool business types and people waiting for your customer service call. Nothing new is going to happen in web browsers. There will be plenty of good new open source sexy ones to crop up, but none of them will work with your bank's online-banking site. Media servers are going to happen and I for one will be happy to comply. Either Time Warner or Cox Communications are going to be the first corporation to project laser ads on the Moon, irritating all of us who already have cable, and scaring the birds.
Fashion: No one will really continue to care.
Theatre: Ditto. The whole enterprise will be turned over to Elton John and Billy Joel, and they will get married (the Roe V Wade backlash with make gay marriages really happen) and they will make an army of Broadway libretto-dribbling zombies.
I'm not sure about you, but I've never been so nonplussed about an upcoming year as I am with 2005, but maybe that's how I feel every year around this time, who knows. I never really settle into any given year until spring anyway. And with that said, I'm going to get right into it - - I'm predicting the shots for 2005...
Let's get it out in the open right now: the Arcade Fire. I've downloaded a few songs onto the old iPod and I've heard the band on KCRW and you know what? They're alright, but I just don't see them shaping the landscape the way the Strokes did in 2001 (love 'em or loathe 'em, the Stokes really did fix things a few years ago). So who'll hold our collective attention for more than a couple months in 2005? Call me crazy, but I'm putting my paycheck on Radio 4. I don't know a whole lot about their past, all I really know is that their from the Brooklyn area and they formed sometime in 2000. If Astralwerks can put enough of their Fatboy Slim profits behind Radio 4 in a full-press promotional campaign, they easily succeed Franz Ferdinand as the new Flavor of the Month.
But I'm handicapping my music pick due to the fact that Radio 4 has already been selling its art to advertising agencies and automobile campaigns. The one truly untapped source of musical genius is Eskimo Hunter, an experimental project founded by ex-Lassie Foundation bassist Jason 71. The music is a bit of a cross between the shimmering guitars of My Bloody Valentine and spacey minimalism of Air. Look for clips of music and more info at eskimohunter.com.
Forecasts in the world of art? You're looking to the wrong person, but word on the street is that the installation in NYC's Central Park entitled The Gates by French "artists" Christo and wife Jeanne-Claude is suppoed to be hot shit. Describing art is pointless, but in this case I'll try: Central Park's pathways will be lined with over 7,500 pairs of orange steel girders with orange satiny sheets draped over each pair of girders. Am I oversimplifying it? Nope, that's it. The $20 million, I'll repeat - $20 million project has been 25 years in the making is already being called the most memorable piece of art to be created in the last 10 years, but I say unless one of the beams falls and kills a few¬†tourists¬† (much like Christo's umbrella installations¬†that killed two people in Southern California and Japan back in 1991), The Gates will come and go without much fanfare.
About the only thing I can really rely on this year is television. I'm putting a lot of stock in VH1's The Surreal Life 4. Jane Wieldlin sells what's left of her soul and joins the cast as does female wrestler Chyna Doll and Verne Troyer best known as the half-pint Mini-Me (imagine the comic situations those two are going to get into). Cheaters is still a favorite and if the networks can get the show on earlier instead of the 1AM timeslot is resides in now, I think Joey Greco and his crack team of Cheaters private investigators will finally break though to the mainstream in 2005.
That's it really, I'm not even going to predict anything by way of politics. I'm going into 2005 with incredibly low expectations. I suggest you do as well.
This Year in Preview assembled by outsideleft founder/editor Michael Alarcon