The new Portlandia.
The new Portlandia. GETTY IMAGES/ANTON CHALAKOV

What's in store for us? We're self-isolating and trying to figure it out. This week: J.K. Rowling will write a book about cancel culture, museums will sell their collections, and the Democrats will retake the Senate.

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Americans will become animists. We have a president who says he knows nothing about science claiming he knows more about the climate than science. The chances of this president being reelected are real. But even if Biden wins, we can expect he will not be radical enough to address the climate crisis with real force. What will happen as a consequence? With science being unavailable (Trump) or too late (Biden), we (on the West Coast, at least) will resort to the next best thing: superstition. Like the cultures of old, we will be forced to pray for that rain. Maybe even sing and dance for it to come down. Please, sky. Listen, sky. We sing to you, rain. Rain, rain. Seattle and Portland are already doing this kind of thing. C.M.

Portland will now be known as the antifa capital. Portlanders aren't breathing any sighs of relief these days, but here's something to be relieved about: The days of Portlandia are officially behind us. Rose City denizens told me for years that they were over Portlandia before Portlandia even started. But the twee hipsterdom presented in that show defined/plagued the city for a decade. When the nation thought of Portland, they thought of Portlandia. But that's all over now. The antifa fearmongering from Trumplandia has burnt that image to a crisp. We're in the decade of the black bloc. Of course, anti-fascist organizing has always been a part of Portland, and future-Portland will still feature artisanal vegan brunches, but this image shift is something to celebrate. Congrats! ACAB! Good luck dodging the fed vans! C.B.

J.K. Rowling's next book will be about cancel culture. And by "next book," I mean the one after the around 900-page transphobia manifesto she's writing. N.G

Smaller museums in less affluent cities will start hawking their collection at auction. This week Christopher Knight of the LA Times lambasted the Everson Museum of Art in Syracuse for quietly announcing the sale of “Red Composition” by Jackson Pollock to make room for marginalized artists. And also to bring in, cough, $18 million. The painting was the artist's second experimentation with his famous drip technique that would go on to break the art world. Knight describes the museum's move as "betraying its legacy" by moving this "public asset" into private hands. While deaccessioning is an accepted and well-controlled practice among museums, the pandemic has shifted the industry's best practices around it. In April, the Association of Art Museum Directors relaxed its deaccessioning rules to give museums more financial flexibility. I predict that we could see more of these smaller museums in small cities selling off bits of their collection as their industry continues to face immense uncertainty. We'll be worse off for it. J.K.

Forget saving the Earth; it's time to blast off to Venus. Global politicians will say what they've been thinking for a while: Climate change is a bust, and it would take too much effort to see Earth through it. Forget fighting the wildfires, staving off the cyclones, and trying to thaw from a big freeze. It's time to pivot to space colonization. Now that there's possible life on Venus and asteroid belt dwarf planet Ceres is geologically active (with some saltwater brine deposits), I expect the Jeff Bezos and Elon Musk-types to diversify their planet-fleeing endeavors. Tired of the toxic air? So are they. That's why it'll be better to colonize a planet with no natural atmosphere to breathe! N.G.

The Democrats will retake the Senate. According to a new Vox explainer on the various paths Democrats might take to rip the gavel out of Mitch McConnell's hand, Jessica Taylor, the Senate editor for the race prognosticators over at the Cook Political Report, said she'd "give Democrats a slight edge" in 2020. I'm just going to jinx it right now and say the Democrats will take Colorado (because Gov. Hickenlooper's lead in the polls has been steady), Maine (because nobody likes Susan Collins), Arizona (because everybody likes astronauts) and North Carolina (because I predict Sen. Thom Tillis will get COVID-19 at a crucial moment in the campaign, given his recent slip-ups in the mask-wearing department, which will throw off his game). These four seats plus the (fingers crossed, toes crossed, arms crossed, legs crossed, eyes crossed) White House will give Democrats control of both chambers and the executive branch, which they'll use to spare the Republic from total destruction and maybe bring back the individual mandate. R.S.

My new air purifiers will commit seppuku. The wildfires "climate fires" backed me into a sweaty corner and forced me to buy two little BISSELL air purifiers for my apartment. They do help (the air and my sanity)—but the filters? They're supposed to last around six months. Judging by the hazardous air outside, I'm betting these sturdy lil' filters will hold out for about... two weeks. Maybe a month? I'll send an update. I know you're waiting on the edge of your seat. C.B.

West-coast wine will taste like smoke. It’s grape harvesting season, which means it’s time for those little round blobs to decide whether they will graduate into raisins (bad) or wine (good). And while it’s been a fine growing season, the wildfires will make the harvest extra-complicated: Not only will farm workers have to labor outdoors in the middle of unsafe air, we’ve also got smoke particles clinging to every imaginable surface. That means the 2020 wine crop might have a bit of a BBQ taste, at best, or a used-ashtray flavor at worst. It’s called “smoke taint,” it’s a real problem, and it’s only going to get worse. If you find yourself buying wine grown on the west coast in the next few years, you might want to pair it with something that’s been charred on a grill so the ashen taste in your drink doesn’t stand out too much. And wine is just the canary in what might turn out to taste like a literal coal mine: Since so much of our food is grown in wildfire country, we might have to get used to the idea that our salads, guacamole, and jam will taste like the smoking section of a 1970s-era IHOP. M.B.

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Gen Z will have good skin. The only thing I'm sure will come out of this pandemic is that Gen Z will have glowing skin. They will be ageless. Before the pandemic, skincare was already something to obsess over. Now, spraying a spritz of vitamin c toner on your face is the one thing you can control. All Gen Z is doing is staying inside their parents' houses, out of the sun, and buying creams and skin juices off Instagram. Their futures are up in the air, but at least they can control their crows feet. N.G.

We'll see new workplace protections based on air quality. Fine particles that harm even the healthiest of people have clogged Seattle's air, and yet the Mariners are outside playing doubleheaders and waiters are still serving people brunching on patios (!!!). Yesterday, there was a slight glimmer of hope: At City Council, Councilmember Andrew Lewis brought up that we've "had city contractors doing city work in air that was hazardous" and how "we certainly need to address" this issue "as a city." Yes, Andrew! We do! This fire season has been a catastrophe. When do we finally start getting prepared and protected? C.B.

We're in for a Romance Renaissance. We’re all going a little bonkers in isolation, and with a vaccine months away under the best of conditions, the cabin fever is only going to get worse. Where can we turn when we’re desperate for physical attention and the soft erotic touch of a lover? To romance novels, of course, that tried and true escape to pleasures of the flesh. Expect to see more windswept long hair and clutching of muscular chests on book covers, and for your friends to sheepishly admit to having devoured Harlequin’s new Carina Adores line of books (which are all LGBTQ+ inclusive and quite good). Oh sure, you hard-boiled city folks may shake your heads condescendingly at such mushy pulp! You’ll snicker dismissively when you see a copy of Hideaway Inn for sale in the supermarket checkout line. But then, you reach for the book—just to inspect its silly cover so you can make fun of it later, of course—and another hand will extend toward it at the same time, and you’ll turn your head to lock eyes with a smoldering farmhand who’s just dropped off the day’s kale harvest. One dark eyebrow arches as a bead of sweat trickles from his unkempt hair, and from behind his flannel mask you hear his stentorian voice rumble, “Oh. A fan of the enemies-to-lovers trope, I see.” And all you can do is bite your lip and blush, as your new life as a farmer’s mate unfurls in front of you. M.B.

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