People take photographs of the Olympic rings in Tokyo. The opening ceremony is still scheduled for July 23, 2021.
People taking photographs of the Illuminated Olympic rings in Tokyo. The opening ceremony is still scheduled for July 23, 2021. Photo by Tomohiro Ohsumi/Getty Images

What's in store for us? Every Tuesday, we consult the world's vibes, Google "ways to divine the future," and then we write down our best predictions. This week: predictions on the Olympics, Quibi, and SPOG President Mike Solan.

There will be attacks on Georgia polling locations. The first round of voting went as well as can be expected in this dumb country, but the runoffs in Georgia will be another story. Right-wing delusion artists will have had weeks to work up a froth of conspiracies. By the time the runoff election arrives (January 5, don't forget, Georgians), Trump will have churned his acolytes into an uncontrollable sudsy mass, like when you use the wrong kind of soap in the dishwasher. But unlike dishwasher soap, these frantic crackpots have guns. M.B.

Tokyo 2021 will happen. This morning, Tokyo reintroduced the floating Olympic Rings into Tokyo Bay. The city continues its plan to hold the postponed Olympic games next July, and I think they'll pull it off, especially considering Tokyo's incredible Covid-19 response. (Just 477 deaths in a population of over 9 million people.) Meanwhile, America has shown that you can hold sporting events in the middle of a raging, unmitigated pandemic—with crowds, even! Tokyo's events might still be crowdless, but with rapid testing and a vaccine, the country will pull off the world's first global event since the pandemic started. It will be meaningful and momentous. Eight months to go. C.B.

Trump will not hold a rally during Joe Biden's inauguration. That man lives for one thing: attention. And he knows that if he attends the inauguration, America will concentrate its attention on that event. If he holds a rally, he will be stuck with just his base and a few reporters there to tweet the crazy stuff for all who missed it. C.M.

Trump will attend the inauguration and cause a world-historical scene. This is why he can't miss it. The opportunity is just too big to make his mark. I can see him, as Justice Roberts swears in Biden, stand up and start shouting nonsense about how Biden stole the election. The machines. The dumps. The algorithm. Justice Roberts will have to ignore him and continue with the ceremony. C.M.

Trump will have a major medical emergency right after the inauguration and the scene. The fact he is no longer president will be too much for his body to bear. C.M.

Hulu will option a "coronavirus exposure app meet-cute" rom-com. I'd bet good money that Hulu is already scrambling to make a pandemic movie about two lost, quarantined singles who cross paths and COVID-19 particles. The two brush past each other in the grocery store. Later that night, a notification. "You have been exposed." Could it have been the other person? Our main character's heart flutters and then he sneezes. The notification protects private information. Could this be a quest for true love? Think Craigslist missed connections page meets Contagion. Coming to a laptop screen near you in March 2021. N.G.

Rudys begging you, Donald.
Rudy's begging you, Donald. Photo by Joshua Roberts/Getty Images

Trump will try to preemptively pardon himself, his family, and Rudy Giuliani. Look, this was in the cards. The Trump Organization and his 2016 campaign have been the subject of lawsuits and investigations over his entire term. With his decision to pardon former associate Michael Flynn last week, it's not a matter of if Trump will pardon his henchmen but of exactly how many. Paul Manafort is almost a sure bet to get the ol' presidential pardon, but with how freaky this administration has been, I predict Trump will attempt a preemptive pardon for himself and his family. There might even be some preemptive love for his personal lawyer and bog creature Rudy Giuliani. Trump has been asking aides since 2017 if his office granted him the power to self-pardon, an idea a former aide said he was "obsessed" with. While a pardon only applies to federal crimes—and currently New York City and New York state are investigating Trump and his family—when has a rule ever stopped this fuck? J.K.

YouTube will permanently ban One America News Network (OANN) from posting videos. One week ago, YouTube temporarily suspended OANN for violating its policies around misinformation and COVID-19. The Google-owned company also stripped OANN's ability to make ad revenue through its YouTube Partner Program. The suspension wraps up today, and it remains to be seen if YouTube will reapprove OANN to monetize its videos. YouTube has a three-strike plan, so if OANN violates YouTube's policies again, that's a second strike. The "news" network, one of Trump's favorites after his Fox fallout, is in choppy waters. C.B.

Washington lawmakers will get very little done this year. Just when you thought Democrats couldn't set the bar for success any lower—even as the need for action couldn't be any higher—last week lawmakers said the switch to a virtual session this year will dramatically reduce the number of bills they will pass. "We will get a budget passed. I’m not sure what else will get done," Sen. Karen Keiser said, only half-joking. Keiser guessed they'll pass maybe 200 bills during a year they'd expect to pass north of 450. Others have much lower figures—around 50 or 60. A combo of Zoom illiteracy (even this many months into a pandemic!), the near-impossibility of running a digital floor debate with 98 representatives on a conference call, and the inability to quickly work out minor disagreements in hallways will slow movement on a lot of legislation to a standstill. And the fact that a lot of planning will change or become more austere after January 5, when the results of the Georgia Senate races come clear, doesn't exactly help to speed the process along. R.S.

Tent cities will come to represent normal life in America. As Charles has observed, an encampment is the seed of a slum, and Seattle’s idiotic practice of chasing unhoused people from one temporary location to another will become an impossible task as evictions resume in various locations around the country. If you've stepped outside lately, you may have noticed that there sure are a lot of tents dotted around the city. As time goes on and encampment growth outpaces the city's ability to dismantle them, they'll establish themselves as just another cruel feature of capitalism. M.B.

Quibi founder Jeffrey Katzenberg shows off his historic failure in early January.
Quibi founder Jeffrey Katzenberg shows off his historic failure in early January. Photo by Daniel Boczarski/Getty Images for Quibi

Quibi shows will become the hottest hard-to-find digital media of the early streaming era. Quibi is officially dead. The mobile-only, billion-dollar, "quick bite" streaming service that launched at the beginning of the pandemic has failed to outlive it. While Quibi has scrubbed social media sites of all traces of the company, the fate of their extensive original programming remains unclear. The company paid for licensing rights and production costs, but Quibi's program creators retain their copyright. This means contributors could sell the work to another platform or never rerelease it to the public. Sure, there was very little love for the service while it was alive, but I predict Quibi's unholy demise will turn its programs—like Chance the Rapper's Punk'd—into hot, rare, streaming-only media. Nerds will try to find it all in the decades to come. J.K.

Other countries will adopt a four-day workweek very soon. New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern is mulling over slimming down her nation's workweek countrywide to help drum up domestic tourism and stimulate the economy. I think she'll do it, and other countries will follow suit. On the other hand, the U.S. will stick to Henry Ford's 40-hour workweek until a lot of old people in Congress die. N.G.

SPOG President Mike Solan will run for Mayor. When he ran for President of the Seattle Police Officers Guild, he promised to reclaim the "activist narrative" that he believes influences local politics. Since his "landslide" victory over Kevin Stuckey, a Black cop who attempted to build coalitions with other organizations during his time as SPOG president, Solan has worked hard to keep that promise. He's tried to increase his local and national profile by going on talk shows and openly suggesting the Feds should come crush local protests. He's hopped on the odd Fox News show, published little iMovies about the protests, and launched a PAC to stop the movement to divest from police and invest in Black communities.

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Most recently, he started a little podcast focused on bridging the divide between cops and the communities they say they serve, which he aptly named #HOLD THE LINE! (Once again I am asking the cops who like to quote the movie 300 to please watch the rest of the film.) In the podcast's first installment, Solan displays all the conversational skills of a back-alley rapist and all the brains of a Facebook bot, which makes him a perfect mayoral candidate for Safe Seattle types. I assume he has more fun playing big brother to rank-and-file cops, but I wouldn't be surprised if these media appearances/ventures ended up laying the groundwork for a run in the near future. R.S.

The PR company behind the monoliths will accidentally spawn a new cult. After it’s revealed that the metal monoliths were just a publicity stunt for a Netflix adaptation of 2001: A Space Odyssey, or a monthly subscription service for nose hair trimmers, or a new startup that does blockchain for cat food, everyone will instantly forget about them. Well, not everyone... a handful of groups around the world will insist that there must be more to the structures. There's simply GOT to be, and they won't stop digging deeper and deeper and deeper into conspiracy theories until their obsession will switch from cult-ish to a full-blown cult. The monoliths are just mythic enough, and so many people are looking for answers and explanations and higher meanings right now that worshipping a large metal prism will simply feel right. As L. Ron Hubbard famously said and never acted upon, "You don't get rich writing science fiction. If you want to get rich, you start a religion." Shrewd opportunists will seize on the burgeoning religion and start milking suckers for all they're worth. At this point, the PR company that started the whole mess will have two options: Either pretend it's not happening or embrace this new desperate demographic and hire influencers to start selling home monolith-building kits. M.B.


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