Spoofs & Satire

Yi-Hsin Tzeng, Kim Jong-il and His Flowers, 2011. Courtesy the artist and Aureus Contemporary.

This Will Be the Year That Was

As 2012 hatches, many face the new year with trepidation and excitement. Whose political fortunes will shine brightest? Were the Mayans right? Here are startlingly accurate predictions for the year ahead.


The first baby born this year, 14 seconds into Jan. 1, fails to see its shadow, presaging another year of recession.


In his State of the Union Address, President Obama pulls out a pair of brass balls attached by a string and clangs them together during each break for applause. This disaster is mitigated somewhat when Marco Rubio tries rapping the opposition response.


GM announces that the new Chevy Impala will run on geothermal energy. Commercials feature an impala outrunning volcanic lava, then being subsumed by the lava, then bursting out, blazing red, and running faster than ever.


Sarah Palin declares she is back in the U.S. presidential race, this time running on the tagline Strength After the Coming Apocalypse.



Beyoncé’s newest perfume, Pounce, is unveiled in a crystal egg lowered into Times Square, where it knocks over the statue of Father Francis Duffy. Beyoncé apologizes for damaging “the guy in the Nazi coat.”


A weakened NASA sells most of its rocketry equipment to the Sultan of Brunei.


At the 84th Academy Awards, Eddie Murphy “angrily” interrupts Billy Crystal’s opening monologue, à la Kanye West and Taylor Swift. The bit goes on for eight minutes, during which time the director cuts to every black audience member.



Laborers in rural Mexico claim that a new face is appearing in various foodstuffs. It is dubbed El Hitcho. “It is not holy, exactly,” one Carmelite sister explains, “except for that it is human. In this face we see that the sanctity of humans derives not from some unseen ruler’s hand, but from itself. This well-fed face is…good. Strange for me to say, but, yeah.” Church attendance drops and issues of Mexican Vanity Fair begin flying off shelves.


L.L. Bean releases its new line of Mayan apocalypse-wear.


The NCAA March Madness tournament expands its starting pool to 128 teams. Final Four: Duke, Kansas, DeVry, Millard H. Liebling High School.


Iceland officially switches its currency from the króna to the Canadian dollar. Canada’s Finance Minister Jim Flaherty welcomes the investment of “our cool new friend.” Iceland holds one final nightlong orgy in preparation of never getting laid again.



Beyoncé performs a free concert for Holy Cross Church in New York City as an apology for her actions in Times Square. Her rendition of “Ave Maria” is deemed too racy and suggestive, outraging the Conference of Catholic Bishops.


Dubbed “the romance of the year,” James Franco’s speedy engagement to Princess Beatrice of York is dashed when Beatrice learns that the marriage is one of Franco’s artistic projects. “It was a social experiment,” says Franco, “to see what being part of the Royal Family would be like. Beatrice is a great girl, but I’m not surprised she didn’t get it.”


The Sultan of Brunei buzzes the International Space Station.


To the surprise of no one, Herman Cain signs a deal for a reality show about overcoming his extramarital urges. To the surprise of many, Cain’s Love Train features prominent Republican women visiting Cain at home to help him deal with his issues, only to wind up in naughty, Benny Hill-esque misunderstandings. Ratings soar as Cain gets slapped by the end of every episode.



Kim Jong-un unveils his own perfume line, MagnifiScent, in Pyongyang. 2,800 dancers dressed as giant noses enact a three-day dramatization of the perfume’s creation in the Forge of Odorous Brotherhood. For the finale, an actress dressed as Beyoncé falls in love with the actor playing Kim Jong-un, later revealed to be Kim himself.


Anger is dropped from the five stages of grief due to its potential harm to children. It is replaced by self-esteem.


Pakistan tries to allay fears of political deception toward the U.S. by dedicating its new Burq-al-eyn Bridge to President Obama. Tensions mount when a puzzled Obama, Hu Jintao, and Vladimir Putin show up for the same ceremony.



Google acquires blues music. All blues recordings from W.C. Handy to Derek Trucks become the intellectual property of Google Inc. Anguished souls are encouraged to visit Google McConqueroogle, the only authorized outlet for the blues worldwide.


Bar patrons in St. Petersburg report seeing a jowly face appear in the condensation on their vodka glasses. The visage is described as “louche, lazy, yet intimidating; piercing and all-knowing, yet sacrilegious.” Cosmopolitan urbanites are seen rending their clothes, erecting a giant H in Admiralty Square and throwing typewriters at churches.


After their 11,000-year lease expires, Egypt gives Atlantis back to Greece.



Beyoncé’s escalating war with Catholicism earns the world’s scorn. She cancels all upcoming appearances and begins retreating into solitude.


Kim Jong-un declares himself the head of the North Korean Olympic team. When he arrives in London in a unitard, it becomes clear that Kim Jong-un is the North Korean Olympic team. Though entered in 19 events, his medal count falls far short of his goal.


Mitt Romney drops out of the U.S. presidential race, claiming he never wanted it if he couldn’t be someone else’s puppet.


When polled, few can believe this heat.



Outside a nightclub in Haifa, protestors gather to protest an all-female comedy festival. Early reports indicate the protestors are hard-line Orthodox Jews, but they dress casually in tan blazers and open-throated Brooks Brothers shirts and sip from pocket flasks. They wave books by Swift, Wilde, Thurber, and Hodgman while chanting, “Hitch is great! Hitch is good!” Janeane Garofalo is burned in effigy on a pyre of Clinton biographies.


Fatah tweets that “Hamas is Ha-mess.” Hamas tweets that “Fatah should get Thin-ah.”


Rick Perry wins the Republican presidential nomination after declaring he will let his top ten running-mate choices, or “tributes,” fight it out in an island arena crawling with genetically-created beasts and laced with tantalizing weapons, plus one precious vial of antibiotic hanging over a vat of acid.



Art thieves commit their boldest heist yet: three square miles of shimmering fabric from Christo’s unfinished Over the River project.


The XHL, hockey’s latest attempt to capture eyeballs, opens its season with a game between the Winston-Salem True Blood® Vampires and the Kapuskasing Roughriders. Action takes place in an iced velodrome, where players in superhero tights attempt to score on nets guarded by komodo dragons, the puck is a honey badger, and the sticks are Tyler Perry movies.


Countdown to the Etruscan apocalypse in 2015 begins.



Interpol announces it has recovered Christo’s Over the River fabric, but it proves to be a forgery from a textile plant in Bangalore.


Shit proceeds on its expected course of getting real.


Army troop transports launch from U.S. ports, get one-eighth of the way to the Persian Gulf, then turn around, just to get Iraq to settle down. A week later, it happens again, this time with Hilary Clinton pointing and counting to two and a half.


During her five-minute booth appearance in Game 2 of the World Series, Sarah Palin suggests that she believes the Mayan apocalypse has already occurred, right around the time of the Republican convention. Joe Buck points out that the earth remains extant, which Palin claims is a liberal distortion. She then expresses regret that the media bullies would force Josh Beckett to throw high and outside on a 3-2.



Barack Obama wins his second term as Commander-in-Chief. He credits the third candidates’ debate, when Rick Perry’s glued-on Movember ‘stache fell to the ground.


For the first time, dogs, taken as a whole, snag a place on the United Nations Human Development Index. Dogs outperform at least 37 actual nations in terms of quality of life, education, standard of living, and GDP.


Humorists declare an annus horribilis after Bashar al-Assad proves to be spectacularly unfunny, his atrocities and appearance utterly unmockable, and his brand of evil more banal than Angry Birds, the Broadway musical.


Buying that 2012 “Planking” calendar turns out to have been even stupider than buying that 2011 “Sad Jon Hamm” calendar.



Pop star Lady Gaga is apprehended in Paris attempting to purchase three square miles of shimmery fabric. She is denounced by Beyoncé, who has decided to pursue a career in art history.


The date of global annihilation foretold by the Mayans passes without any notable change to Earth. Hurricanes, earthquakes, poverty, disease, and general brutality continue regularly as they always have and always will.


Kim Jong-un bankrupts his nation to buy planet Kepler-22b as a Christmas present to the Sultan of Brunei, since the Sultan is the only person with the means to get to the Earth-like planet. Kim promises his people a future of prosperity—they will leave the mistakes of the past behind and travel to a new, fresh world. North Koreans rejoice. But Kim is informed that it would take three million years to reach Kepler 22b, and its life-sustaining qualities are still theoretical. Kim is devastated, breaking down as he makes the announcement on national television. He asks forgiveness for his blunder, cursing himself as more deluded than his father. The people are stunned, but they agree en masse that the Sultan should at least have his gift—it’s Christmas, after all. Kim contacts the Sultan and tearfully informs him of what he’s done. “But Kim,” says the Sultan, “I’ve already sold my space shuttles…to buy food for the people of North Korea!” Tears turn to laughter, the populace erupts in cheers, and the two leaders end 2012 sipping eggnog in the Sultan’s ice hotel as the first stars begin to blaze.


TMN Contributing Writer Michael Rottman lives like a lord in Toronto. His miscellany has appeared in print in The Fiddlehead, Grain, and Opium, and online at Yankee Pot Roast, Cracked, News Groper, and McSweeney’s. More by Michael Rottman