Wednesday, March 5, 2008

A Short History of the Inevitable

Now that we’ve seen the results of Super Tuesday Part 2: Revenge of the Ice Queen, it’s time to take a deep breath and have a little historical lesson about inevitability and foregone conclusions.

I remind you all that the conventional wisdom is that conventional wisdom is usually wrong. If it were correct people would call it ‘fact.’

1912: The Titanic is the world’s greatest ocean liner, so mighty that God himself couldn’t sink her.
Result: Sank on its maiden voyage, 1,520 souls lost.
Silver Lining: Lots of academy awards and getting to see Leonardo DiCaprio freeze to death.

1928: This boom is forever! The old economic rules no longer apply!
Result: Black Thursday, 1929.
Silver Lining: Back then brokers who cost you your life savings had the good grace to jump out a window.

1939: The German army is utterly unstoppable, mowing down all those who dare stand against them.
Result: Bogged down in Stalingrad to a Russian army that told the second rank to just pick up rifles as the first rank got mowed down.
Silver Lining: Gave Hollywood a ‘staple’ villain for the next 70 years.

1948: Dewey defeats Truman!
Result: Um, on second thought, no he didn’t.
Silver Lining: First photographic evidence of schadenfreude.

1955: The ‘Big Three’ networks of ABC, CBS, and NBC will always control news and information flow to the American public.
Result: It’s true that people alive in 1955 still watch the nightly news on the big three. Not many other people do, though.
Silver Lining: Cable gave birth to HBO, which showed moves with naked women in them for the prurient interest of a generation born before the wonders of Internet porn.

1969: Colts can’t possibly lose to the upstart Jets and their pretty-boy quarterback.
Result: Joe Namath makes sports history, spawns countless imitators.
Silver Lining: Getting to see a drunken Namath drooling over Suzy Kolber. And I suppose seeing him in pantyhose, if you’re into that kind of thing.

1971: Population is exploding and we’re all going to starve!
Result: The models were a wee bit off and didn’t account for people not being dumbasses.
Silver Lining: Soylent green is made out of people! It’s people!

1980: You can’t hope to stop the USSR, you can only hope to contain it.
Result: Dissolved, with leader now stooping to palming Super Bowl rings.
Silver Lining: Eight years of a drunken Boris Yeltsin being taken seriously on the world stage.

1997: AOL is an Internet juggernaut that will control cyberspace forever
Result: AOL is a joke used only by losers.
Silver Lining: AOL’s plunge has poisoned Time-Warner, and the “You’ve got mail!” guy managed to find work as the Enzyte spokesman.

2000: This Internet boom will go on forever! Old economic rules no longer apply!
Result: Buddy, can you spare me a quarter? My options are worthless.
Silver Lining: It gave us the hand puppet dog. On second thought, that’s more like a plague of locusts…

2007/8: Hillary Clinton is the putative nominee/Barack Obama has unstoppable momentum.
Result: Remains to be seen, but these can’t both be true.
Silver Lining: Helps distract Republicans from the fact that 51% of them hate their nominee.

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