I predict a merger between the federal government
and TimeWarner, Inc. I predict that the State of the Union address
will be replaced by infomercials for this new mega-entity.
I predict that the United States will change its
name to America, Inc.
I predict that in America, Inc., citizens will
have to pay for the right to vote.
I predict that corporate sponsorship will become
a requirement for citizenship in America Inc., that everyone will
have a corporate logo tattooed on their forehead in exchange for
the right to work and that those without such a logo will become
untouchables and be forced underground.
I predict that parents will have to register their
newborns with their corporate employer in order to obtain a birth
certificate and a social security number for their child. I predict
that in exchange for citizenship in America, Inc., each child
will "belong" to its corporate sponsor--and that biological
parents will be viewed as surrogate care-givers whose role it
is to raise that child until the time comes to deliver it into
the hands of its corporate sponsor.
I predict the word "by-product" will
replace the word "child." A worldwide corporate ritual
will be observed annually as by-products of the appropriate age
group are turned over to their corporate sponsors.
I predict the launching of a prime time TV program
called "Death Row Today" where executions will be telecast
live. I predict that this program will quickly transform itself
into a popular pornographic art form.
I predict that Marilyn Monroe's body will be exhumed
and that her DNA will be extracted for cloning purposes. I predict
the creation of a sexual theme park in Orlando, Florida composed
entirely of Marilyn Monroe clones. I predict that the President
of America, Inc. will preside over the theme park's opening ceremonies.
I predict that corporate entities will soon be
able to purchase the right to blow up landmarked buildings just
as they are now able to buy the right to pollute the air. I predict
that the destruction of famous landmarks--the Empire State Building,
the Chrysler Building, the Golden Gate Bridge--will become a TV
show called "The Rise and Fall..." and that this program
will have the highest viewer ratings in television history.
I predict that Ricki Lake will be seen as the
Mother Theresa of the twenty-first century.
I predict that Oprah Winfrey will be placed on
trial for the crime of promoting literacy in America.
I predict that the Jerry Springer show and its
spin-offs will replace the U.S. Judicial system.
I predict that within the next five years, 98% of the American population will be unable to articulate a working definition for the word "privacy."
I predict that the Internet will become the most
potent and all-encompassing instrument of worldwide social control
since the dollar bill.
I predict that McDonald's will become the only
legally sanctioned food in America, Inc. Within ten years its
corporate headquarters will be based in St. Patrick's Cathedral,
and the Egg McMuffin will replace the host during Holy Communion.
I predict that in the wake of a top-secret biotech
experiment gone awry, a great bookworm plague will sweep the land.
A horde of tiny blue-green beetles will consume all paper and
print material: every book, newspaper, photograph, archival record,
love letter and Tampax instruction brochure on the face of the
I predict that this plague will be perceived by
many as a righteous act of God and that a worldwide BookWorm Cult
will emerge from the wreckage to worship the larval destroyer
of print material and the history it carries.
I predict that this religion will dominate Western
culture until the end of human time.
This poem originally appeared in Gargoyle,
edited by Richard Peabody