The Fu­ture Is Here

WHAT LIES AHEAD FOR JEWISH CUL­TURE IN 2018

Forward Magazine - - Shima Now - By Talya Zax

As has been the case for two years in a row now, ex­actly one of our pop cul­ture pre­dic­tions for 2017 turned out to be right. Un­for­tu­nately, it be­gan with the words “Lena Dun­ham will pen a well-in­ten­tioned but tone deaf open let­ter to some­one or an­other,” and yes, that turned out even worse than we thought it might.

It is, frankly, a strange time at which to at­tempt even a face­tious imag­in­ing of what next year might bring to our most beloved celebri­ties. Any pre­dic­tion about any fa­mous man is dan­ger­ous; at­tempts at hu­mor re­gard­ing a man now par­tially or pre­dom­i­nantly fa­mous for his sex­ual mis­con­duct — Har­vey We­in­stein, Matt Lauer, Char­lie Rose, Louis C.K., et cetera, et cetera — risk be­ing read as in­sults to his vic­tims. In past years, we’ve used this for­mat to make fun of Woody Allen; this year, it’s more clear than ever that what is nec­es­sary is a se­ri­ous pub­lic ac­count­ing of the ac­cu­sa­tions against him, not an­other joke about his propen­sity for de­pict­ing small-minded white men as he­roes.

So, in all earnest­ness, be­fore the jokes be­gin, this year we’re mak­ing no pre­dic­tions about men, and pre­dict­ing al­most en­tirely pos­i­tive things for women. Of course, there are male stars out there who could use an ego boost — don’t worry, An­drew Garfield, you’re al­ways in our hearts — and we don’t be­lieve all women to be morally spot­less. (See above, re­gard­ing Dun­ham.) But boy, we’ve had a tough year. So in the fol­low­ing pages, no boys al­lowed.

1In the wake of the suc­cess of “The Power,” her 2017 book about women shoot­ing light­ning out of their hands, Naomi Al­der­man will be in­un­dated by re­quests that were di­rected, in a more in­no­cent time, to J.K. Rowl­ing: Please make it real, please, please.

2 Sarah Jes­sica Parker will don her best babushka garb — no Manolo Blah­niks in Ukraine! — for her new HBO se­ries, “Sex and the Shtetl.”

3 Maya Ru­dolph will re­lease a se­quel to “Ru­dolph the Red-Nosed Rein­deer” called “Who’s Got a Red Nose Now?” The tit­u­lar Ru­dolph, tired of the other rein­deer’s bul­ly­ing, will strike out on her own, beat Santa at his own game, and teach ev­ery­one that it’s wrong to re­quire that your col­leagues do your job for you be­fore you’re nice to them.

4 Paula Ab­dul will re­lease a Hanukkah al­bum fea­tur­ing her fa­mous sin­gle “Straight Up” reimag­ined as “Eight Up,” an ode to the Mac­cabees’ mirac­u­lous lamp.

5 Rachel Bloom, who wowed us with the fan­girl an­them “F**k Me, Ray Brad­bury” be­fore hit­ting it big with her CW show, “Crazy Ex-Girl­friend,” will re­lease an al­bum of Brad­bury-themed love songs. High­lights will in­clude “I Burn for You Like Books Burn for Jus­tice” (or “To Quell the Pro­le­tariat, Stop Ask­ing Ques­tions”) and “Some­thing Wicked This Way Comes, If, Heh Heh, You Know What I Mean.”

6 Glo­ria Steinem will film a cameo for “Won­der Wo­man 2”; as fans an­tic­i­pate the film’s 2019 re­lease, she and Gal Gadot will be­gin a widely hyped web se­ries called “Glori-ous Gals.”

7 De­spite the fact that she passed away in 2016, Car­rie Fisher will man­age to be the best thing about 2018, purely by the fact of hav­ing ever ex­isted.

8 Roz Chast will re­lease a book of friv­o­lous yet pointed car­toons about Rus­sian in­ter­fer­ence in the 2016 elec­tion, ti­tled “Putin’s Pu­nim.”

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Snooki, who in 2014 learned she had Jew­ish an­ces­tors — and re­acted by in­form­ing her now-hus­band, who asked if she now cel­e­brated Yom Kip­pur, that “Jew­ish is, like, a part of Europe” — will try des­per­ately to make a Shab­bat drama plot­line hap­pen on the up­com­ing “Jer­sey Shore” re­boot, “Jer­sey Shore Fam­ily Va­ca­tion.”

10 In­spired by Snooki, Is­raeli pro­duc­ers will at­tempt a pro­foundly il­lad­vised “Jer­sey Shore” re­make called “Jaffa Shore.” Its tagline? “The only thing spicier than the drama is the shak­shuka.”

11 Amy Sher­man-Pal­ladino, fresh off the suc­cess of the first sea­son of her new Ama­zon show, “The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel” — in which the char­ac­ters speak nearly as quickly as those on Sher­man-Pal­ladino’s break­out hit, “Gil­more Girls” — will at­tempt her most lin­guis­ti­cally dizzy­ing pro­ject yet: a fast-talk­ing, punc­tu­a­tion-less Gertrude Stein biopic ti­tled “Scin­til­lat­ing Sa­ga­cious Stein.”

12 Ja­maica Kin­caid will be tapped to head a new cul­ture magazine in place of the one that Leon Wieseltier was in­tended to lead prior to reve­la­tions of his sex­ual mis­con­duct. Its read­ers will promptly, bless­edly for­get that Wieseltier ever ex­isted.

13 An Ayn Rand holo­gram will show up in the Se­nate in Fe­bru­ary and just, well, kind of stay there. Af­ter sev­eral weeks, Rand Paul will start re­fer­ring to it as “baby.”

14 The late, great Dorothy Parker will find a sec­ond life as the sub­ject of an un­in­tel­li­gi­ble and wildly pop­u­lar meme on Twit­ter.

15 Ivanka Trump will be­gin go­ing by her mid­dle name, Marie.

16 The band Haim will ful­fill a wish ex­pressed by To­vah Feld­shuh on “Crazy Ex-Girl­friend” and write an ab­so­lute banger about Jew­ish suf­fer­ing.

17 An­nie Lei­bovitz will make head­lines for ex­hibit­ing pho­to­graphs of pro­gres­sive ac­tivists dis­guised as mem­bers of the Trump fam­ily. The New York Times will call it a pre­scient ex­am­i­na­tion of who is al­lowed ac­cess to the mech­a­nisms of power, and why. Our pres­i­dent will nick­name her Loopy Lei­bovitz. She will be thrilled.

18 Judy Blume will have a nice year. She seems like a nice per­son. We hope — cough, know — that 2018 will be great for her.

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