"It was the best of times, it was the worst of times, it was the age of wisdom, it was the age of foolishness, it was the epoch of belief, it was the epoch of incredulity, it was the season of Light, it was the season of Darkness, it was the spring of hope, it was the winter of despair." The great beginning to the Charles Dickens classic A Tale of Two Cities seems especially true this year.
Kurt Andersen notes that we are in an age of flux and paralysis at the same time. In entertainment, we yearn for authenticity – but ten million of us watch the Kardashians on television every week. So, where do we go from here? Playwright and screenwriter Paul Rudnick and Salon's Mary Elizabeth Williams help Kurt predict what's in store for our culture in 2012.
Salon's Mary Elizabeth Williams andplaywright/screenwriter Paul Rudnick
Williams has a hunch reality television will start reflecting the protest movements. "The activism we've seen swelling will somehow be cheapened in the reality genre," she thinks. "I can totally see a Tea Party/Occupy smackdown." And Rudnick predicts Tony nominations for 2011's spectacular flop, Spiderman: Turn Off The Dark. "So many musicals have bombed along the way and closed early. The theatrical community can sometimes reward [financial] success because it does keep people employed."
All three agree that yearning for the authentic is not going away – from Etsy to the bestselling app Instagram, which makes digital photos look aged and worn, to a Justin Bieber steampunk video. "We're just shabby chic-ing everything," notes Williams.
What are your predictions for 2012? Tell us in a comment below.