24 perfectly plausible pop culture predictions for 2024
Will HAIM release a mikvah album? Will Larry David get canceled on ‘Curb’?
As we enter 2024, and put this difficult year in our rearview mirror, it’s worth taking time to reflect.
Specifically, it is valuable to take stock of what really matters: whether my annual pop-culture predictions from last year came true.
Some did, in fact, despite my best efforts to stretch the bounds of reason with each guess. My hunch that Hollywood “nepo babies” would take back the term with T-shirts came true. And while there was no new social media platform called Kvetch that hosted a Republican debate, Elon Musk’s X did, in fact, enter presidential politics when Ron DeSantis announced his bid for the Republican nomination, rather disastrously, on Twitter Spaces.
I may not be batting a thousand, but tradition is tradition, and so, once more I will, by ripping the pages from a Lisa Frank trapper keeper, pasting in the text of the Pirkei Avot, and prancing around it in an Israeli folk dance modified by Pam Tanowitz, tap into the spheres of the Jewish near future.
Once again I bring you my prognostications, humbled by my task and hoping for a better world. Here are my perfectly plausible pop culture predictions for 2024.
1. Jealous of the attention good friend Martin Scorsese is getting for his viral social media posts filmed by his daughter Francesca, Steven Spielberg enlists daughter Sasha to capture him defining jargon like “Bussin’” and “No cap.” Unable to yield control, Spielberg seizes Sasha’s smartphone and is soon making 30-second Instagram Lives with 26 camera setups. One, “Yeeted — Like ‘I Yeeted You at the Airport,’” qualifies for a Golden Globe.
2. Comedians Amy Schumer, Brett Gelman, Jon Lovitz, Sacha Baron Cohen, and Michael Rapaport launch an app challenging what they deem to be the widespread anti-semitism of TikTok. TikShlock is basically TikTok, only somehow everyone’s Jewish mom is on it, sounding off in the comments about their kids’ weight and questionable choice of camera angles.
3. After announcing a pause on new music due to stomach issues, Drake becomes the face of Poppi prebiotic soda in a series of ads where he launches the new flavor “Champagne Poppi.”
4. State Department employees report that President Biden’s 3-year-old German Shepherd, Commander, has been showing up to meetings unexpectedly. One lifetime diplomat swears that the dog is speaking in a familiar Teutonic Accent about “Realpolitik.” “If I believed in the supernatural, I’d say that our recently deceased 56th Secretary of State lived on in that puppy,” said the official, who spoke to Politico on the condition of anonymity.
5. In the new and final season of Curb Your Enthusiasm, Larry David is spotted adjusting a poster of an Israeli hostage, only for onlookers to mistakenly believe he is tearing it down.”It wasn’t level!” he insists when Susie Greene calls him a “self-hating Jew.”
6. Ariana Grande, whose choice of Jewish beaus, from Pete Davidson on, have long baffled the ravenous public, ditches Ethan Slater (aka that guy who played SpongeBob in SpongeBob the musical) to date a CPA named Leonard Steinberg.
7. Warner Bros. Discovery chief David Zaslav, eager to tell more Jewish stories, greenlights three films about the composition of the Talmud. Tony Kushner is attached to write, with Steven Spielberg directing, while Barbra Streisand, Bob Dylan, and Michael Aloni agree to star. The films are reported to feature never-before-heard songs by Leonard Cohen, and even selections from a previously unknown oratorio by Gustav Mahler. By the end of the year, one film is in the can and Deadline reports that Zaslav is shelving the entire project for a tax write-off.
8. After winning a victory for the Screen Actors Guild, SAG-AFTRA president Fran Drescher throws her hat into the ring for the highest office in the land: President of the B’nai B’rith of Malibu.
9. Celebrity dog trainer Cesar Millan visits the White House to check in on Commander, who has been skulking around the Oval Office, gnawing on the Resolute Desk. Though some just hear warbling, aides are convinced the dog is suggesting carpet bombings and staging coups in South America. Millan admits that this is a dog he can’t whisper to. “Try calling him ‘Henry,’” Biden offers, but to no avail.
10. Elon Musk takes to X to announce that, contrary to accusations that he is promoting antisemitic conspiracy theories, he is in fact so philosemitic that he is cutting a billion-dollar check to the Learned Elders of Zion.
11. In an eerie echo of old Highlights magazines, Israeli Minister of Defense Yoav Gallant is increasingly frustrated with the ineptitude of his new deputy, Yaakov Goofus.
12. Move over, Barbenheimer! Make way for GI Jonas Salk, the unlikely double feature in which a rote critique of American militarism (by director Oliver Stone) is paired with a David Fincher-directed star-studded period piece about the inventor of the polio vaccine, with Michael Fassbender as Salk.
13. Desperate to head off donors critical of the tactics of pro-Palestinian protests and student orgs on campus, the University of Pennsylvania hires my old camp counselor Yoni in the new position of Dean of the Jews. Everyone likes Yoni. He plays guitar!
14. Social media sensation Baby Gronk — a child who kind of resembles former NFL tight-end Rob Gronkowski — converts, his Beit Din enthusing that his “rizz” is the greatest seen since the Baal Shem Tov.
15. Barbra Streisand follows up her hit memoir My Name is Barbra with a series of detective novels starring her dogs Miss Violet and Miss Scarlett. Their first adventure, A Pawfect Murder, in which the cloned Coton de Tulear sniff out a serial killer whose calling card is discarded In-N-Out wrappers, is praised by the LA Times as “Poirot meets Paw Patrol.”
16, Bradley Cooper announces that he spent the last 13 months grinding lenses to prepare to play Jewish philosopher and heretic Baruch Spinoza. Early production photos showing Cooper with an aquiline prosthetic nose go largely unnoticed, as most of social media don’t know who Spinoza is, much less what he looked like.
17. Disgraced Congressman George Santos finally releases the results of his DNA test, taken to prove his Jewish ancestry. Experts are skeptical. “No one living today can actually claim direct descent from King David,” said Stanford genealogist Moira Watercress. “Certainly I find it dubious that Mr. Santos is ‘100% that b-word.’”
18. Celebrity chef Molly Yeh’s new cookbook includes a viral recipe for “kugelach”: a hybrid of noodle kugel and rugelach. Both ethnic foods get a lift when Oprah declares them one of her annual “Favorite Things.”
19. Season 2 of HBO’s Game of Thrones prequel House of the Dragon perplexes diehard fans with the introduction of a new dragon named Motti, who refuses to breathe fire on Shabbat.
20. Following news that Gummo director Harmony Korine has started Torah study with Jared Kushner, the unlikely duo announce the opening of the Korine-Kushner Torah Academy of Bedminster, housed in an old rec room of the Trump International Golf Course. Shortly after the ribbon-cutting, the school is forced to close over lack of enrollment — the Trump Corporation bundles the loss into their tax filings.
21. The Haim sisters record their new album, The Living Waters (Mayim HAIM), in a mikvah. Some view the decision as sacrilegious, others defend it as a form of praise; most note that the record just has weird acoustics.
22. Adam Sandler announces a surprise sequel to You Are So Not Invited to My Bat Mitzvah, titled I Am Legally Obligated to Make Another Film for Netflix (Here’s One About A Bris).
23. Timothée Chalamet’s Bob Dylan biopic debuts at Cannes to a 20-minute standing ovation. Early press praises Chalamet’s “easy embodiment of the freewheelin’ songwriter,” but critics are mystified by a 7-minute scene of Dylan silently building some tables and shelves.
24. Desperate to stop Commander from clawing at the halls of power demanding sausage, a book deal from Simon & Schuster, and a copy of the board game Diplomacy, an interfaith group of chaplains join together to exorcize the captive spirit of Henry Kissinger from the Biden family dog. Somewhere on the National Mall, a baby yawns and, soon after, utters his first words: “Power is the ultimate aphrodisiac.”
Bonus prediction: Following his post-Christmas Hebrew apology to the Jewish community, Kanye West posts a cryptic screenshot of his Duolingo streak, prompting many to wonder if the rapper, known for his anti-semitic tirades, is trying for Hebrew fluency as a means to make amends. The suspicion appears to be confirmed when, on Kol Nidre, West wishes Jewish followers, in typically befuddling Duolingo fashion, “an easy time of avoiding bagels.”
This article was originally published on the Forward.
Banner Image: Crystal Ball predictions. Image Credit – Vika Glitter