Prophecies for 2020

Reverend Billy Talen Jan 6, 2020

2020 will be the year that the culture flips over.

2020 is the year the Earth stops waiting for us to look up from our screens.

2020 is the year we do look up and wherever we are on this Earth, in whatever ecosystem we find ourselves, we will be overrun by real life. The Earth eats the screen in our hand. The Earth eats the Trumpian walls that stand around us. The Earth eats all screens and walls enthusiastically.

2020 is the year we look up because we are moments from the annihilation of our personal identity. We address the flood and the fire directly. We say, “You are my god, you are my culture, you are my economy…” And as we say it, we know that this is not enough.

2020 is the year that we finally stop asking, “Is it too late?”

2020 is the year that we await the Earth’s instructions. Meanwhile, the Earth blows magnetic wind full of overdue justice and long postponed desire through the molecules of our skin.

2020 is the year that striking youth break out of the news cycle and touch us directly like an extreme weather event.

2020 is the year that we recognize reality because it’s no longer a show. We will maintain autonomous zones where we let difficult memories grow back, like community gardens of pain. This begins the journey toward the survival of our children.

2020 is the year that extinct animals pull us aside for a talk.

2020 will be the year that we stop with the lie of “natural disasters.” There is a superstorm that covers the planet and she knows what she’s doing.

2020 will be the year that sufferers emerging from the storm have great power and are climbing over the fences as the privileged scream into phones in private jets that don’t start.

2020 will see the retreat of artificially-fast information, which for years was allowed to hunt the truth and colonize it. This will open space for new languages that arrive like faintly-typed fortunes inside hailstones. Octavia Butler and Philip K. Dick will direct us through the phantasms.

2020 will be a year like 1849, when Harriet Tubman began her escape from and return to and escape from slavery. The totalitarian mono-culture is a hard thing to leave. In 2020 each of us must personally de-colonize from the culture of killing for profit. Like in 1975, when Andy Kaufman began confusing audiences, we will find our strange passage out.

2020 is the year we make love with such abandon that we become unmarketable. We don’t register as data, or dollars or damn fools. The Earth leads us to the truth. We find the truth in our perplexing tenderness.

Reverend Billy and the Stop Shopping Choir return to Joe’s Pub on Sunday, Jan. 12 at 12 p.m.The show concludes this winter’s holiday run of Earth Riot, directed by Savitri D, with the 35 political gospel singers. The discount ticket promo code is FREEDOM. Further discounts available at

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