As you surely remember, at the beginning of 2011, the Mercury made a list of predictions for what we assumed would happen during the year. How right were we? Let's find out with the following retrospective of the biggest stories of 2011 paired with our remarkably incorrect predictions!

Middle East Uprising!

In the early part of 2011, a wave of discontent swept through the Middle East, beginning with a protest in Tunisia, which eventually forced the country's longtime dictator, Zine el-Abidine Ben Ali, into exile. Inspired by the protesters' victory, the citizens of other Arab nations—including Egypt, Bahrain, Yemen, Libya, and more—also took to the streets in what has become a continuing effort to foster democracy and freedom.

The Mercury Predicted:

In the year 2011, the Middle East will form one huge super nation under the dictatorial thumb of Muammar Gaddafi. Flush with newfound power, Gaddafi will order the invasion of the United States of America, starting by sending armed paratroopers into a small town in Colorado. The town will quickly fall to the Arab invasion, at which point its residents will be sent to work camps—that is, except for a small, ragtag group of high school students, who, taking on the name of their school mascot (Wolverines) will form an elite, deer blood-drinking squad of freedom fighters. These "wolverines" will eventually overthrow their oppressors, after which they will track down and murder Gaddafi, who will be hiding in a drainage ditch.

Venomous Egyptian Cobra Escapes Bronx Zoo!

In late March of 2011, visitors to New York City's Bronx Zoo were alarmed to discover an adolescent and highly venomous Egyptian cobra had escaped, and was presumably on the loose. The story exploded on the internet—even inspiring a "Bronx Zoo's Cobra" Twitter account that gained over 200,000 followers. After six days, the actual cobra was eventually found curled up in a dark, unused corner of the zoo's reptile house.

The Mercury Predicted:

Sometime in 2011—we're guessing July—Mayor Sam Adams will be devoured by a bear. Not a bear as in "gay hairy person," but an actual bear! Adams will be hiking in the Rockies while on a mental health retreat after being recalled from office by a small but wealthy group of angry Portland business owners (the group's fourth recall attempt). The former mayor will then stumble upon an adorable bear cub—but while nuzzling the cute baby bear in his arms, he will awaken the fury of the mother bear, who will come crashing out of the underbrush to attack him. Luckily, Adams will be carrying a beanbag rifle, which he will accidentally load with a 30-30 Winchester hollow-point bullet. BOOM! The mayor will blow the goddamn bear's head off. Unfortunately, this will infuriate the bear cub who, no longer content with nuzzling, will exact his revenge by hiding the mayor's diabetes medicine—which in turn will bring about Adams' excruciatingly slow and painful death. Then the cub will eat him. From the toes up.

The "Birther" Movement!

In the first quarter of 2011, President Barack Obama was plagued by right wingers (known as "birthers") to produce his "true" birth certificate, as many were convinced (four in 10 Republicans) that he was actually born outside the United States—which, in their interpretation, would make him ineligible to be president. Such high-profile doubters included former Republican presidential hopeful Mike Huckabee, current GOP contender Michele Bachmann, and billionaire/reality show host Donald Trump. "We do not have time for this kind of silliness," Obama said as he tried to put a stop to the rumors by releasing his long-form birth certificate on April 27, 2011. Even then, many birthers accused the president of forging the document.

The Mercury Predicted:

This year the birthers will be proven right—no matter what! In spring of 2011, the birthing movement will build a time machine, go back to the year 1959, and sink Hawaii before it attains statehood—thereby proving that the Hawaiian-born President Obama is not and will never be eligible to become president. Obama will then respond, "What?? Are you kidding me?? I don't... Oh, fuck it. You guys win. I quit." Donald Trump will then declare himself president of the United States, and rename America "You're Fired!"

Osama bin Laden Killed!

After 10 years of being on the FBI's most wanted list, Osama bin Laden—the founder of radical Islamic group al-Qaeda which claimed responsibility for the 9/11 attacks—was killed in the early morning of May 2, 2011, by American special forces who forced their way into his residence in Abbottabad, Pakistan. Codenamed "Operation Neptune Spear," the highly trained SEAL Team 6 carried out the operation. Following the raid, the body of bin Laden was first taken to Afghanistan for identification, and then buried at sea within 24 hours of his death in accordance with Islamic practice and tradition.

The Mercury Predicted:

In 2011, Osama bin Laden will finally be located... running a Chick-fil-A franchise in Sheboygan, Wisconsin. However, his identity will not be discovered until after his death, which will be brought about by a gang of angry, morbidly obese customers (later nicknamed "Fat Team 15") who will become incensed after the restaurant runs out of their delicious, crispy chicken filets. The still unidentified terrorist will be brutally murdered and eaten by Fat Team 15 (alongside, coincidentally, the same bear cub that will also eat Mayor Sam Adams), and anything left over from the body will be ground to dust and used as seasoning for those delightfully scrumptious chicken patties in accordance with Chick-fil-A practice and tradition—as is specifically laid out in the restaurant's employee handbook.

The Occupy Movement!

Inspired by protests in the Middle East as well as Canadian activist magazine Adbusters, Occupy Wall Street held their first protest on September 17, 2011. While occupiers may share different goals, as a group they railed against economic and social inequality, and for protecting the rights of the "99 percent." The movement spread like wildfire across the nation, spurring Occupy protests in over 600 communities as well as occasional violent reactions from the police. In Portland, occupiers camped out in Lownsdale and Chapman Squares for 38 days until the cops finally drove them out—though they, and the rest of the Occupy movement, show little sign of slowing. While some may doubt the effectiveness of their campaign, no one can deny that the political landscape has been and will continue to be markedly affected by the Occupy movement.

The Mercury Predicted:

Inspired by protests in the Middle East, Mercury Editor in Chief Wm. Steven Humphrey will start a national campaign to make sure that the Marvel Comics superhero Thor wears his trademarked winged helmet in the upcoming Thor movie. Hollywood insiders have been hinting that the "god of thunder" may not be wearing his famous helmet in the film, which if true, will infuriate Humphrey to no end. "Thor without a helmet is like Hulk without ripped purple pants, Green Lantern without his ring, and Wonder Woman without her camel toe," Humphrey will roar to no one in particular. "I demand that this social injustice be immediately rectified! Thor's helmet must be included in the film (along with a lengthy Natalie Portman nude scene), or else I will camp out in my parents' basement—rent free, playing videogames—until further notice!" Humphrey will continue to occupy his parents' basement for three years, at which point he will either be kicked out, or leave on his own volition after having forgotten why he was camping out in the first place.

Arnold Schwarzenegger's Love Child!

On May 9, 2011, former governor/actor Arnold Schwarzenegger and his wife of 25 years, Maria Shriver, separated and later divorced. The split was caused by the discovery that, 14 years earlier, the former governor had fathered an out-of-wedlock baby with household employee Mildred Patricia "Patty" Baena. Though Schwarzenegger never told his illegitimate son that he was the father, he financially supported mother and child through the years. The divorce is all but settled. However, there could be further legal ramifications as Baena's ex-husband has accused Schwarzenegger of falsifying the child's birth certificate (a serious crime in California).

The Mercury Predicted:

In April of this coming year, former governor/actor Arnold Schwarzenegger and wife Maria Shriver will divorce after discovering that, 14 years earlier, Arnold had portrayed "Mr. Freeze" in the disastrous movie Batman & Robin. "I frankly don't know why I didn't realize it at the time," Shriver will say. "But the other night I stumbled upon it in our Netflix queue, watched it, and was horrified. Arnold was terrible in this... so uniquely terrible in fact, I can no longer stomach the thought of his penis anywhere near my vagina." Then momentarily pausing, Shriver will gasp and say, "Wait... is that why he kept saying, 'It's ice to see you,' when we'd have sex? Gross! Gross! Gross! Gross! Gross!"

World Fails to End!

On May 21, 2011, the world was scheduled to end. Christian radio broadcaster Harold Camping (who had earlier incorrectly predicted that May 21, 1988, and September 6, 1994, would be doomsdays) prophesized that on May 21, Jesus would come down from heaven to sweep up the righteous. After this, the planet would be plagued by five months of fire, brimstone, and suffering, culminating with the real physical destruction of the earth on October 21. Obviously that didn't happen either.

Support The Portland Mercury

The Mercury Predicted:

PANIC!! The world is ending on May 21, 2011! We have it on very good authority that Jesus Christ will return to earth on that day, completely ignore us, and only take the people we hate to heaven. Why would he do that? They're so annoying! Then all sorts of horrible things will happen to us for five months until the earth is finally destroyed! (Again, why is Jesus being such a dick?) That's why we're going to spend our final months drinking, smoking, snorting toot, having unprotected sex (which is to say, even more unprotected than usual), kicking pugs, making fun of babies, peeing off of overpasses, riding jet skis, French kissing coworkers, writing poorly researched articles, and openly farting. How is this different from any other day of our lives? THE WORLD IS ENDING!!

SLAY Film Fest
In person at the Clinton St. Theater 10/29 & 10/30