In the span of one week, Steve Jobs will unveil an Apple tablet; ABC will premiere the final season of Lost; and some guy named Barack Obama will address the "State of the Union." Which event will make your year?
It's hard to choose, we know. But our media-supersaturated culture is rapidly converging all planetary communication — whether about politics, media, technology or imaginary warring castaways — into an omnipresent digital singularity. And in this singularity, only one topic can "win," by amassing the most tweets, Google searches and mythical conversations around the office "watercooler."
Thus far, the Apple Tablet seems to be dominating the discussion. But let's not forget, nothing has actually happened yet. So we'll run down the contenders below, then ask you to vote on the most important event so far this year, aside from the inevitably forthcoming John Edwards-Hipster Grifter sex tape.
The big event: Apple's John Lennon wannabe CEO is universally expected to unveil a tablet computer at a special company event in San Francisco Wednesday. Think iPhone, but much larger.
Why it matters: Print media companies like the New York Times and Condé Nast hope it will save their declining business models by giving people a convenient and compelling way to read lengthy, high-quality content on a digital device. The tablet could also change the way people watch movies and TV shows, and even where they compose emails (read: on the toilet).
Why it might 'win': Americans love shiny expensive plastic things. They buy them with money they don't have so they can show it off to friends, producing a sort of "consumer's high" that lasts literally minutes. Jobs is by far the most skilled "pimp" for this orgasmic consumer experience.
The big event: ABC's shamelessly manipulative castaway mystery series has been running for five seasons and will finally, mercifully end in its sixth, set to begin next Tuesday. Obama once considered giving his (technically) first State of the Union address on this date, but decided not to do so after an outcry from fans of the series. Go democracy.
Why it matters: Lost is America's shifty, conniving boyfriend. We're stuck in an emotionally destructive relationship but we just can't quit this show. We keep thinking, "this time he isn't transparently screwing with my fears and insecurities, there will be a real payoff," or, "he will learn the importance of solid interpersonal communication skills, such as telling your friends before you attempt to cross a lethal sonic fence and steal something from a well-armed gang of sociopaths." That usually doesn't turn out to be the case, but every now and then — just often enough — we're pleasantly surprised.
Why it might 'win': Americans get off on the neverending drama of a group of people slightly dumber than themselves, especially when it's utterly pointless. Especially when it's pointless. Which brings us to politics, which seems to be relatively unpopular except when rendered as trivialities.
State of the Union
The big event: Barack Obama addressed a joint session of Congress last year, but technically this is the president's first State of the Union address. Drama is high: The Democrats just lost their all-important supermajority in the Senate thanks to an upset loss of Ted Kennedy's seat to a Massachusetts Republican, and the president's one big achievement, health care reform, is now imperiled.
Why it matters: It's a gauge of Obama's priorities and strategy for implementing them at a pivotal time in his administration. There's been a lot of talk in the press about how he'll adopt a "tougher" and "angrier" posture to try and win over disgruntled independent voters, and maybe even shift focus to the economy.
Why it might 'win': Because the ideas it contains could ultimately touch the lives of millions of jobless and sick Americans, not to mention those of the many wealthy Goldman Sachs executives who are paying scandalously high taxes on their federally-funded. multimillion dollar bonuses this year.
But why wait to tweet and Facebook status and Tumblr? Tell us now which event is currently making you metaphorically squeal with anticipation: