“Don’t Count On It”: an Interview with Magic 8-Ball

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From our earliest days, humans have sought means of prognostication, in hopes of getting an inside line on events of the future and, by extension, a greater mastery of the world around us. From psychics and soothsayers to oracles, witch doctors and sophisticated computer programs, mankind’s quest for the edge on fate has never ceased, with mixed results all around. In recent years, there have been two true constants: “Money Jungle” and the Magic 8-Ball. Combining the two, in one space, is guaranteed to be a major event—and now, at last, it has happened!

With so many serious (and not-so-serious) issues facing the country right now, the people have been hard-pressed for good answers and reliable information. Independent media has ably filled the void, despite extreme pressure from its corporatized competition to toe the establishment line, regardless of the typically disastrous consequences of doing so. Quite often, it seems like major decisions are being made almost at random; as such, the Magic 8-Ball has never been more relevant. It was invented in 1946, and millions have been sold by the Mattel Company, a testament to the great faith with which it is held by Americans.

This reporter sat down with the official Magic 8-Ball recently for the first installment of what is probably the most extensive and hard-hitting interview it has ever been subjected to. It was presented with some of the most serious questions of our time, as well as some questions about sports and pop culture to lighten the mood. In accordance with ground rules set in advance, all questions were phrased in such a way that Magic 8-Ball answered with variations on “yes” and “no”.

Magic 8-Ball (not to be confused with the apocryphal rapper of the same name) offered up incomplete or ambiguous answers here and there, forcing follow-ups; it was particularly evasive regarding the fate of TV pitchman Vince Offer, who’s been out of the public eye since getting arrested for fighting with a prostitute in late 2008.Generally, though, it was clear, direct and forthcoming in ways few public figures would be, even in the hyper-confessional culture of our times. Magic 8-Ball tends to reflect conventional wisdom on many topics, but its answers were downright shocking in regard to others.

SDH: Let’s begin with a test question, to establish the basic veracity of your views: Am I the finest free-agent acquisition in American media today?

Magic 8-Ball: It is decidedly so.

SDH: Good—let’s proceed. Will President Obama accede to Gen. McChrystal’s recommendation of sending 40,000 additional troops to Afghanistan?

M8B: It is decidedly so.

SDH: Will Osama bin Laden ever be killed or captured?

M8B: Don’t count on it.

SDH: Did Saddam Hussein have weapons of mass destruction?

M8B: Yes.

SDH: Was the Ft. Hood shooter acting alone?

M8B: Signs point to yes.

SDH: Has al-Qaeda infiltrated any aspect of the US military?

M8B: Ask again later.

SDH: Was the collapse of the American economy in any way the result of someone’s deliberate action? That is, was the collapse a desired result?

M8B: It is decidedly so.

SDH: Have we already passed through the worst of the recession?

M8B: Yes.

SDH: Is now the right time to get into real estate?

M8B: It is decidedly so.

SDH: Again: Has al-Qaeda infiltrated any aspect of the US military?

M8B: Signs point to yes.

SDH: Did Lee Harvey Oswald kill JFK by himself?

M8B: Yes.

SDH: Was he assisted, in any way, knowingly or unknowingly, by any member of the US government or the Mafia?

M8B: Yes.

SDH: Was 9/11 an inside job?

M8B: Yes.

SDH: Will Communism in Cuba die with the Castro brothers?

M8B: Don’t count on it.

SDH: Will marijuana ever be decriminalized on a national level in the US?

M8B: Ask again later.

SDH: Will the US government ever formally declare an end to the War on Terror?

M8B: Don’t count on it.

SDH: Can the H1N1 virus be contained?

M8B: Very doubtful.

SDH: Will universal health care pass this year?

M8B: Don’t count on it.

SDH: Will any other members of the Bush family ever be elected President?

M8B: Yes.

SDH: Will Sarah Palin ever be elected President?

M8B: It is decidedly so.

SDH: Will Charlie Crist be elected to the Senate in 2010?

M8B: Yes.

SDH: Will the new Duval County Courthouse be finished and open for business within five years of today?

M8B: My sources say no.

SDH: Will marijuana ever be decriminalized on a national level in the US?

M8B: Yes.

SDH: And now, sports. Will the Jaguars stay in Jacksonville?

M8B: Ask again later.

SDH: Will Tim Tebow become an NFL superstar?

M8B: It is decidedly so.

SDH: Will Tebow play for the Jacksonville Jaguars?

M8B: Very doubtful.

SDH: Again: Will the Jaguars stay in Jacksonville?

M8B: Very doubtful.

SDH: Really, is anyone better than Kanyon?

M8B: Reply hazy, try again.

SDH: Again: Is anyone better than Kanyon?

M8B: Very doubtful.

SDH: Will William Regal ever win a world title?

M8B: Ask again later.

SDH: Will Brock Lesnar be beaten in 2010?

M8B: Don’t count on it.

SDH: And will Regal win that world title?

M8B: My sources say no.

SDH: Is Michael Jackson really dead?

M8B: Signs point to yes.

SDH: Was Michael Jackson murdered?

M8B: Very doubtful.

SDH: Will the guy from the Shamwow and Slap Chop commercials do any further work?

M8B: Ask again later.

SDH: Is Lady Gaga a hermaphrodite?

M8B: Don’t count on it.

SDH: Is it possible that she’s crazy enough to willfully spread the rumor that she’s a hermaphrodite just for the publicity?

M8B: Ask again later.

SDH: Again: Will Vince Offer work again?

M8B: Ask again later.

SDH: Will Amy Winehouse ever record an album as good as her last one?

M8B: Yes.

SDH: Will Winehouse die of old age?

M8B: Signs point to yes.

SDH: Are the “Twilight” stars involved?

M8B: Very doubtful.

SDH: Will Kanye West and Taylor Swift ever work together?

M8B: Don’t count on it.

SDH: Will Vince Offer work again?

M8B: Reply hazy, try again.

SDH: Is there a God?

M8B: Yes.

SDH: Is the AntiChrist alive and somewhere on the Earth right now?

M8B: Yes.

SDH: Is it Obama?

M8B: It is decidedly so.

SDH: Are you sure?

M8B: Don’t count on it.

SDH: Is there a contradiction between your answer to the first question and the second?

M8B: It is decidedly so.

SDH: So I ask again, is Obama the antichrist?

M8B: Very doubtful.

SDH: Did the Republican Party pay you to say “yes” the first time?

M8B: Signs point to yes.

SDH: Wrapping up: Do you know the way to San Jose?

M8B: Signs point to yes.

SDH: Last time: Will Vince Offer work again?

M8B: It is decidedly so.

SDH: Is the “Magic 8 Ball” concept a bunch of bullshit?

M8B: Very doubtful.

sdh666@hotmail.com; November 13, 2009

 

 

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