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This Is The Future, Right? (Classic Repost)

12 Sep

September 12, 2012

This has the distinction of being one of the very rare posts I’ve run a third time. Why? I like it.
At any rate, nothing much has changed since 2007 but I’ve pretty much given up my crush on Judy Jetson, she’s such a tease. Plus Sailor Moon is just so much hotter.

from May 12, 2007

This is the future, right? I mean, when we were little kids, the 21st century was it. IT. Flying cars, robots, atomic supermen, that sort of thing. Criswell said it best- “We are all interested in the future, for that is where we shall spend the rest of our lives.” And damn if he wasn’t right, ’cause I haven’t managed yet to live in the past, at least not for real.

I was reading an old Ray Bradbury story that was set in the far-off future year of 1978, and I hate to complain and pick on such a “legend,” but man, was he wrong. I’m sorry Mr. Sci-Fi Legend Guy, but I’m not living on a Mars colony. And my “atomic-powered short-wave radio” doesn’t exist. So what’s the deal?

I’m very well-read and I’ve seen tons of movies. I know what I’m talking about. I want my ray gun! I want my personal robot! I want my own jet pack, flying car, and combination space radio-slash-TV! My hat is supposed to protect me from atomic fallout and my food is supposed to be in pill form. I should commute to work by rocket and my personal computer should be about the size of my bedroom and have the computing power of thirteen abacuses.

But I know that old movies and TV shows can be somewhat unreliable when it comes to showing things as they are. You just have to be selective. For example, I don’t really take The Jetsons seriously. How can you? It is so phony. I think that show has the worst special effects I have ever seen. That car folding into a briefcase? I can see the CGI. And the actors? I don’t know who played George Jetson but he was so weird looking! He had a head that was about as big as his torso. I’ve tried reading the credits, but they don’t tell you who played any of the Jetsons. It may be for their safety- can you imagine how many stalkers Judy Jetson had? I must have written her thirty or forty letters when I was a kid and she never wrote back. I was so stupid back then- it took me until I was 23 to realize that she lives in the future! She hasn’t gotten the letters yet!

Movies do a little better job. I like Abbott and Costello Go to Mars. These two goofy delivery guys get mixed up for scientists and, somehow, end up piloting a ship to Mars, with two bumbling crooks along for the ride. Now it may sound silly, but the film has a rather complex inner-logic and the use of soft-focus cinematography is particularly effective, especially in the sublimely genius sequence when Costello is blasting people with his freeze ray. If any film could be held up as proof of the auteur theory of filmmaking, this is certainly it. Subtle in its satire and carefully nuanced in the use of pre-Marxist Soviet propaganda, my only problem is that how can these be the same guys who played janitors who met Frankenstein and Dracula in a previous film? That part I could never figure out- when did they change careers from janitors to delivery men?

At any rate, that future was clear- men would travel to Mars and meet a race of giant dogs, as well as mechanizing the Statue of Liberty so it can duck when a rocket flies too close overhead. We would all have freeze rays and we would wear spiffy space suits. I want my spiffy space suit!

So far the future is not all it was cracked up to be. I blame Congress. They keep holding up all those laws I want them to enact. Just last month I sent Congress my Bill For The Construction Of Lunar Radium Mines. And what did they do? Sent an FBI guy with a search warrant to my house. It’s like they don’t appreciate all my help.

I sent Congress my ideas for a Rocket-Man Brigade to protect us from Interstellar Plutonian Ice Hounds and all they did was pass some sort of dopey Iraq troop-funding bill.

So as I get older I’m resigning myself to the fact that maybe I won’t be getting that robot any time soon. I may not live on the moon or have a Martian space-dog as my pet, but at least I have my fifth-grade imagination. And maybe I don’t have a jet pack or own a space-yacht, but I know that I will someday. Flash Gordon said so!

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