In The Year 2000

We’re not sure when Utopia turned into Dystopia, but at the time of the 1964 World’s Fair, everyone was still looking forward to a Jetsons future.

Everyone including Arthur C. Clarke, who narrates this BBC Horizon programme (to be linguistically contextual) from that year. It reminds us of visiting Disneyland’s EPCOT exhibit as a kid, when Tomorrowland was still a realm of miracle and wonder, and not just the corner to dump Space Mountain and arcades. (Really: Whatever happened to the rotating theater? We loved the rotating theater!)

And, of course, the first time through, you’ll find yourself keeping score: Dick Tracy two-way wrist communicators? Check! The end of cities? Buzzzzzz! A dozen movies you could name off the top of your head, starting with 2001 and Planet of the Apes? Ding-ding-ding-ding-ding!

That’s when you start to notice it: The Jetsons Utopia is a Dystopia. No subtext required — it’s all right there, on the surface, hiding in plain sight. Unless you’re into laser-clearcutting forests, bioengineering monkeys to wash the dishes, and living in Arctic bubbledomes because no other housing is available. In which case you probably wrote for Wired in the ’90s.

So sit back in your eggshell media lounger, pull down the viewscreen, and enjoy a glimpse into the Days of Future Past. And pay no attention to the Android Liberation Front meeting that Rosie’s holding in the kitchen.

[via Silent Creative Partner]
13 Comments

I want my flying car and jet pack!!!*

*not really… speed isn’t life when you pancake on the ground

@SanFranLefty:
I LOVE THEM SO MUCH !

@Capt Howdy:
september 26th (?) dexter season 5 !!
nice showtime line-up sunday night: weeds, the big c, then our fave serial killer DEXTER !
i still don’t get 2001…yeah i said it.

I am getting an ad for a kid named Justin Beiber who looks like his mother combs his hair by holding his ankles and dunking his head into a flushing toilet.

Why?

@FlyingChainSaw: Why what? Why are you getting that ad or why does Justin Beiber exist and why do I know who he is despite not wanting to?

@SanFranLefty: Twitter has a bank of servers reserved solely for Justin Bieber. There is no escape.

@SanFranLefty: Yes, all of that and why does his mother comb his hair with the toilet?

@FlyingChainSaw: I’m getting an ad for Chip & Dale. Not the good kind. The squirrels.

@baked: I get it, but it took grad-school philosophy to finally put it together. The choice of a Nietzsche-inspired theme is not by accident.

Dear God, he’s boring. 3 mins watching him palavering is like an eternity.

I remember as a lad in short trousers having a history book with a picture, made in the early 18th cent, of London in 2000. The only thing I remember is the prediction of steam-powered vicar robots preaching sermons on every street corner. An idea so irresistibly loopy it has stuck with me down through the long chilly years. The only other thing I remember about those history classes was the ease with which we could get our history master to waste time. All we had to do was raise our hands and say something along the lines of “Ooh, please sir, when you were in Outer Mongolian were there any chip shops?” and he’d be off for 45 mins.

I detested Epcot.

You might have been looking forward to the future here in the land of sunshine but I don’t think Europe was, having just lived through two world wars.

Not to be confused with DESPCOT, Disney’s updated vision of the future.

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