Days of Futures Past

We grew up in a time of great dystopian movies. Beginning with Dr. Strangelove and ending around Brazil, there’s a twenty-year run of gloom that perfectly syncs with our formative years. We may joke about still waiting for flying cars, but the future we anticipated was found in the theater, not in cartoons.

The wallpaper of our childhood was Vietnam and Nixon; gas shortages taught us that conditions could turn on a dime. Speaking of which, comic books cost twelve cents when we started buying them; they were a quarter when we stopped paying attention.

And yet we never felt as hopeless as we do today.

We’ve been thinking recently that as a child born into a 49-state America — and white male at that — we hit the sweet spot of human existence, the best it ever was and will ever get. We got the Moon landing, and the Internet; we got food and shelter; we got pleasant seasons; we didn’t get nuked. It may all come crashing down soon, but we’re checking out in the next twenty years or so anyway, and you may take away our wheels by then, but you can’t deny us our ride. It was a good one.

It’s depressing, really. You want to leave the future better than you found it. You want today’s kids to enjoy that Jetsons world, and tomorrow’s kids to explore that Star Trek universe. You want to plot yourself on a continuum of progress, confident that the arc of the moral universe will indeed bend toward justice, given sufficient time, even if you’re not the one arriving at the Promised Land.

You don’t want to be doubting whether Man is still alive in the year 2525.

There’s a dark theory that we can’t find signs of intelligent life in the universe because there isn’t any. Not that we’re unique — the odds of that would be, well, astronomical — but that any advanced civilization inevitably collapses on itself. Those radio waves may be floating out there, but we’ve only been sending out our own for a century, and detecting them for far less. If our lights go out soon, that’s the briefest amount of time we’ve been shouting out our window. You had to be there to hear us. Sorry you missed it. Maybe you’ll be the universal exception.

The last time we felt like this was sometime in the 1980s, that parched desert of American morality, when Reagan won twice by actual landslides, when we had to face the true nature of the 50-state nation we had grown up in. Americans, Churchill had said, could always be counted upon to do the right thing, once all other options had been exhausted. Our own expression was that we were collectively hellbent on driving the bus off the cliff, and we wouldn’t admit our mistake until we were halfway down.

Turns out we were optimistic. The world is melting — now, today — and we’re still angling to see who hoards the petrol in the Australian Outback.

But maybe it’s just the past year. Maybe it’s just the President, his party, a third of Americans, and that 20-point majority of white voters. Maybe it’s the Boomers who didn’t start the fire but keep throwing gas on it, and the billionaires whose thirst for plunder can never be satisfied. Maybe, despite everything, come this November we can find at least a sliver of hope restored.

Because, honestly, we’ve had a good run, a real good run, and our only personal stake is in Medicare lasting long enough to ameliorate the sins of our well-timed life. But we’d still like today’s kids to reach the twenty-second century in better shape than we reached the twenty-first, and not have their run turn out to be Logan’s.

17 comments:

11:25 am • Saturday • December 30, 2017

Hang on, big changes are coming in the very near future as the furious Gen Xers and Millennials assume political control after a lifetime of being kicked in the guts by the Boomers and the Silents. The evil GOPnazis and their enablers will be unceremoniously tossed into history’s landfill after this current death spasm of greed-crazed white supremacy.

For the decent, wonderful people of this nation, the last year has been like a hostage crisis or an ongoing terrorist attack. However, we’ve also seen that people are rising to the occasion and soon will overwhelm the kleptocratic fascists currently in power. If there’s one silver lining in this ordeal, it’s that they’ve finally been exposed for what they truly are.

To paraphrase TLJ: Don’t fight against what we hate, fight for what we love. We’re worth it.

11:28 am • Saturday • December 30, 2017

/Related/

GOP Leaders Celebrate Decisive Win Over Americans

WASHINGTON—In the wake of the $1.5 trillion tax bill’s historic passage in both the House and the Senate, GOP leaders reportedly celebrated Wednesday their decisive win over everyday American citizens. “This is a monumental victory not only for us, but for everyone struggling under the reign of the average American,” said Senate majority leader Mitch McConnell, adding that party leaders made a promise to “take a stand against ordinary U.S. citizens,” before cracking open a bottle of champagne and proudly declaring that “today, we delivered.” “Of course, the fight against the people of this country is not yet over. We won this battle, but the war is still to come. However, if we carry on with the same vigor demonstrated today in our widely opposed tax overhaul, I know that we will prevail over Americans time and time again.” GOP leaders also expressed confidence that they would achieve another dominant victory over the American people as they push to close the deficit by cutting food stamp programs, Social Security, and Medicare.

11:35 am • Saturday • December 30, 2017

/Unrelated/

Sounds like my dad’s driving:

Frontier Airlines Tells Customers To Just Fucking Deal With It

DENVER—Noting that some discomfort should be expected while traveling to a faraway place in just a few goddamn hours, officials from ultra-low-cost carrier Frontier Airlines reportedly told customers Thursday to just fucking deal with it. “I get that you’re cramped and miserable, but if you just shut the hell up and sit there for a few goddamn hours, you’ll soon be at your destination,” said CEO Barry L. Biffle, urging passengers to suck it up and quit whining so the flight could get on its merry fucking way. “Who gives a shit if you have no leg room and the seats are stiff? Soon you’ll be 800 miles from where you are now, and it’ll be like the last two hours of your life never even fucking happened. You’re the ones who wanted to save $150, so you’re welcome, assholes.” Biffle added that he didn’t want to hear any bitching and moaning about wanting in-flight food options, because everyone can just stuff their stupid faces when they land.

2:27 pm • Saturday • December 30, 2017

@¡Andrew!:
I never get that with some folks. I see that it is an Onion Parody, but it is close to the truth.

I was once mocked by others who traveled to a wedding for paying 100 bucks more for his regular airline flight than others who traveled on a bargain basement airline. Afterwards they told me about their return trips being forced to wait 5 hours, extremely cramped and with lousy food. I laughed and said I had no problems. It was worth the extra 100 bucks to hear all of them cry about it. What the hell did they expect? Somethings you can’t scrimp on.

6:45 pm • Saturday • December 30, 2017

@ManchuCandidate: They knew what they were getting into. I say, let ’em crash!

11:00 pm • Saturday • December 30, 2017

Born November 1959, so I remember when we were great. We certainly are not now, in fact we are a blight upon the earth. I am nearly out of energy with which to fight this thing …

2:03 am • Sunday • December 31, 2017

@blogenfreude: You missed 49-state America, man. It was awesome. I guess. Certainly made me shit my diapers.

6:11 pm • Sunday • December 31, 2017

@nojo: needed no prompting to shit my diapers. Or so I have been told ….

12:54 pm • Monday • January 1, 2018

Feliz año nuevo, Stinqueros!

4:49 pm • Tuesday • January 2, 2018

@ManchuCandidate: An old farmers adage – If you want good oats, expect to pay the going rate. Oats that have been through the horse once comes cheaper.

9:40 pm • Wednesday • January 3, 2018

@DElurker: HAAAAY! You freezing out there?

HAY HAY! DOOT de DOOT! Please lard, don’t let my schadenfreude be dampened by nukeuulher winter.

Dah dah dah! Motherfuckers goin to JAIL upon which the Nazi punching wild rumpus will begin!

11:16 am • Thursday • January 4, 2018

@JNOV: It’s been sub freezing long enough that I can skate on the Brandywine. I would need to sweep the snow off though.

12:06 pm • Friday • January 5, 2018

It seems like something terrible and “unprecedented” is revealed in the news every damn day, yet Michelle Goldberg’s column in response in today’s NYT is just… wow:

“…most members of (Tdumbp’s) campaign and administration are simply traitors.”

“…assuming America survives, there should be a reckoning to dwarf the defenestration of Harvey Weinstein and his fellow ogres… Expecting (Tdumbp) to act in the country’s interest is like demanding that your cat do the dishes…”

Calling him out as a compulsive liar on the front page above the fold last year was one thing. This is a whole new level of revulsion and contempt for Tdumbp and the greedy, lying psychopaths of this evil, illegitimate regime.

12:31 pm • Friday • January 5, 2018

To quote from the timeless film Scenes from the Class Struggle in Beverly Hills:

“A thing ain’t over ’til you can kick the dead body.”

3:00 pm • Friday • January 5, 2018

@¡Andrew!: All I can do is wait for the aftermath, when all the traitors claim they were totally unaware, and their excuses are accepted.

Looking forward, not back, y’know. Which you do know, because you’re the Moral Hazard guy.

10:44 am • Saturday • January 6, 2018

Confident Philadelphia Officials Preemptively Raze Center City To Make Room For Amazon Headquarters

PHILADELPHIA—Convinced they will win the highly competitive contest to host the e-commerce giant’s new offices, optimistic local officials have preemptively razed Philadelphia’s entire Center City district to make room for Amazon’s second North American headquarters, sources said Thursday.

According to the mayor’s office, the decision to completely level the downtown region was reached as city leaders became increasingly confident that Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos would eventually come to realize Philadelphia was the best of the 238 localities across the United States, Mexico, and Canada bidding to become the online retailer’s new center of operations. Over the past few weeks, city employees have reportedly worked around the clock to relocate the area’s more than 57,000 residents, while demolition crews have knocked down thousands of homes, businesses, and cultural sites.

“We’re willing to do whatever it takes to ensure Amazon chooses Philadelphia, whether that requires tax incentives, infrastructure upgrades, or filling the Schuylkill River with concrete to create more parking,” he continued. “I’m sure it’s just a matter of time until it’s all official.”

At press time, Amazon officials announced that Philadelphia had failed to qualify for the next round of bidding.

11:53 am • Tuesday • January 9, 2018

@¡Andrew!: That’s pretty awesome and accurate. The only problem is we’d need to put Willie Penn on the top of Besos superstructure. Dealbreaker.

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