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They promised us this, too

May 21, 2012
Hover Vespa

Found this on Facebook, where you can also find Scootin’ Old Skool

I am of an age that allows me to recall that such things as the flying scooter pictured above were predicted to be part of life in the year 2012.

This year marks the 50th anniversary of the Seattle World’s Fair, aka the Century 21 Exposition. Fairgoers were treated to a vision of the future from the viewpoint of Camelot and Elvis, a new Utopia made possible by exciting new developments from Ford, AT&T, IBM and other corporate benefactors.

Of course, we all know now just how wrong that vision turned out to be. Nuclear powered (flying) cars? Home nuclear reactors? Synthesized food and clothing, which you tossed into the home incinerator after wearing once? Vacations on the moon?

The Internet, mobile phones, outsourcing to India were nowhere to be found in this grand vision. And those who wax nostalgic about the Fair conveniently forget such things as the strip club on the fair grounds, which were built in a formerly “blighted” neighborhood (of course we know now that term was mostly applied to places not inhabited by middle-class white people).

The biggest difference between then and now, however, is this: in 1962, America was looking confidently toward the future. In 2012, everyone and everything seems focused on the past. Mad Men, one of TV’s most popular shows, is about the advertising industry in the early 1960s.

Which, come to think of it, is the only thing they got right about the future in 1962: 900 channels of TV. Favicon


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