Monday, February 15, 2010

"Welcome to the Future"

"When I was ten years old...
I would have given anything,
to have my own Pac-Man game at home;
I used to have to get a ride down to the arcade,
Now I've got it on my phone."

--Brad Paisley, "Welcome to the Future" (2009)

Pondering the 1960s' views of the future makes me think about where we are now:
we have arrived at the future of my childhood.
(In fact, we've survived a couple of the imagined hot spots-- 1984 and 2001--which turned out to be hot indeed.)

So, how're we doing? What do we think?
I adore Brad Paisley's funny, celebratory answer (with just a touch of melancholy in the music), in his country/Southern rock song "Welcome to the Future."

Of course I have to like Brad Paisley--he worked with Bill Shatner on Bills' 2004 album Has Been and wrote the lyrics for his song "Real."

And look what's illustrating the lines
"So many things I never thought I'd see,
Happening right in front of me":
It's the Enterprise shuttle!
Boy's a Trekkie.

(I guess it doesn't hurt that, as my friend John would say, he doesn't scare the horses either.)

"Wherever we were going, well, we're here..."

So... where now?


Margaret said...

Onwards and upwards! Maybe.

I have trouble imagining how technology is going to progress from here. How do you top something like the iPhone? The only thing it doesn't do is make you bacon and eggs for breakfast. Perhaps that's next?

I've heard they're, (whoever they are), working on a computer so thin you can *literally* roll it up and stick it in your back pocket.

I think we'll delve into Holographics next. This makes me both very excited, (think of the possibilities), and very scared, (think of the possibilities).

It seems that we're steadily blurring the line between reality and virtual reality.

Hey, maybe eventually everything will be so accessible that one never has to leave one's couch. Wouldn't that be swell?!

Technology seeks to eliminate inconvenience, which is fine to a point. The problem with this is that Real Life is the ultimate inconvenience, and when we eliminate that, we've become something else altogether.

bink said...

I like the optimism of Paisley's video... it's something we could certainly see more of. It's a view of America/the future that seems almost quaint and old-fashioned, yet more here now than ever before.

Fresca said...

MARGARET: I would definitely buy an iPod that made me bacon and eggs!

I expect that computers will become part of our bodies eventually (if we don't somehow crash and burn our high-tech society before that)--some of that's already happening with medical implants.

Yes, sitting in Avatar, I too thought we're heading for the complete sensory wrap=around of holographs, like in TNG.

As you say: imagine the possibilities, for good and/or evil... And we are: Borg, Matrix, Avatar, etc.

I think you're right: Real Life is the ultimate inconvenience--and when we get rid of that, then what?

BINK: It is old-fashioned, isn't it, the "melting pot" American dream. Yet, as you say, actually happening, in some ways.

I figure that to the extent I can choose how I'd like the future to turn out, I choose optimism.
If I'm wrong, what Have I lost?

The Crow said...

Enjoyed Paisley's song, brought back some good memories from my childhood, particularly of space movies, my favorite being The Day the Earth Stood Still. Also watched Buck Rogers and the 21st Century (Star Trek's grandfather). I thought we were the height of modernity when we got a Sputnik wall clock.

I wanted to be an astronaut and was broken hearted when I was told only men could be astronauts (early 60s, after John Glenn and Alan Shepard.)

One thing I've always liked about Shatner is his ability, some might say eagerness, to poke fun at himself. He is a far better actor than any critic ever understood.

I like this series of yours, Fresca - plenty thinking provoked by it.

Fresca said...

Thanks, CROW: I am jealous of your childhood Sputnik wall clock. That *was* the height of modernity!

Did you know there was a NASA training program for women astronauts in the 1960s? It got cancelled--I can't remember why.

Absolutely--Shatner's ability to laugh at himself is key to his charm. I guess I've never really been taken by his acting, exactly, it's more like it's the man himself in the roles that gets me.

This series all gets me thinking--and remembering-- too, which is why I love doing it.