February 2, 2013

The future's so bright I gotta wear shades....

In 1955, Life magazine looked into its crystal ball to imagine “what life may be like in A.D. 1980.”

Unhappy about the weather? Everybody talking but nobody doing anything about it? Well, just get in touch with the Atomic Weather Commission. A flick of the nuclear switch, and presto! — the North Pole melts, the vast continent of Antarctica thaws into productive use, Greenland grows bananas, Vermont grows oranges, and everybody’s heating bill vanishes. Not fantastic at all, according to mathematician John von Neumann, who also predicts that energy may be just about as “free as the unmetered air.” So, no light bills. -- The utopia of global warming | ROUGH TYPE

Well, by the 1980s things were indeed looking up as exemplified by the one-hit wonder Timbuk3's one-hit "The Future's So Bright I Gotta Wear Shades".

It contained the memorable lyrics that struck a chord in that time with:

I study nuclear science, I love my classes
I got a crazy teacher who wears dark glasses
Things are going great, and they're only getting better
I'm doing all right, getting good grades
The future's so bright I gotta wear shades

I gotta job waiting for my graduation
Fifty thou a year will buy a lotta beer
Things are going great, and they're only getting better
I'm doing all right, getting good grades
The future's so bright I gotta wear shades

Now, of course, all that hardy hope for change has been melted down into the droning mediocrity and oozing irony of the long, slow, low grind of the Obama years; years that flow like the slow drip of methadone into the comatose frame of the body politic. Methadone politics flowing from the pusher in the White House: You don't get sick and you don't get high. You just stay on it.

In 1984 George Orwell wrote: "If you want a picture of the future, imagine a boot stamping on a human face — forever." Well the future is here and it runs more like a hybrid -- "Brave New 1984." In that unwritten book it would be better if one said, "If you want a picture of the future, imagine once free Americans swallowing free methadone under state supervision at the clinic — forever."

They had a pill for this in "Brave New World." They called it Soma.

Soma is a hallucinogen that takes users on enjoyable, hangover-free "holidays". It was developed by the World State to provide these inner-directed personal experiences within a socially managed context of State-run 'religious' organizations; social clubs. The hypnopaedically inculcated affinity for the State-produced drug, as a self-medicating comfort mechanism in the face of stress or discomfort, thereby eliminates the need for religion or other personal allegiances outside or beyond the World State.... There is no competition within castes; each caste member receives the same food, housing, and soma rationing as every other member of that caste. There is no desire to change one's caste, largely because a person's sleep-conditioning reinforces each individual's place in the caste system. To grow closer with members of the same class, citizens participate in mock religious services called Solidarity Services, in which twelve people consume large quantities of soma and sing hymns. The ritual progresses through group hypnosis and climaxes in an orgy. [Or maybe the modern varient, a Super Bowl Party.]

Sound familiar? Have you have your Soma yet? No? Maybe you should. It just might brighten up the future.

Posted by gerardvanderleun at February 2, 2013 1:38 PM
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"It is impossible to speak in such a way that you cannot be misunderstood." -- Karl Popper N.B.: Comments are moderated and may not appear immediately. Comments that exceed the obscenity or stupidity limits will be either edited or expunged.

Sounds an awful lot like "revivalist" meetings to me. Minus the orgies, of course; having fun is completely beyond the compass of the Moral Minority.

Posted by: Fletcher Christian at February 2, 2013 3:25 PM

The time for bright futures and shades is over for a while. My advice is wear a helmet, kids. A hard rain's a'coming.

Posted by: SteveS at February 4, 2013 5:24 PM
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