There’s A Great Big Beautiful Tomorrow…..If You’re A White Heterosexual Male

As a sci-fi fan and history geek, I hold the “what-could-have-been-the-future” genre near to my heart.

Okay, so I don’t feel all mushy like that. But I do find it incredibly fascinating.

It’s called the “paleofuture.” Essentially, it’s what the past (mainly the mid 20th century) thought the future would be like. This is where the concept of flying cars and Jetsons-esque buildings come from. The visual art and creative genius from writers and artists in this genre is priceless.

A concept for a driverless car (1957)

One of the most fascinating things about paleofuture art and film is that while the technology depicted was exotic and futuristic, the social values were the same. In the year 2000, we’ll have rockets to the moon, bases on Mars, mile-high skyscrapers…and only white (heterosexual) men will be able to enjoy the future’s full potential!

The Disney short Magic Highway USA is a classic example. This 1958 gem of ’50s optimism makes some interesting predictions for the 21st century, including fog resistant “expressways” and see-through freeway tunnels at the bottom of the world’s oceans.

Take a look:

Several things stand out. Aside from the large amounts of new and fantastic (and rather useless) technology, 1950s American society remains the same in this vividly pictured future. It seems that in 21st century America, children only exist in homes with a subservient mother and a bread-winning father. Father goes to work and mother and child go to the shopping center because, you know, women can’t run companies because they aren’t smart enough!

A housewife waits for the jetpack mailman. The future of suburban life as seen in 1958

One can only imagine the environmental nightmares and global fuel shortages that would result from having personal gas pumps in the garages of average families, as is predicted in the short. It’s bad enough that almost all major cities are designed around the automobile and suburban sprawl. Now we’re supposed to have what appear to be unregulated gas stations in millions of American homes? What could possibly go wrong?!

Man has always fallen short when it comes to predicting the future. Just turn on the TV late at night and you’ll see poor saps calling (and paying) in to self-proclaimed psychics. Humans have large, complex brains so we like pondering our existence and future. It’s what we do.

Yes, we have come a long way and in fact surpassed many of the predictions of generations past. Had you told someone 50 or even 30 years ago that in the early 21st century, your entire music library, along with several movies and television shows, will be stored in a small, wireless, hand-held device, they would have either labeled you a science fiction visionary or a crazy communist or something. If you really wanted to up the ante, you could also tell them that in the near future, average people will communicate instantaneously across the world via video chat. More Valium for the nutjob!

Someone get this guy an iPhone 4 or Skype account...

Most futurists and visionaries of the past seemed to forget that societal attitudes and culture are fluid. Even the 1950s were more progressive than decades earlier when women in most parts of the United States could not even vote. Societies and cultures change and evolve. They have to in order to survive. Cultures that don’t change and adapt end up decaying and dying. We learn from our mistakes (although not all the time) and move onward. New discoveries in science and debates in philosophy challenge humanity’s past assumptions. It was only centuries ago that people with mental illness were diagnosed with demons. Mankind used to think gods and other supernatural beings were in the heavens when they looked up into the night sky and named the constellations.

As humanity has evolved, it has shed many of its previous superstitions and old habits. As we continue to evolve into a global civilization, the journey of discovery and reassessment of values also continue. We will become more technologically advanced and innovation will continue to open new horizons. However, our only real hope lies in adapting to new ways of thinking and doing things. Equality in the eyes of a democratic government and tolerance of different ways of life seem to be the wave of the future. We have no choice but to ride that wave.

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Five Reasons Why St. Patrick’s Day Is Pointless & Irrelevant for Americans

St. Patrick’s Day. Who cares?!

1. Why celebrate someone the Catholic Church has deemed a saint post-mortem? He doesn’t do much – if anything – for American culture…aside from making Irish-Americans more drunk than usual.

2. Celebrating binge drinking on a set-aside day annually is pointless…Americans already do that every weekend?

3. Pinching strangers and friends is completely unremarkable…just go to any bar and you’ll get the binge drinking AND the pinching on any day of the year. Yay.

4. Wearing mostly/all-green outfits make people look like oversized houseplants.

5. Shamrocks have as much value as weeds. Isn’t the “American Dream” supposed to have green, manicured lawns? Weeds and shamrocks usually mean you’re doing something wrong in your yard care.

Just sayin’. 😉

 

Walker, Legal Ranger

Federal Judge Vaughn Walker – who has the distinction of being the judge to make the monumental and historic decision that overturned California’s Proposition 8 – wrote a well-thought out and articulated analysis explaining why not allowing two people of the same sex to legally marry is unconstitutional and regressive.

From the anthropological and evolutionary roots of marriage to the discriminatory laws and attitudes that hold back human progress, Judge Walker left no holds barred in his stunning and precise analysis. One of the many notable sections include the following:

The evidence shows that the movement of marriage away from a gendered institution and toward an institution free from state-mandated gender roles reflects an evolution in the understanding of gender rather than a change in marriage. The evidence did not show any historical purpose for excluding same-sex couples from marriage, as states have never required spouses to have an ability or willingness to procreate in order to marry. FF 21. Rather, the exclusion exists as an artifact of a time when the genders were seen as having distinct roles in society and in marriage. That time has passed.

The right to marry has been historically and remains the right to choose a spouse and, with mutual consent, join together and form a household. FF 19-20, 34-35. Race and gender restrictions shaped marriage during eras of race and gender inequality, but such restrictions were never part of the historical core of the institution of marriage. FF 33. Today, gender is not relevant to the state in determining spouses’ obligations to each other and to their dependents. Relative gender composition aside, same-sex couples are situated identically to opposite-sex couples in terms of their ability to perform the rights and obligations of marriage under California law. FF 48. Gender no longer forms an essential part of marriage; marriage under law is a union of equals.

Whether social conservatives admit it or not, human society is always evolving and changing with new ideas and breakthroughs as well as through human evolution itself. To ignore this simple fact in favor of antiquated views and prejudice is ignorant and contrary to the American ideals of life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. Thankfully, we’re closer to equality for all in this country.