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The Future – It’s Not What it Used to Be

Filed under Works in Progress

The Future: It's Not What it Used to Be

It’s true enough: we were so good at imagining the future, once upon a time, that even though we’ve ended up with some pretty great things our present just can’t compare with the future we thought we were getting. Would you REALLY rather have an Ipod than a jet pack?

But on the other hand, we’ve gradually been freeing ourselves from some of that social baggage whose weight keeps us dragging our heels through the turnstiles of the future. So since we can nearly see our way ahead to the days when the metallic content – or the color – of our outer selves won’t make a pig’s whisker of a difference to anyone, maybe we’re getting a better bargain than it seems we are, when we dwell on that whole flying car thing.

And that’s the dichotomy I like about this picture. On its own shiny and colorful outer self it’s about one thing, but it could just as easily be about another. And whichever way you choose to see it, it’s always “Not what it used to be”.

This is yet another T-shirt design for my Retropolis Transit Authority site, among other things. Like a coffee mug, poster, greeting cards, and blank books.

3 responses to “The Future – It’s Not What it Used to Be
Bob L says:
March 23rd, 2009 at 12:51 pm

Maybe we could combine the jet pack and iPod?….

Paddy says:
April 2nd, 2009 at 1:28 am

You did a post about steampunk and dieselpunk. But I must say that you are very atompunk in my eyes. I know you don’t care for labels but I wanted you to be aware that atompunk is out there and growing and you embody it very well.

Bradley W. Schenck says:
April 2nd, 2009 at 12:34 pm

I know that’s meant to be sort of inclusive and encouraging, but I don’t think that particular label fits, in either of its terms.

1. As far as I can tell, the “Atom” in Atompunk is meant to refer to both sides of the Cold War’s experience of the Atomic Age and the Space Age. I know a lot of people feel they see the fifties in what I do, but my influences are drawn from those visions of the future from a period between the late 1920s and the early 1940s. The face of the future changed quite a bit after WWII – the V2 rockets and fighter planes made people at large pretty well of how those technologies really did look and work.

2. I fail the “punk” test with any of these labels unless “punk” has lost is meaning. My futures – notwithstanding the occasional gag about giant robots and mad scientists – is always a pretty nice place to be, and you don’t have disenfranchised individualists rebelling against it, or eroding it from below.

It’s true that I’m not a fan of labels, too. I’m not sure why we need them, though I understand why we want them.

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