Thursday, July 12, 2007

The Future at Forty

What ever happened to the future? Back in the 1960s and early 1970s -- despite Vietnam, global turmoil and various uprisings -- it felt like the Space Age was truly upon us. Even to me as a little kid, the excitement was palpable. Gadgets and gizmos, human rights and civil rights, environmental awareness, the ecology -- the 1965 World's Fair in New York City was one of the first major family experiences I can remember away from my home town in Pennsylvania. There was James Bond's Goldfinger car, and here was a silvery tomorrow.

Also with my family, I later saw the grounds of Expo 67 in Montreal, geodesic domes and all. More recently, I've walked the grounds of Expo 68 in San Antonio, where the space needle still aims at the heavens.

Probably the biggest disappointment was the 1982 Knoxville World's Fair -- so mediocre even The Simpsons joked about it years later. Ronald Reagan must have killed off what joy was left for the future. He was going on and on about "Star Wars," a dismal (and largely imaginary) new Maginot Line designed to ward off flying objects from the Soviet Union and Mars. (When the Challenger shuttle blew up on take off in 1986, he was heard to mutter, "Is that the one with the teacher on it?").

I've barely heard a thing about the expos since New Orleans 1984. Expos now seem more distant, less relevant, less frequent to even notice than back in the day. Under the watch of G.W. Bush, nothing good has happened at all. What happened to the great Mars project? Like everything else, I suspect, thrown onto the bonfire of the Iraq War. I don't think another hopeful International Expo will occur in the USA again for a very long time.

San Antonio-born actress Michelle Rodriguez seems like an Expo kind of woman. An appeal by her to the powers that be might help bring one back to "the Homeland."

British actress Anna Friel seems a bit worried about the future in this scene. It's her party and she'll cry if she wants to. Who can blame her? She's very nicely dressed for global warming, though.

Today's Rune: The Self.

Birthdays: Julius Caesar, Josiah Wedgwood, Pierre Louis Marie Chanel, Henry David Thoreau, Eugène Boudin, Nikolay Gavrilovich Chernyshevsky, George Eastman, George Washington Carver, Stefan George, Max Jacob, Buckminster Fuller, Pablo Neruda (b. Ricardo Eliecer Neftalí Reyes Basoalto), Milton Berle (b. Berlinger), Andrew Wyeth, Bill Cosby, Christine McVie (b. Christine Anne Perfect), Cheryl Ladd (b. Cheryl Jean Stoppelmoor), Robin Wilson (b. Detroit), Anna Friel, Trent Vanegas, Michelle Rodriguez.

A special happy birthday to my pal and former co-worker Trent Vanegas, now operating out of L.A. and going great guns with Pink is the New Blog.

"Don't stop thinking about tomorrow!"


the walking man said...

I remember a bit about going to the '67 expo I think it was, but with everything moving to indoor trade shows and that sort of smaller type of forum, don't you think that has something to do with replacing the huge built for the public way to see portions of the world culture?

And why is that woman in the bottom picture being held by George Castanza?

Johnny Yen said...

Yeah, where's my damned jetpack?