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It'll never happen

In the future, women will wear trousers and men will walk around with telephones on their belts....

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( 7 comments — Leave a comment )
azarias
Aug. 16th, 2014 07:29 pm (UTC)
I'm pretty sure I've seen those "cantilevered heels" on the runway recently.
jo_graham
Aug. 17th, 2014 12:51 pm (UTC)
I just saw some on my feet....
azarias
Aug. 17th, 2014 02:51 pm (UTC)
They're pretty hot.

I went down the rabbit hole of historical futurology videos on youtube after watching this. The house of the future! The Cold War of the future! The rocket of the future! The common thread among them was that the future would look pretty much like the present, with some cosmetic differences.

Sure, maybe women will wear trousers in public, but they'll still be housewives if they're lucky or secretaries and factory girls if they're not. The average American family will still be white and nuclear. (Which wasn't true then, certainly isn't true now, and probably was never true.) Values won't change, attitudes won't change, and any new technologies will be used to do what we do now, just better.

And then I remembered Star Trek. Remember the original series? That was a different future. It didn't look anything like the 1960s, aside from the color palette. There were aliens who didn't look or talk like humans and who didn't want the same things. There were women commanding military forces, and if you asked Captain Kirk what the race of his helmsman was he'd probably blink and say "Well, he's from San Francisco ...". The show itself wasn't perfect and it damned sure wasn't divorced from its cultural context: portrayals of women were still sexist, the white male hero was still the most important part of any adventure, and the morals the show delivered were often ham-handed. But at the end of the day it tried to imagine a future that wasn't the present with different fashions.

And that, your honor, is why I go into a frothing berserker nerd rage when I think about the Trek Reboot. (Apologies to any Reboot fans reading. You might want to look away.) THAT future? That's 2010 with different cell phones. The important values are human values, and human values are American values. The magic of CGI might throw in a few background characters who don't look at all like humans, but who cares about them? They're not important. They're weird-looking. Jim Kirk starts a bar fight to impress Uhura, because three hundred years from now women will still be prizes for men to compete over. There are never consequences for cowboying your way across the galaxy and violence is a tool to solve just about any problem.

I have very angry feelings about what this represents about the trajectory of pop culture.
tricksterquinn
Aug. 17th, 2014 11:22 pm (UTC)
This perspective is fascinating. Thank you.
jo_graham
Aug. 18th, 2014 12:24 pm (UTC)
I definitely see what you mean about the lack of imagination in the reboot. It's not science fiction, not in the sense that it explores possibilities, whether those are social or technological. It's not about people living differently or actually having a different culture. It's fallen into the pit of bad costume dramas, where people wear clothes from long ago but think and act just like 21st century Americans.
tricksterquinn
Aug. 17th, 2014 11:20 pm (UTC)
Immediate first thought: I want that font!!

I love the mocking tone. Some of those designers were right on! No one got the hair right, however.
jo_graham
Aug. 18th, 2014 12:25 pm (UTC)
They were! Some of the designers were right on indeed. But not the hair.
( 7 comments — Leave a comment )