The Future Blows
As a child, I often held promises of the future with a certain reverence. There was a special place in my heart for the exciting post-apocalyptic films about poofy haired Italian men running around in spandex and shooting other poofy haired Italian men in rubber lizard masks. I was a tremendous fan of the bubble car and the promises of a fresh new day that rode along with its futuristic plastic suspension and optional laser gun turrets. The bubble car represented all our hopes and dreams of the future, an iron-cast declaration that one day in 1993 or so, our scientific scholars would gain the cutting edge technology needed to produce a vehicle which not only travels at speeds of up to 50 miles an hour, but also features a bubble on the roof. Despite the support and encouragement of the plastic industry, automakers found it nearly impossible to pull off such a futuristic bubble car design in those days, and instead resorted to producing a bunch of huge eight-ton steel behemoth cars which had the raw horsepower of a child pushing a toy wagon up a hill composed of chicken bones and applesauce. The early 1980s auto industry found itself in a rut and unable to produce any vehicle more high tech than a gigantic Ford which doubled as a boat home if you were to take off its tires and replace the bottom of it with a series of buoyant floats that could support more than 20 tons of pressure upon them. This lack of creativity lead to such things as AIDS, Jimmy Carter, and Crystal Pepsi, so I think you can see the problem with this.
"The future" in the early 1980s consisted of a five-year time range around 1999, sometimes occurring as early as 1987 and occasionally as late as 2013. Regardless of the exact date, all kinds of fantastic new technology inhabited the sleek and sexy world of the future, although the further you got in years, the more abstract technology became. For example, most 1980s scientists agreed that in the year 1994, robot butlers and doors that opened when you shouted, "HEY DOOR, OPEN!" were commonplace. When you started approaching the year 2004, however, things began to get a bit shady. Sometimes there were cyborgs who looked and acted exactly like human beings except for the fact that they didn't really look like human beings or act like human beings in any sense at all, unless the term "human being" means "robot with pancake makeup and servo motors which produce deafening whirring sounds louder than an air raid siren." Other times the world was simply a dirt-filled holocaustic wasteland full of marauding mutant bandits and colonies who built their entire town from plaster and corrugated metal walls that were stolen from a nearby Arby's construction site. Our society of the future was either a technological marvel or a desolate apocalypse, and the only thing linking these two possible scenarios was the bubble car and the large, poofy-haired Italian men who were qualified to pilot such extravagant vehicles. Scientists have conclusively proven that only cockroaches and large, poofy-haired Italian men will be able to survive thermo-nuclear warfare of the future, so stock up on industrial vats of hair gel if you expect to successfully barter following the apocalypse.
Regardless of the specific inventions and fake new robots that patented future technology kind of supposedly let us have, one thing was similar in all scenarios: the future sucked. Either some fascist dictatorship ran the entire globe and forced people to slowly walk around boring concrete structures which were adorned with festively depressing flags depicting a blood red fist smashing a bald eagle's skull in front of a black background, or the world was one giant smoldering crater where mankind had to fight for survival while avoiding radioactive hamsters and raiders who resembled the Raiders. I really can't think of a single futuristic movie from the early 80s which revolved around a functional, happy, blissful society that wasn't plagued with Nazi storm trooper government officials or 50-foot tall beagles that shot fire from their nipples, although there's the possibility I've been looking in the wrong movie section. I mean, even in the smash hit Tom Selleck and Gene Simmons movie "Runaway," there were hundreds of deadly insect bugs which crawled around you and moved their various appendages in ways that caused you to stop living after a specific amount of time... and their version of the future included robotic nannies! Robotic nannies! Do you understand how high tech that version of the future was? Tom Selleck, future cop from the future, would come home from a tough night of fighting robots and KISS band members to be greeted by his dullard son and the ROBOTIC NANNY. Robonanny was around the size of a refrigerator crate and had a British accent, so you just knew that it was the pinnacle of future past technology. It also featured many lights on its metal frame, some of which blinked if the time was right. Also you can probably bet this robot was so high tech that if you tried to eat it, it would probably protest or at least attempt to move out of the way while showering you with British slang curse words like "lorry" and "tea."
Now I may not have won everybody over with my disappointed view on the past future, probably because I don't think I've gotten around to explaining exactly what my stance of this subject would be, but I'd like to offer up the following facts I have gleaned from futuristic 1980s movies. That's correct, I have gleaned these facts. I took a thresher out, cut down a bunch of grain, and then found these facts about 1980s movies lying around in the wheat field. That's the miracle of the Information Superhighway, ladies and gents!
FACT 1: Where is my goddamn bubble car? I can accept the fact that hover cars and anti-grav motorcycles are not commonplace yet, but I expect at least a primitive version of a bubble car. I don't give a shit if somebody takes a 1996 Honda Accord, rips the top off it, and glues a giant Capsella sphere to the top; I want my goddamn bubble car. Every single past futuristic movie was linked by one common trait, the bubble car, and this status symbol was the primary indication which allowed anybody and everybody know that it was, in fact, the future. You know, in case if they were too stupid to read and couldn't decipher the sequence of characters at the bottom of the TV screen which read "1996: Neo New Boston-Los Angeles Megatropolis: THE FUTURE." If you see a bubble car, you know it's the future, and as far as I can tell, it currently is the future (at least compared to the future 20 years ago). If we're living in the future, then where is our bubble car? I want a bubble car and I want one now, and if I can't get a bubble car, then I at least want some automotive company to pick up the genius idea of stapling hundreds of LEDs to the interior of my vehicle and having them blink at random intervals for no discernable reason whatsoever. That's the least they could do.
FACT 2: All the guns that I own shoot bullets, not lasers. Now while this isn't inherently a bad thing, I've had my hopes set on a weapon that emitted a stream of primary-colored light while making a "BEOW!" sound for quite some time now. Even GI Joe, which wasn't supposed to take place in the future, had a predominant role for laser guns as both members of the Joes and Cobra refused to use any conventional weapon which could possibly cause harm or injury to any non-robotic entity. I think there was some toggle on their guns which automatically caused the nearby conveniently-located oil drums to explode if a human was being targeted, or slice through all non-living enemies like a SARS-infected hypodermic needle dropped from the top of the Empire State Building landing on a Fruit Rollup. Or like an English major tearing through my poorly constructed metaphors and sentence. Fragments. A few super-secret organizations currently have access to lasers, such as the National Association of Diamond Cutting and those guys who wear the white suits and somehow magically produce microchips in a lab located hundreds of miles beneath the Earth's crust, but when was the last time you saw the military exchanging primary colored blasts with some unkempt heathens in Iraq? The last time I witnessed such a thing was after Jim Bagleaducia asked me to hold the funny looking colorful paper for him while the police raided his house and searched for the illegal immigrants who he was using to operate the white slave trade in his basement.
FACT 3: It's been at least five years since the future officially began. Science has no excuse for their lackadaisical approach towards creating the vital inventions we so desperately need these days, such as moon boots and infra-red casual sunglasses which don't show any heat but instead color everything red and make it so you can't discern people from nearby tomatoes and apples, which is a scenario police these days encounter far too often. The future should've damn well started by now, and I'm frankly getting sick of these delays.
FACT 4: Judith Light needs to stop wearing shoulder pads and appearing in Lifetime Network movies. In the movie "Murder at My Door," which did not in fact portray any murders at anybody's door, she was the mother of a serial killer who stabbed women and ultimately walked into a large fire so the movie would end before the audience set fire to their livingrooms. "Lady Killer" showcased her acting talents as a woman who had an affair with a younger man who then attempted to stalk her and cause her to die, although in a surprise twist ending that nobody could possibly ever fathom, he ended up dying instead. The feature film "Against Their Will: Women in Prison" portrayed Judith Light in prison, which is where she belongs and hopefully where she shall stay. "Men Don't Tell," which is my personal favorite out of the Judith Light cinematic experience, revolved around Light beating up her husband in really comical fits of rage which had the same emotional impact as one of the Three Stooges realizing he ran out of pies during a particularly heated pie fight with an uppity rich woman. In each and every one of these films, she wear shoulder pads in virtually all scenes. Why is this? Can't somebody stop her?
FACT 5: There is no single global currency and this non-existent global currency does not have a way boss name like "megabucks" or "cybercredits." One of the tell-tale signs of inhabiting the future is a high tech type of money which is all stored on a piece of plastic that looks like a credit card and is the size of a credit card yet isn't a credit card. Instead of using such outdated terms as "cash," money should be referred to as something completely goofy like "nanocredits" which are dispensed via pneumatic tubes running down the wall at random locations. This currency is then used to purchase things like "mutant crocodile eyeball on a stick" and "mud gruel" which are common delicacies in the post-apocalyptic future.
FACT 6: No seriously, where the hell is my bubble car?
FACT 7: I am not currently a slave to some fascist new world order government. Yeah, I'm aware that Zack "Liberal Editor" Parsons could saunter in here and start blabbering about that evil diabolical John Ashcroft and his gang of roving Conservatives who spend every hour of their free time peeing on the Bill of Rights and shitting on the freedom of peace loving Americans throughout America, but I think we're awfully far away from fascism. The 1980s futuristic dictators all predicted the following governmental characteristics, none of which are present in our current administration:
1) The evil dictator will have some interesting body modification such as a metal hand or a very bald head with a metal skull inside which is revealed in the second to last scene. The metal hand is usually the most popular indication of a evil fascist dictator, as they really like to hear the sound it produces when they hammer their fist down against a wooden table to express their extreme disappointment after learning the incompetent henchman let the one person who could bring down the entire government escape. Then some particularly menacing lens flares fly out of his eyes and before you know it, blammo, there's a jump cut and that henchman has been reduced to a smoldering pile of ashes.
2) The patriotic American flag will be replaced with something very basic and menacing, such as a series of evil triangles inside an evil circle in front of an evil rectangle. "Evil geometry" is a very popular research subject for dictators, and they know all about the psychology behind the combination of certain shapes and colors. As far as I know, the US flag is still the same, although there's always an uppity group of inbreds in the south and Texas who insist on changing the flag to something which features images of white people raising their right hand in triumph and beheading an enemy minority in the left.
3) There will be a series of giant megaphones placed all over every city, billowing out commands and chanting things like "you can trust the leader" and "do not act subversive" and "the yellow zone is for loading and unloading only." While it's true that I hear voices nonstop, these voices clearly aren't coming from any megaphones; they're being channeled through the springs in my box spring mattress. THANK YOU VERY MUCH, CIA!!!
FACT 8: We don't have plans for spaceships that don't explode, but hey, we've got a space elevator. I'll tell you what, you goddamn egghead brainiacs at NASA: I don't want a space elevator. Nobody wants a space elevator. If you were to walk up to somebody on the street and ask them what they want NASA to do, they'd probably respond with something like "create a program that doesn't result in exploding rockets which kill innocent people and waste hundreds of millions of taxpayer dollars." Then, if you were to bring up the idea of spending a few billion bucks on a bigass piece of rope that was stuck in the ocean and went up to some chunk of scrap metal orbiting the Earth, they would hit you in the face and call you an asshole. This is supposed to be the future, folks! In the future, we're supposed to have spaceships, not spacerope. Nobody has ever conquered the moon with a fucking ball of string tied to the ocean. There has never been a race of creatures who were able to enslave an entire planet by using their spacerope as a giant slingshot which launched out intergalactic asteroids full of SARS.
This is not the future our hairy-chested fathers envisioned in the early 1980s. We're not living in a society that embraces the technology and ideals the Italian movie-making geniuses wished for us back during the birth of the glorious 80s. I do not see hundreds upon thousands of rapidly flashing LEDs adorning every single piece of technology in my possession. I have searched near and far for a laser pistol which I can use to make barrels and robots explode, but the stores all here claim they don't sell such items, even that one hardware store that John Madden is always talking about in between snacking on entire cows and cows stuffed with smaller cows. All I want is a bubble car; is that so much to ask? Apparently so.
It's all just a big joke! I swear!
Ryan "OMGWTFBBQ" Adams back for another exciting, action pack, fun filled, over the top, heart pounding, intense, fun for the whole family, instant classic, two thumbs up, rollercoaster ride of an update! Guess what I'm watching on TV. The Cowboys Giants game, actually. I'm from Texas, so I'm glad the 'Boys won, but man, what a great game.
Apple Computers, know for their interesting and acclaimed product design, has recently updated their handheld music listening device known as the iPod. What do companies do when they release a new product? They advertise the hell out of it. And what do the Something Awful forum goons do with ads for a newly released product? They parody the hell out of them.