Future Nostalgia (DOG EAR)

Future Nostalgia (DOG EAR)

ne of the popular methods of making distant future scifi relatable to us in the present day is to adorn the stories with items that relate to our world. The idea is that our present is carried into this future, to make us more curious. After all, there is our time carried forward for our amusement.

Some examples.

  • The Rocinante – This is the space ship in the wonderful Expanse series. It is the name of Don Quixote’s broken-down mount, and sorta hints that the heroes of that series consider themselves misguided in their various quests. Also, in one part, there were shipping containers with FedEx logos on them.
  • Atari in Blade Runner – yes, when Decker is chasing someone through the streets of future LA, there is a big Atari sign. Look, like right there. So cool!
  • Bumper stickers – nothing is cooler than seeing some sort of current bumper slogan carried (usually ironically) into the future. Such as “My other car is a…” or “How’s my driving? Call…”
  • 2001 – the Pan Am Clipper and the Orbital Hilton
  • Heavy Metal – a mohawked punk who tries to rip off Cabbie Harry Canyon. He’s so retro he’s actually cute.

So yes, we think that the future reflects the present. But guess what? Not true. Look around in this “future” for people of the last century. How many references do you see in our society for anything from the past. Where are the Burma Shave slogans, the Western Union jokes, references to the White Star Line. And slogans? “California or Bust”? “Remember the Maine”? “Home by Christmas”?

Yes, we think our time is so important and amazing that the future will hold onto it for as long as they can. But just like grandparents who actually move to be close to their grandkids, really, the future generations don’t give a shit about us. Future generations are tearing down the old norms and icons, making their own, moving forward. We did it to the 1900s, and now it’s being done to us.

So sure, it’s all cute to see a reference in the future to our time, like McDonald arches on a space station (again, Heavy Metal). But looking around our world with a clear intent, it’s difficult to find any reference to generations past. Yes, we have met the future and it isn’t us.