Sunday, January 15, 2006

A Problematic Prognostication

When it comes to 20th-century works of popular culture, I'm a big fan of wildly inaccurate prognostications of what things would be like in the 21st century. It seems so far we haven't got any of the good stuff (flying cars, peace, flying cars) or the bad stuff (nuclear holocaust, roaches taking over as humans die out, flying car crashes) that was routinely predicted for us.

But when it comes to predications of what things would be like in the 21st century, the one I really wish had come true was this one, in a speech from Sidney Kingsley's play Detective Story (1950):

JOE: I love these tall kids today. I got a nephew, 17, six-foot-three, blond hair, blue eyes. Science tells us at the turn of the century the average man and woman's going to be seven-foot tall. Seven foot! That's for me. We know the next fifty years are gonna be lousy: war, atom-bombs, whole friggin' civilization's caving in. But I don't wake up at four a.m. to bury myself, any more. I got the whole thing licked -- I'm skipping the next fifty years. I'm concentrating on the twenty-first century and all those seven-foot beauties.

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