Thursday, February 14, 2008
THEY were the futuristic gadgets which were supposed to revolutionise our lives...
Instead, these innovations, held up half a century ago as visions of the future have today been branded as among the worst of the last 50 years.
Archives from the 1956 Ideal Home Exhibition have revealed how developers building the first "home of the future" came up with some bizarre ideas which they believed would enhance people's lives in the 21st century...
1 Gamma rays will bombard meats, fish and dairy, killing germs and doing away with refrigeration.
2 Electric saucepans will cook food on any surface, replacing hobs.
3 Electric tables will rise from the floor and can be set to dining or coffee level.
4 Roofs will be covered with aluminium foil to deflect the sun's rays.
5 Front doors will all be electric and folding.
6 Houses will consist of a series of plastic pods.
7 Showers will dispense both water and hot air to wash and dry you.
8 Baths will be self-cleaning with built-in rinsing system.
9 Nylon is the material of choice – we will all be wearing drip-dry nylon clothes and sleeping in nylon sheets.
10 Men fashions will be inspired by Superman and the space age.
The reason I am mentioning this is not because the predictions are either good or bad but the way the reporting of them reflects on our present society. All of them are feasible now & some analogs of these have been done. The real point is that this has been reported by the Scotsman, the Metro, the Record, & etc in suich a heavily negative way. They (& this presumably includes the writer of the original press release on which all these reports are so visibly based, virtually verbatim) could have equally well based the report on what was correctly predicted. As indeed the Metro does at the end.
However, our friends from 1956 did get some things right. For example, they foresaw microwave ovens, remote control handsets and entry phones.Which was pretty good thinking in 1956.
Apart from showing, yet again, how monolithic our media are with little real variety in viewpoints it shows how depressingly miserabilist about progress they all are. There is nothing inevitable about Western society now being anti-progress - it is a direct result of decades of spin by our monolithic media. Say what you like of the press (& socialists) under Stalin but at least then they had a vision of a better future.
To barely digress - a few weeks ago Alex Salmond in Parliament told Annabel Goldie that he opposed nuclear power because the industry had failed to produce the electricity "to cheap to meter" he remembers they promised when he was young. In fact he seems to be suffering from False Memory Syndrom - the industry never promised any such thing. One individual predicted it in 1954 as part of a series of predictions for an unspecified but clearly considerable distance in the future, most of which have come spectacularly partly true.