In Another Time…

In Back to the Future, Part II, Marty McFly traveled from 1985 to yesterday, 21 October 2015, to look in on his future family and possibly save his own son from a life of crime.  The subject has been done to death in the media this week, but I can’t resist plucking at a couple of the less-noted details of this fictive future.  I’m immensely relieved, for example, that double neckties never caught on.

Double Necktie

The movie also imagined that we would essentially be taken over by the Japanese.  When it came out in 1989, Japan was making ‘all the best stuff,’ but they’ve since wilted, perhaps victims of their own success.

We’re also not too far from 2019, the time frame of the Arnold Schwarzenegger movie The Running Man.  The notion of America as a poverty-stricken police state doubtless seemed laughable in 1987, but as 2019 approaches, the laughable seems to be becoming all too real.

The other day, I was watching The Hunt for Red October, the 1989 movie about a Soviet submarine captain who wanted to defect to the United States.  It was a cool movie back then, and still holds its own 26 years later.  But I’m compelled to believe that if Red October happened today, the American leadership would probably bend over backwards to return the sub to the Russians, and probably the captain as well.  Either that, or help the Russians to sink it.

And then there’s Tony Manero, the John Travolta character from Saturday Night Fever.  Back in the 1970s, it wasn’t outlandish to get an ordinary sort of job out of high school, and make a modest living at it.  But the little hardware stores that used to be a fixture in Brooklyn–and pretty much everywhere else–are going the way of the dodo.  And there was his boss, who paid him on Monday so he’d have money all week.  Sensible, but hopelessly quaint.  It’s hard to imagine Tony Manero working for Lowe’s.

5 thoughts on “In Another Time…”

  1. I kept hearing about Back To The Future on television and the fact they predicted the Cubs would win the World Series. Yeah right. I like looking at predictions and seeing how far they get. BTTF2 got right a lot of things. I haven’t seen SNF in years but love it (and actually have been looking for the DVD). You’re right, back then you could get a decent job out of school and small businesses. I’m working on a marketing campaign for Fred (my goofy friend who I like but has some screws loose)because like he told me if he loses the business he’s out of luck. No one will hire a 53 year old guy who has had a few DUI’s.

    I was wondering if you watch the Goldbergs? If not you should because it is about the 80’s and reminds me of that decade. I was a kid then but even then there were jobs out of school. In fact when I was in school it was expected if a student wasn’t capable, they got a job. I got rejected for a work study program because I was classified as college bound. Because I was an honors student the thought was I would go to college and get a management job. When I started college the idea was any degree would open doors. Of course we’re talking pre NAFTA.

  2. The Cubs made it to the NL Championship Series, which counts for something. They were, at least, a contender.

    Amazon.com has Saturday Night Fever for under $10. I used to prefer buying music and movies at physical stores, but they’re all pretty much gone, even here in NYC. (My wife is a musician, and despairs that all the places she used to go for sheet music are gone.)

    I hardly ever watch situation comedies anymore. On your recommendation, I watched The Goldbergs last night (thanks to the miracle of video on demand), and it reminded me why I hardly ever watch broadcast network television anymore. Somewhere in the last 25 years, the characters in situation comedies, particularly the men, turned into stupid buffoons. But that’s a rant for another day. Still, I appreciate the thought.

    1. The whole buffoon thing is prevalent on television and that does bother me. One reason I like the Goldbergs is because of the 80’s topics because it reminds me of those days. Oddly, I don’t watch much television either but watch this. I think for me shows that are about earlier days appeal to me, like the Wonder Years or Happy Days. However those two shows are a bit different since I can’t relate being born much later. Recently I read the book by the Vietnam War army nurse who was the inspiration behind the show China Beach. I think many times we can see the past and wonder what if?

  3. Seeing the past and wondering ‘what if?’ is a pastime that can go on forever… at least as long as the culture is aware that there is a past, and those people who contemplate it aren’t summarily dismissed as old fogeys.

    1. The problem is too often those of us wish for earlier times are called names. I make no bones about the fact that society is getting more immoral and instead of agreeing, people attack. I’m not talking just the family but also that jobs take advantage of others, people that use others and stupidity glorified. Yes I want to go back to a time where jobs were plentiful, where illegitimacy was not glorified, where people who didn’t have the grades worked instead of going to college and where talent was important. Instead we are living Idiocracy (of you haven’t seen the movie, I recommend it) where people with morals of any type are bashed.

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