"The Jetsons" as a touchstone for the future
"Then there was another influence, one that makes space opera sound like real opera. That, of course, was "The Jetsons" -- the Hanna- Barbera show featuring flying cars, robot maids, and Space Needle apartment buildings filled with Rube Goldberg labor-saving devices. I doubt the creators of "The Jetsons" ever imagined how they'd influence kids growing up in the 1970s. (...) Why such an influence for a show that was basically "The Flintstones" in aerial houses? (...) The only reason "The Jetsons" is a touchstone for the future instead of just childhood nostalgia is that it was "about" the future -- which was bound to arrive because, well, that's what the future does. (...) "The Jetsons," on the other hand, is pretty close to a sure thing, conversationally. (...) The other thing about the future is it tends to arrive slowly -- so slowly that often we don't notice how thoroughly things are changing."
And then relates to today's situation:
"I may not have a ticket to a moonbase quite yet, but if you could send me back to the 70s to tell my nine-year-old self what's coming, he'd be thrilled. To him, for all intents and purposes I am George Jetson.
What technological milestones have taken place during your lifetime? What do you take for granted that your nine-year-old self would have never believed possible? And what do you think the future holds? "
Why do I blog this? pure interest in (past) representation of the future and how it unfolded afterwards. Cultural artifacts like TV series are part of that ecosystem. And it's crazy how today the word "jetsons" is employed in discourse about the future (newspaper articles, futurists conference, designers' discussion and even academic papers).
This notion of a "touchstone" for the future is important, the normative representation of "what could be" at that time is the benchmark towards which one evaluate what we have today ("where's my 3D video phone that I could use in my flying car?").