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The Summer of Love and HSN
May 14, 2009 9:06 PM   Subscribe

The Internet as Imagined in 1969. A cute video replete with sexist overtones.
posted by KevinSkomsvold (50 comments total) 13 users marked this as a favorite

 
A shoutout to empath's previous thread (I was thinking of your thread when I found this).
posted by KevinSkomsvold at 9:10 PM on May 14, 2009


Well, if by "internet as it existed in 1969" you meane, "silent, grey nothingness" then I guess they were pretty accurate.

And by "pretty" i mean "10 months out of 12" since the first perminant internet connection was established in november of 1969 so the internet did, in fact, exist during some part of the year 1969.

Now, I wonder if this is the "shopping online" video filmed in the 60s I saw a couple years ago.
posted by delmoi at 9:13 PM on May 14, 2009


(to be more clear, all I see when I click the link is silent, gray nothingness)
posted by delmoi at 9:14 PM on May 14, 2009


I keep daydreaming about EisenhowerPunk. Oh that's a terrible word, I mean, what if the dreams of the 1950s actually happened? Mad Men On Mars. American dominant and repressed and into the stars. God wouldn't that be weird? All those werido WASPy cultural codes being given full license to run wild on the Moon while the Earth is still a messy place? In any case, you could have lots of people smoking and drinking on Alien Worlds and that's always something I believe in.
posted by The Whelk at 9:31 PM on May 14, 2009 [11 favorites]


The Dark Knight version of the Jetsons, is what I'm saying.
posted by The Whelk at 9:35 PM on May 14, 2009 [2 favorites]


Hey, whatever happened to that husband I'm supposed to have who pays for all my internet purchases? I demand a refund, 1969 internet imaginers!
posted by hurdy gurdy girl at 9:35 PM on May 14, 2009 [2 favorites]


I want some goddamn knobs on my computer.
posted by stargell at 9:47 PM on May 14, 2009 [13 favorites]


Pretty prescient really. Like most of these things, they imagine future ideas brought about by current technology, so it looks chintzy and twee, but the actually concepts and uses are spot-on...
posted by benzo8 at 9:51 PM on May 14, 2009 [1 favorite]


This is simultaneously remarkably prescient and laughably quaint. My favorite part is the prediction of e-mail--handwritten e-mail. Come on, guys. This is the future here. We have space typewriters.
posted by Captain Cardanthian! at 9:53 PM on May 14, 2009 [6 favorites]


(Or pretty much what benzo8 said)
posted by Captain Cardanthian! at 9:54 PM on May 14, 2009


benzo8: the actual concepts and uses are spot-on...

Yes, in all seriousness, I was surprised at how accurate the predictions were. Webcams, internet shopping, internet banking, online tax returns. Not bad.
posted by hurdy gurdy girl at 9:56 PM on May 14, 2009


benzo8: " actually concepts and uses are spot-on..."

Exactly what I was thinking. Whenever I see these videos, I think that. I guess a lot of it wasn't too much of a stretch but it's still fun to see what they were trying to dream up.
posted by KevinSkomsvold at 9:58 PM on May 14, 2009


I am so incredibly into The Whelk's idea (vacuumpunk? tubepunk?). I like how it stands exactly at the interface between [foo]punk style reimaginings of the past and straightforward retrofuturism. I like it so much that I don't even mind that the last sentence I typed there is so annoying that I had to do a quick check to make sure the Folger's people hadn't secretly replaced me with Cory Doctorow to test if I'd notice.
posted by You Can't Tip a Buick at 10:00 PM on May 14, 2009 [8 favorites]


Ah, nobody will ever trust that Console with their credit card numbers...
posted by l33tpolicywonk at 10:05 PM on May 14, 2009


cortex = the Communal Service Agency
posted by l33tpolicywonk at 10:06 PM on May 14, 2009


Now I have to blow myself up to avoid being Boing Boing'ed

I'm sorry, I loved you
posted by The Whelk at 10:08 PM on May 14, 2009


It seems like they pretty much always get the "out there" technologies right but the basic ones so wrong. For example, so many films set in the future that were filmed in the 80s or earlier might have things like computers you could talk to or long-distance video, but none of them had something like a cellphone. Not being able to reach someone was a pretty consistent plot element. In this one, they got the idea that everything would happen remotely but they had no way of knowing this would all be digital -- and indeed that long before the Internet was commonly used hardly anything would be handwritten anymore (did you see those receipts? They all looked handwritten to me).

My favorite retarded future-without-basic-tech ever was some kind of series intended to teach you how to use the public library. They scared away aliens or something by showing them a holographic video they made of a horse. Apparently filming a holographic video and projecting it on clouds was easy, but all of the research -- looking up books, finding quotations, etc -- was done by using an actually card catalog (drawers, cards, and all) and actually having to look up quotes or other data in a book.

So many plotlines effectively would have had to be scrapped today. What audience member today would credibly believe that it was too difficult to find out about someone or something once you had the name, or that it would take days of research rather than 15 minutes on google? Even recent technology conceits, such as the optical disk that Tom Cruise stole in Mission Impossible, seem quaint and silly today. Why not store that information securely online somewhere, both for a backup and so you don't have to constantly be risking your life jumping after a stupid piece of storage media?
posted by Deathalicious at 10:11 PM on May 14, 2009 [2 favorites]


Metafilter: I want some goddamn knobs on my computer.
posted by oozy rat in a sanitary zoo at 10:12 PM on May 14, 2009 [1 favorite]


I'd like to briefly derail this thread to point out that oozy rat in a sanitary zoo is the best username to grace the internet ever. Nicely done, sir. Nicely done.
posted by Captain Cardanthian! at 10:17 PM on May 14, 2009 [2 favorites]


Metafilter: I want some goddamn knobs on my computer.

Well you've got a bunch of them in this thread.
posted by mazola at 10:20 PM on May 14, 2009 [6 favorites]


Also, as a result of this video I hereby vow to have a separate computer and monitor for each individual task/application I use. That's awesome!
posted by mazola at 10:21 PM on May 14, 2009 [1 favorite]


mazola: "Metafilter: I want some goddamn knobs on my computer.

Well you've got a bunch of them in this thread.
"

That hurts.
posted by Captain Cardanthian! at 10:25 PM on May 14, 2009


1. It's only a matter of time until we get to punkpunk, and the only place to go from there is further recursion, that is, cyberpunkpunk, steampunkpunk, etc.

2. Apparently, in the future all computers will be microfilm machines.

3. Notice, not a mention or even the merest hint for the primary purpose of the web, that is to say, porn.

4. The wife does her shopping on a completely different machine than the hubby, and apparently without his input. So much for communication I guess. I wonder if they email each other?
posted by JHarris at 10:26 PM on May 14, 2009


For example, so many films set in the future that were filmed in the 80s or earlier might have things like computers you could talk to or long-distance video, but none of them had something like a cellphone.

The classic example is the prevalence of pay phones in Neuromancer. ("On his way back to the lobby, his cigarettes forgotten, he had to walk the length of the ranked phones. Each rang in turn, but only once, as he passed.") I read somewhere that Gibson knew about cell phones, but they just never occurred to him when he was writing the book.
posted by Rock Steady at 10:29 PM on May 14, 2009


This video circulated so often in the late 90s, I can't believe people are seeing it for the first time just now. It's almsot like getting rickrolled, for God's sake.
posted by Seekerofsplendor at 10:44 PM on May 14, 2009


Holy shit, how did they know? 40 years later and WOMEN BE SHOPPIN.
posted by dgaicun at 11:19 PM on May 14, 2009 [6 favorites]


I want some goddamn knobs on my computer.

I can help.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 11:37 PM on May 14, 2009 [2 favorites]


Here is my prediction how the world will look in the year 3509.
posted by dgaicun at 11:42 PM on May 14, 2009 [8 favorites]


For example, so many films set in the future that were filmed in the 80s or earlier might have things like computers you could talk to or long-distance video, but none of them had something like a cellphone.

I recall an episode of the "new" Twilight Zone in the '80s that depicted among other things ubiquitous personal mobile phones -- people wore them clipped to their jackets -- that struck me as ludicrous at the time. It seemed to me then that the battery and transceiving components were irreducibly bulky and these things were about a quarter of what I imagined the minimum size of such a thing would be. If I recall correctly, they were about as big as two or three RAZRs stacked together. So much for my technical prognosticative ability.
posted by George_Spiggott at 12:32 AM on May 15, 2009 [3 favorites]


delmoi: Well, if by "internet as it existed in 1969" you meane, "silent, grey nothingness" then I guess they were pretty accurate... (to be more clear, all I see when I click the link is silent, gray nothingness)

Well, see, in 1969, they didn't have in-browser flash video players. Maybe neither do you.
posted by koeselitz at 1:03 AM on May 15, 2009 [4 favorites]


The Whelk: I keep daydreaming about EisenhowerPunk. Oh that's a terrible word, I mean, what if the dreams of the 1950s actually happened? Mad Men On Mars. American dominant and repressed and into the stars. God wouldn't that be weird? All those werido WASPy cultural codes being given full license to run wild on the Moon while the Earth is still a messy place? In any case, you could have lots of people smoking and drinking on Alien Worlds and that's always something I believe in.... The Dark Knight version of the Jetsons, is what I'm saying.

No, you're talking about Ray Bradbury, that's all. And, yes, it's a awesomely frightening and frighteningly awesome world, that. Rereading The Martian Chronicles makes me giddy with fear.
posted by koeselitz at 1:06 AM on May 15, 2009 [1 favorite]


Strangely familiar.
posted by hal9k at 1:29 AM on May 15, 2009


Do we know anything at all about who made this video?
posted by honest knave at 2:54 AM on May 15, 2009


"I keep daydreaming about EisenhowerPunk. Oh that's a terrible word, I mean, what if the dreams of the 1950s actually happened? Mad Men On Mars. American dominant and repressed and into the stars. God wouldn't that be weird? All those werido WASPy cultural codes being given full license to run wild on the Moon while the Earth is still a messy place? In any case, you could have lots of people smoking and drinking on Alien Worlds and that's always something I believe in."

The Fallout trilogy of video games pretty much delivers on this. It's the future with non-transistor high tech. And it's pretty awesome.
posted by bardic at 3:32 AM on May 15, 2009 [1 favorite]


You could get a different 50s-era punk if you had leather jackets and hair grease (but also rockets and lasers). You could call it "GunkPunk".
posted by DU at 4:40 AM on May 15, 2009


Its interesting comparing this to the British vision of "telecommunications services for the 1990s", produced in 1969 by the GPO's research department. (The GPO later split into BT and the Post Office.)

It's somewhat more focussed on business services, although there is a mortgage advisor at home, complete with a £3500 endowment mortgage for a £5000 property.
posted by blech at 5:11 AM on May 15, 2009


I liked how the husband pulls the piece of paper out from under the printer, pretending that it is being dispensed by the fake machine. Don't trust that husband, shopping lady!
posted by orme at 5:29 AM on May 15, 2009


Well, see, in 1969, they didn't have in-browser flash video players. Maybe neither do you.

The player loaded up fine, just not the video. I think I had an out of date version of flash on my laptop.

It turned out to be the video I was expecting anyway.
posted by delmoi at 6:02 AM on May 15, 2009


Not too far off, actually. Only differs in the details (and the sexism, of course).
posted by ZenMasterThis at 6:06 AM on May 15, 2009


i would love to create a loop from that background music, but have never had a project that requires the lazy sunday vibe which the music gives to me.

2. Apparently, in the future all computers will be microfilm machines.
as we may think about the time period, vannevar bush's memex was still only a 24 year old idea in an analog world.
posted by the aloha at 6:34 AM on May 15, 2009


The online shopping has larger pictures than what's available at most online stores today.
posted by kirkaracha at 6:36 AM on May 15, 2009


... I was surprised at how accurate the predictions were. Webcams, internet shopping, internet banking, online tax returns. Not bad.

I don't really get the 'accurate predictions' part. These were the things people wanted to be able to do on computers. So when the companies made computers and started towards the internet, they wanted to make things that could do things that people wanted them to do. So they could make money. This is not all that surprising to me.
posted by six-or-six-thirty at 6:55 AM on May 15, 2009 [1 favorite]


Mad Men On Mars.

"It's not the self-calibrating hypergravititational alignment hub; it's the carousel."
posted by Uppity Pigeon #2 at 8:55 AM on May 15, 2009 [1 favorite]


Its funny that there's a separate console for every application. It's like the imagineers hadn't heard of that amazingly futuristic technological wonder known as the switch.
posted by Sys Rq at 11:10 AM on May 15, 2009 [1 favorite]


There's a new email list about this kind of thing and Bruce Sterling even posts on it.

Atompunk email list
posted by clockworkjoe at 11:14 AM on May 15, 2009


Great, now I've got Telstar stuck in my head.
posted by The Whelk at 11:34 AM on May 15, 2009


Fallout is totally the dark side of Eisenhowerpunk.
posted by Pope Guilty at 1:37 PM on May 15, 2009


Do we know anything at all about who made this video?

The Paleo-Future blog posted it a couple years ago and said it was from "1999" a Philco-Ford Corporation short film from 1967.

And the husband is played by game show host Wink Martindale.
posted by interplanetjanet at 5:23 PM on May 15, 2009


This is partly for Ocherdraco cause I can't make it to the Metafilter Writer's Workshop this month (Sorry.) and partly for You Can't Tip A Buick cause boy I love that username. Using the Mad Men Vol. One for inspiration...

It's half past Anti-Prime in the offices of Baden-Maden Travel, Olympus Mons office. The Automatic Jukebox lifts its needle and removes a record. Then, in accordance with program title RELAx01, it lifts another record and places it the turnstile. The needle falls with a soft click.

"Fly me to the moon and let me play among the stars."

The music is faint, all the knobs are set to soft. In the baby blue office of the Regional Director, two people are fucking on a couch. A man with grayish hair was under a woman with black hair. She was naked. He was wearing shoes, socks, a half-buttoned shirt with blue slacks bunched around his ankles. She had the tall, slender frame of a native Martian. He did not.

"Let me see what spring is like on Jupiter and Mars."

Behind them stood travel posters, full of the allure of strange new sensations. "BRAVE NEW WORLD, THAT HAS SUCH FREEDOM IN IT!" screamed white brush letters. "MAKE THE RED PLANET GREEN. BUY MARTIAN." announced one, " A CHICKEN IN EVERY POT, A SERVANT IN EVERY HOME." was another, with a housewife fawning over a shiny new robotic maid.

The man finished with a grunt. His name was John and this was his office. He had met the girl (Her name is Appie, short for Aphrodite. John thought that was just adorable) at Clancy's down on MacArthur Street. He had just been transferred to the Olympus Mons office. His wife and children where still back in Luna City so was understandably lonely. Appie twisted her lean body and smiled.

"Oh God! Oh, oh thank you." John laughed. He was really quite charming.

"The pleasure was mine, sir" Appie reached for two cigarettes on the nearby table. She tossed one to John and lit up. She took a long slow drag and let out a cloud that could choke the best Atmospheric-Regulator. She had powerful lungs, all Martians did.

"In other words, I love you." The track ended with another click and switched over to the Robert Dylan Ensemble version of "Volare."

"Do they have more like you at home?" John smirked behind his cigarette.

"Nope, fraid I'm it." Appie got of John, her body was blue and bony in the harsh night light. Nights on Mars aren't like nights on Earth or Venus or Luna City. Mars was bright and cold and open. The shadows cut sharp shapes into the fashionable modern furnature.

"We don't have girls like you in Luna City."

Appie smiled. A reflex. "I thought you said you where Terran?"

"Oh I was born on Earth, but I didn't stay." John puffed. "It's just too much down there, all the crime and the noise and the crowding. I got away as soon at the first ships took off. It's just so much more pleasant up here, free from the worry back home." He snorts. "Like the posters say "Ride The Sea Of Tranquility!" He laughs at his joke.

"Have you ever been to Earth?" He asks.

"Ethnic Martians can't go to Earth." Appie flinched a bit. She was wondering why she bothered. This was the worst part. Just after. God why can't he just shut up, why did she even bother asking? She had been to Earth, once. She stood underneath the Trans Manhattan expressway with a mob of other protesters. She was the only other white face in the crowd, save for a few Italians and Jews. She hurled rocks and rotten fruit at the heated plastic tubes carrying commuters to the Spaceport. It was freezing, almost like on Mars. She chanted with them, for money, for food, for help for a dying world. A year ago she would have gladly kicked a Terran like John in the teeth. A year ago she would have died before returning to Mars. It had been a long year. She turned toward the Automatic Jukebox. "Is that a 500?"

"I think. It was here when I got in." John pulled his trousers up.

Appie walked to the Jukebox. She started to scan through the photo-slides showing the 500-Series collection of records. It was pretty standard. "AMERICAN MOON" "CROSBY GOES COSMIC" "THE GIRL FROM ENCLADUOUS."Appie clicked ahead.

"Oh shit! You have Back To Earth!" She pressed play, the machine grabbed the record. "I swear I played this every day for a year when it came out."

"Yeah, the former director was into Negro music." John began to button his shirt. Appie turned the volume up, "Homeworld Bound" blasted into the empty offices. She started to dance, kicking her feet and flinging her long black hair around. By the end of the song, John was fully dressed and staring at the naked woman dancing in his office.

"I've got a meeting tomorrow, so I need to head in." his voice was small against the guitar and drums.

"Oh,OH! Yes, of course. I'm so sorry." Aphrodite turned the knobs down. "Me too." She picked up her shoes first, stopped, dropped them, and picked up her underwear and dress, trying to scramble into them as quickly as possible

"Okay then, Goodbye." Appie turned out the door. This is normally when they'd offer an AeroCab home. She could use it, she used up her Car Card a week ago.

"G'night!" John smiled and pushed past her, vanishing down the hall at a pace almost, but not quite, a run.

Appie stood there, lit a cigarette, and turned, walking in the other direction.

In the office, the Automatic Jukebox switched to Track 2, "Sattelight Of Love." but it was drowned out by the sound of soft footsteps on thin carpet.
posted by The Whelk at 10:18 PM on May 15, 2009 [4 favorites]


Previously.
posted by Eideteker at 2:19 PM on May 18, 2009


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