Sep 13, 2022Liked by Virginia Postrel

“As soon as we have something that improves over the past, we see what’s wrong with it.” That line combined with your suggestion that it applies equally to things and ideas/culture was a real eye-opening ‘ah-ha!’ moment for me. And cathartic as well.

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For an alternative view (two alternatives, really): Over time, Roger Ebert developed a very different take on "The Graduate" and "Plastics." In 1967, he lionized the character of Ben Braddock (Dustin Hoffman), to whom he ascribed "acute honesty." 30 years later, Ebert revisited the film and said he had concluded that Benjamin was an "insufferable creep" and that Mrs. Robinson (Anne Bancroft) was, in fact, "the most sympathetic and intelligent character" in the film. In his re-review, Ebert wrote of the iconic scene that you mention: "Anyone with average intelligence should have known, in 1967, that the word 'plastics' contained valuable advice--especially valuable for Benjamin, who lacks creative instincts and is destined to become a corporate drudge."

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Sep 14, 2022Liked by Virginia Postrel

THE JETSONS isn't exactly "I LOVE LUCY/THE HONEYMOONERS/FATHER KNOWS BEST with different backdrops and dumber jokes".

Why do I say "exactly"? Because the show's "Stone Age partner", THE FLINTSTONES, basically *is* exactly THE HONEYMOONERS:

Fred Flintstone <-> Ralph Kramden

Barney Rubble <-> Ed Norton

Wilma <-> Alice

Betty <-> Trixie

"Yabba-dabba-doo!" <-> "Bang! Zoom! To the Moon!"

Loyal Order of Water Buffalo <-> Loyal Order of Raccoons

The debt Fred & Co. owed to THE HONEYMOONERS was fairly obvious at the time, and is still pretty well-known today. In contrast, THE JETSONS, although it's mostly forgotten today, maps onto the characters of the BLONDIE comic strip:

George J. Jetson <-> Dagwood Bumstead

Jane, his wife <-> Blondie Bumstead (née Boopadoop)

his boy Elroy <-> Alexander Hamilton Bumstead

daughter Judy <-> "Cookie" Bumstead

Astro (the dog) <-> Daisy (the dog)

Mr. Cosmo G. Spacely (and his domineering wife Petunia) <-> Mr. Julius Caesar Dithers (and his domineering wife Cora)

Rosie the Robot <-> Mrs. Mumph the maid (though she rarely appeared after the early strips)

The fact that THE JETSONS was mostly based on BLONDIE was openly acknowledged at the time the show premiered. In fact, the actress who voiced Jane Jetson (Penny Singleton) had played Blondie in a popular series of films (based on the comic strip) from the 1930s to the 1950s.

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Midnight cowboy was a much better Dustin Hoffman. Movie

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jetsons seems a way to exhibit the googey aesthetic mostly in hindsight

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I was in the eighth grade when The Graduate was released, and my mother promptly told my twin sister and me that we were not to see it. So, several of us took the bus downtown to see it, mostly because we had heard about “the scene” where Mrs. Robinson flashes Benjamin and he states the obvious, that she was trying to seduce him. That’s what bothered me about Benjamin: he was incredibly dense for someone so well educated. I didn’t get the message of the “plastics” scene at the time, though it was clear to me that there was a special meaning to be had. All I got was a feeling of malaise, but then that was all Benjamin seemed to be, malaise. … I watched it again several years ago, and maybe it’s because it was on TV and not the big screen, but, unlike plastics, it didn’t hold up well to me.

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I listen to a podcast called Timcast IRL, which features a young panel (to me, anyway; three or four people in their late thirties, and, yes, people my age are often the bunt of their jokes), and I’m heartened by their take on things. Tim Pool, the main guy, loves Star Trek (and the milieu) not because he loves sci-if but because the episodes are morality tales he can relate to. These folks long for a morality they can believe in, and this desire seems to shape their interest in all things extra-. It’s a way to argue what is good and/or bad without having to fall back on religion. It’s kind of like being able to see America better while adventuring in the Andes.

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Personally I can't think of any sci fi I would like to watch, only sci fi I would like to read, and none of it written after the great Ray Bradbury, after which Postmodernism became so entrenched in the psyche, and imposed on nearly student who might pass through university film and writing programs that it has become inescapable. Every graduate comes out an unconscious Postmodernist mouthpiece. Now nearly all writers are squawking Postmodernist parrots, and that's why they think the world must be portrayed in such a dark and nihilistic way - it has nothing to do with making money.

Instead, it is imposed on the consumer just like short-shorts were imposed on women and girls in the 90s and you couldn't find any real clothing anywhere. The consumer has no options, and they get 'em early like with McDonald happy meals, feeding them on Netflix binges or Disney specials as empty of meaning as Happy Meals are of nutrition.

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