This Pathetone Weekly newsreel is a late 1930s look at what “Eve, 2000 A.D.” will be wearing:
I’m really struck by how accurate the predictions are–not the actual look of the clothing, but the general outlines of the fashion priorities of early 21st century people: in a world in which denim is worn for evening wear and velvet and satin are worn in the daytime, women’s wear does in fact move seamlessly from day to night (with a little accessorizing, always). The dress of transparent net highlighting trim that looks like the foundation garments is very Madonna-esque, ca. 1987, and the “cantilevered” heels are nearly identical to shoe styles I’ve seen all over the place in the past decade. The menswear look is of course spot on with the phone, the “radio” (a.k.a. i-Pod), and the slouchy leisure wear pioneered in the late 1980s by M.C. Hammer.
Speaking of uncanny futorian (the opposite of historian) skillz: I was reading the first chapter of Moby Dick last night, and came across this series of imagined headlines from the newspapers of 1851:
Grand Contested Election for the Presidency of the United States.
Whaling Voyage By One Ishmael.
BLOODY BATTLE IN AFGHANISTAN.
Of course, neither Herman Melville nor Ishmael were predicting a specific future with these headlines. Ishmael is here musing as to “why it was exactly that those stage managers, the Fates, put me down for this shabby part of a whaling voyage, when otherswere set down for magnificent parts in high tragedies, and short and easy parts in genteel comedies.” Still–it’s passing strange, ain’t it? Here’s something else that’s more than a bit strange: after publishing Moby Dick, Melville didn’t publish much of anything although he lived for forty more years! Yikes. All of you “stalled Associate Professors” should take comfort in that.