The Future is Now – A Digression on Cup Holders, Robots, and Star Wars

In the summer of 1989 I was in Denver, Colorado for a family reunion and on a Friday night all the kids went to see the new Batman movie at the local multiplex. Up to that point my entire movie going experience was limited to the Revere Cinema – the old Revere Cinema which was certainly a place with a good amount of “character” but not what you would call a high class joint. If you got a seat without a spring poking you in the ass then you were basking in the height of luxury.

Well this theater in Denver straight blew my ten year old mind. First it seemed to hold about two thousand people. The place was a goddamn cavern with endless rows of seats. The seats themselves were leather and I felt like I was sitting in my granddad’s La-Z-Boy. And there was a cup holder on EVERY SINGLE ARMREST. Coming from the Revere Cinema way of life with every other armrest having a cup holder this sent my tiny head spinning. I’ve seen a lot in my lifetime and the world has certainly changed immensely in the last 30+ years but of all the things I’ve experienced that moment of sitting in a leather seat with TWO cup holders still ranks right up there as the most mind melting, “People live like this” moment of my life. You want me to go back to watching Turner & Hootch in a broken chair in Revere after seeing Batman like this??????

The Lil’ Dogg and Mrs. Dogg closed out 2017 by going to see the new Stars Wars flick. It was our first trip out to the theater in a few years (one of the side effects of having kids that the Baby Books fail to mention is you won’t see a new movie when it’s still “new” for the next 3-5 years). We bought our tickets on an App where we could also pick out exactly which seats we wanted. At the the theater the ticket taker scanned our phones, every seat was a leather recliner and we basically sat in a secluded box section all to ourselves that even had a table next to my chair. Of course none of this is all that new to anyone who gets to leave the house regularly but it still feels alien when 95% of your movie going experiences took place back in the dark ages.

The film itself was fine. Watching a Star Wars movie as an adult is more an exercise in trying to recapture some nostalgic feeling that probably never really existed in the first place than just the act of enjoying the movie itself. My biggest take away was that life in the Star Wars World no longer seems appealing. I’d much rather live in 2018 Earth than whatever-year Tatooine. Ten year old Lil’ Dogg would have scoffed (he was a big scoffer) – of course Star Wars World is way cooler than real life.

But is it?

Here’s what you can do in Star Wars – you can travel to distant planets and see all sorts of amazing creatures. Well you can do those things if you are involved in the Intergalactic War. There’s seems to be only three levels of existence in Star Wars – Military, Royalty and peasant. The Middle Class doesn’t appear to exist. The only leisure activity we’ve ever seen is gambling and the only sport is various forms of racing. There’s no media, no Third Estate. No TV, no movies, not even News. There’s complex forms of government and an intergalactic arms industry but you can’t sit down at night and watch a sitcom or catch the ball game. You can get from planet to planet via spaceship but it seems like the only way to get a spaceship is to steal one. Fun but dangerous. And after 8 movies I’d say having The Force ain’t all its cracked up to be. Life in Star Wars World may be exciting but it certainly ain’t fun.

This morning I told a cylindrical piece of plastic to tell a robot to vacuum the floor. My kids have never seen a commercial because everything they watch is either on demand or pre-recorded. You can order up pretty much anything you want right from your phone. I can watch virtually any sporting event from around the world, any team, any game I want whenever I want. Ok so there’s no jet packs or hover boards but as a grouchy adult I think I’d argue those two items are not very practical anyways. We do have cars that drive and park themselves, the entire history of recorded music, TV and film pretty much available and (this one still amazes me) the ability to pause and rewind live TV. And there’s hundreds of more examples that pretty much all revolve around making life more fun.

The world ain’t perfect, far from it. There’s a lot of bad terrible stupid shit going on but I have to say I think after years and years of false promises we have finally finally reached The Future.

Happy New Year Hi-Top Nation. It’s 2018 and The Future is Now.

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