At the time Chaplin made "The Great Dictator" the full extent of the Nazi horror was years away from public knowledge, and Chaplin said later that, had he known, he would not have made the film. But it stands as a contemplation on dictators, not just the little weasel who stole the mustache look. And the speech at the end, the innocent barber disguised as the Great Dictator, pleading for peace, love, and understanding, is a timeless speech, perhaps as memorable as anything in Henry V, moreso because we have the hindsight to understand the deep horror that he was unintentionally, but poignantly, revealing to his audience. He still does, for those who will listen.
List: Normal Clothes, Explained
If you get the vaccine or finally dress up for a Zoom
- by Walt Maguire, February 18, 2021
A “button-down” shirt was designed to be worn over a t-shirt, in place of a hoodie or bathrobe. Ironically, people had less time to dress back then, yet needed to button all those buttons; most people only unbuttoned a few at the top and pulled the thing on like a t-shirt or hoodie.
Cosplay points us toward a new direction. Baseball or Star Trek uniforms are stylish, dressy, and basically track suits without being track suits, which means they are also not pajamas. This future is probably where Star Trek got the idea.
Read at Points in Case
James Burke did Connections, Connections II, and The Day the Universe Changed. All about how we got from there to here. It's very 70s slow -- almost what we now call Slow TV -- and at this point, some of this is beside the point, but still worth a view.
This short McGraw-Hill film from 1967 gets most of the technology right and some of the design details wrong, but it's remarkably accurate about 21st century homes. Surprisingly, where it's off the mark is 21st century economics. Even though the 2020 pandemic field-tested many longstanding ideas about working and learning from home, many of the economic concepts about health insurance and working conditions are still far distant future concepts in 2021.
Something it gets half-right: the kitchen. Between modern appliances (the microwave, the smart crockpot) and mail-order meal ingredients (Blue Apron, Hello Fresh), the Kitchen of the Future is here now, but we've dropped the idea of incinerating our dishes at the end of every meal and re-molding the plastic. We can't even recycle milk cartons properly. And imagine the smell and particulates.
The interesting thing is an interview with an industrial designer; after a tour of the glamorous new world of robotic cooking, they cut to a distinguished older man who designed this smart kitchen. "I think people will continue to make food the old-fashioned way," he says sheepishly. "Because they enjoy doing it."
One other oddity: In every 60s conception of the home of the future, from this to Disney to the Jetsons, living room ceilings are always at least 20-feet high, even in apartments.