Futuristicalationary!

April 22

All future all the time this week here at TolesBlog Command Center. If only you could see me here at the Massive Control Panel wearing my metal hat with the blinking lights. THEN you’d have more respect for my insights and wisdom! I even have a few cool retro tech features here like the big wheel with a handle I can spin and some chain things that come down from the ceiling and smoke and spark showers. No need for technology to be dull!

And again today we feature the recent scientific experiment that proves that as we move ever further into the future, Americans get less coherent in direct ratio.

Today the question the survey asks is “If there was one futuristic invention that you could own, what would it be?” Note the question puts the future in the past tense (“was”) and simultaneously neglects the proper subjunctive. (“were”). But the strangely worded question is a nice warm-up to the crazy answers. We want: time machines, flying cars and flying bikes, personal space craft, self-driving cars, and teleporters. This list is notable for the fact that they are all either impossible or close to it, except one! Robot cars! And that one isn’t even futuristic! They’re here! And I want to talk about them some more! Let me pause to spin this big metal wheel and release a shower of sparks down on my metal hat! Pzphazzzzptptatttz!

I brush the sparks out of my smoldering beard. The article explores some of the issues related to robot cars, but presents them as more fretful than necessary. Robot cars are merely one more step in the unwinding of America’s Car Culture, which crested a few years ago and is already recedeing. Why is it receding? I can answer that. Because cars originally were used to go somewhere. Then one day we looked out our windshields at the auto-friendly suburban highway mall-sprawl and noticed that it was not merely bleak, but out-and-out horrifying. In our quest to get somewhere, we had destroyed everywhere. We are beginning to fix that. And that is the future.

Tom Toles is the editorial cartoonist for The Post and writes the Tom Toles blog.
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Tom Toles · April 21