Visiting “The Future” at the New York World’s Fair, 1964-1965,
while in 1960′s clothes.
When I was a kid, we looked to the future through a TV cartoon time warp called “The Jetsons.” Then, while we watched futuristic “programming” on TV, our parents were also being instructed by mass media that the future would bring better living to us all. We were told daily that the progress to take us blindly into the future would be better, much better than anything in the present. It was inferred that we should just trust whomever was bringing this to pass. And so, when the biggest international event of the decade occurred, the 1964-65 World’s Fair in New York City, we knew we were on the cusp of a wave that would carry us aloft to glorious destinies. We didn’t know where we were heading, but we knew we were getting there fast, and that it was going to be better, right?
Bell Telephone Pavillion: New York World’s Fair 1964-1965.
“Peace through Understanding” Moving chairs carry the Fairgoer
past animated exhibits tracing the history of communications.
Anyone may try out “picture phones” -phones equipped with TV
devices showing the person on the other end.
Bigger was better. Faster was better. More, stronger, cheaper was better. New and improved? Well, of course THAT was better. The words new and improved must mean something was really NEW and IMPROVED. It therefore must be better. The box said so, just as the TV had. Who could argue that the product wasn’t actually new and improved? And since the new and improved product was now and the old has-been product was then, this product in the present HAD to be better…but nothing compared to what it would be in the future!
The New York World’s Fair 1964-1965
And so, whirling in this vortex of progress, spiraling upwards, or so we thought, we became very impressionable to the idea that new was better and old served no purpose. Like modern lemmings, we followed the promises of the TV box that guided us through every day to “improve” our otherwise primitive lives. And so, our societal common sense undermined, we believed like children that modern was good and old fashioned was not only outdated, but bad. For example, I can remember visiting my mother’s family home where her cousin had “modernized” and replaced “all of those silly old, dark, heavy walnut doors and matching woodwork” hoping to bring a Federal Period house into the 20th century.
And here are people in 1965, trying their best to be
“Futuristic” with a lamp pole, sunburst wall clock and
“modern art” man-made fiber curtains.
And as fast was better, convenience overcame tried and true. I can remember my mother laughing, as she opened a loaf of spongy white Wonderbread, that Mrs. So-and-so made bread for her family every week. Nobody we knew had ever made bread. And then we went through all of elementary school, junior and senior high school with the same group of kids year, in and year out. We knew everything about everybody. Trust me, no one baked bread, no one, except Mrs. So-and-so. Buying convenience foods, opening cans, heating up frozen food, using cake mixes: no one we knew had mothers that did anything much more than that. On occasion, cookies might be made from scratch, but NEVER a cake.
Convenience and taste, not nutrition, were the selling points.
H-m-m-m. Wonder what chemicals were used to replicate the eggs?
According to the Joy of Baking: “Eggs play a major role in cake
baking. Eggs add aeration to the batter, provide structure to
the cake, help bind the ingredients together, keep the cake moist
and add flavor and tenderness.”
Eggs sound important to a cake! What did they use instead?
The modern housewife was told by mass media advertising that convenience was the way of the future and the less done the better. It was the futuristic way to do things for those in the know. The whole concept of eating to nurture the body while promoting wellness was not considered. Nutritional content was not considered. The only things that seemed important were taste and convenience. And if that taste were stimulated by a chemical cocktail, no one seemed to mind or notice.
This hash commercial is odd for a number of reasons. You’ll see
that as long as women were invisible and could open a can of
hash, things were fine.
But, how did the woman and the hash feel about it?
And how nutritious was that dinner of canned hash and eggs?
Little by little, convenience foods became fast foods. It wasn’t that long before men, women and families began eating out more and more. In addition, as people ate out more often, cost became a concern and restaurants offering good “home cooking” were expensive compared to McDonald’s “four course meal with change from a dollar.” We were detached from the concept that what we ate physically became our bodies and minds. In fact, I can’t remember chemical additives or preservatives ever being commonly discussed. Maybe there was mention of nitrates and nitrites in hot dogs once in a while, but overall we ate without self awareness.
Now I understand that nutrient dense food is not only medicine, but provides the foundations for living. That’s why “The Jetson’s” putting a pill in a wall unit that looks prognostic of microwave ovens, closing the door and pushing a button to conveniently produce a plate full of food seems out of date. The concept is old fashioned, from when that was considered “modern” and is comically passe. People now know wholesome, unadulterated slow foodstuffs are truly the building blocks of life. Therefore, any quaint desire for convenience, at the expense of nutrition and wellness, has thankfully gone the way of the TV dinner.