Lobsters Stuffed With Tacos

A Hero's Journey Through Science Fiction

If You Dream It, They’ll Come and Get You

If you have any sense of art history and a twinge for science fiction, you’ll see in this 1940s advertisement from the Bohn Aluminum and Brass Corporation a distinct design that was widely popular throughout the 1930s and 40s. Art deco reflected a cultural grandeur, an advancement from a savage soot-faced industrial age into a type of H.R. Giger erotic mechanization. Herein technology embraced a new self-aware expression that placed our mark upon the earth in an aesthetic style.

Gas mileage? Oh, don’t ask.

For a gander at this eye-candy of pomposity (like my aforementioned sentence), click on the picture and it’ll take you to Ubersuper.com for a collection of these advertisements. While this pictorial is a vision of a future that never happened, I am fascinated at how this optimism exploded into macro levels of architecture and design. Like Napoleon who placed the crown on his own head, through these and similar imaginations of the 1930s and 40s, we placed our ballooning sense of worth alongside the Olympus Gods in the designs of our Hoover Dams and our Empire State Buildings.

I can’t help remembering a cautionary tale by Stephen Vincent Benet. In his 1937 short story “By the Waters of Babylon” he wrote of a young warrior, John son of John, who discovers–ala Planet of the Apes–that the revered and feared City of the Gods is in fact the mere crumbled remains a city of technologically advanced men with electrical appliances, books, flying machines and tall buildings that scraped the sky. As for the city that once was…it’s New York!  Betcha didn’t see that comin’.
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