Friday, January 18, 2008

Flying Cars

Why is it that every time someone says "in twenty years we'll have flying cars" they're fucking wrong? I don't get it. We've been talking about flying cars for like 100 years, but we still don't have them. We have planes. We have cars. What's the problem? Scientists have even bred Napoleon Dynamite's favorite animal, a liger, but somehow, they can't put wings on a car.

This clip, from the 1958 Disneyland episode "Magic Highway USA", explores the future of the American highway system. It turns out, in the last 50 years, we've done exactly nothing to make our highways cooler--no automated vehicles, no color coded lanes, no car escalators, no cargo rockets--nothing! What the hell is going on here?

The two biggest highway innovations since 1958 are probably E-ZPass and those little ridges on the side of the road that make your whole car shake like an F5 earthquake when you drift over them. And guess what, highways still look like this:

Thanks, E-ZPass. Way to put the "boo" in tollbooth. This is why we need flying cars; there would be no traffic. Sure, we'd have the occasional mid-air collision, and shards of debris falling from the sky... but we'd get used to it.

There's one thing that I will never get used to, though: lies. In 2005, 60 Minutes ran a story called "Flying Cars Ready To Take Off". But it might as well have been called "Fuck you, America!" because I haven't seen a car in the sky. Ever.

In fact, the newest car making headlines is the Tata Nano, which is so far from a flying car it makes me want to gouge my eyes out with a rusty ice-cream scoop. This thing makes minivans look cool. In fact, it's basically just a MINI-minivan, which goes to show, we'll never make a flying car. If making a minivan more mini is the best thing to happen to cars this year, then I'm afraid the closest we'll ever get to flying cars is The Jetsons--which reminds me, we could use some robotic maids, too.


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