Tag Archives: the future

The superintendent’s writing awards, Adam Ostrow, and me

I’m at my parents’ house, looking through Adventures in Writing, a collection of winners of the 1987 Superintendent’s Writing Awards from the Montgomery County Public Schools. My 10th grade self is represented here by a very earnest essay on The Glass Menagerie (big finish: “Either way, the contrast provides an effective comment on society.”)

I flipped through the table of contents hoping to find famous writers of today; the biggest name I came across was Adam Ostrow, now editor-in-chief of Mashable, then a sophomore at Gaithersburg High School. His story, “Insignificance in the Two Thousand Nineties,” does a pretty good job with the future — his late 21st century teen views images of new clothes on his computer and pays for them via direct deduction from his bank account. When he needs to arrange some travel, he “telecomms” to make a plane and hotel reservation. Count against Ostrow that the reservation is from Pan Am. And it’s to the moon.

Best line in this story: “Just then a robot came in with what was to be his lunch.”

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Reader survey: which of your beliefs will your descendants vehemently reject?

The other day the New York Times ran a selection of 1968 poll data on the op/ed page.  In April of that year, 31% of Americans agreed that “Martin Luther King, Jr. brought his assassination on himself.”

This makes me wonder which beliefs, currently held by 30% or more of the U.S. population, will be universally considered absurd or even despicable by Americans of 2048.  So, readers — nominate such beliefs in the comments.  But to make it interesting, the belief has to be one which you presently hold.

Here’s mine:  “People should strive to keep the details of their personal lives from becoming publicly available.”

(For more antique polling nuggets, see my previous post on Public Opinion 1935-1946.)

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