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Jack Smith

The world in 2007? He's no Nostradamus, but he's willing to give it a shot anyway

October 22, 1986|Jack Smith

I have been invited by Jerry Biederman, its editor, to write a column for "The Future Times," a book of articles to be written by contemporary journalists as if they were written two decades from now--in 2007.

Biederman says he has also invited such stars as Jimmy Breslin, Ellen Goodman, Liz Smith, Garry Trudeau, Abigail Van Buren, George F. Will and Bob Woodward to contribute.

That would put me in very fast company indeed.

My problem in debating whether to accept this flattering invitation is that I cannot see into the future, and I doubt than anyone else can.

I haven't the slightest idea whether it will rain tomorrow, or whether I will live through the day.

To pretend that I can foresee the world of 2007, even my small corner of it, is folly.

But just for fun, let me take a shot at it:

That I am still alive today, in 2007, and writing a column, is a medical as well as a journalistic miracle.

However, such longevity is not unknown. Alan Cranston is still alive and serving in the U.S. Senate.

Ronald Reagan, at 95, has retired to his ranch in Santa Barbara County, and has been deified by the government, which is now a theocracy.

The nuclear confrontation is over. President Reagan's Strategic Defense Initiative was perfected in 1996. Just for fun, the Russians tested it, and we had to wipe them out. The Soviet Union is now a wasteland; entrance from the Free World is forbidden.

The remaining world is now protected by our nuclear umbrella. Through its hold on the President, Mother Alice Throttlebottom, the American Moral Majority controls all thought.

Sex is against the law, except on certain days of the month, and for the purpose of procreation only. Every bedroom is patrolled by a TV monitor, linked directly with the Department of Sex Control, and no funny business is allowed.

The automobile has been outlawed. We ran out of fossil fuel in 2001.

In Los Angeles everyone takes the subway. The freeways still exist, but they are used only by bicyclists and for religious marches. The freeways are protected as historical monuments and works of 20th-Century art by a cultural group called Save All Freeways Eternally (SAFE).

For the majority, English is a second language. The leading newspaper is published in eight languages.

Because of the economic disaster of 1998, the skyscrapers of downtown Los Angeles have been abandoned by the financial corporations. They are occupied by the homeless, who have become the city's most volatile minority group and an important political force. City councilmanic districts were realigned to make downtown a part of the West Valley district.

All books and periodicals are censored by the Department of Pure Thought. Obscenity has been defined by the Supreme Court as anything that offends the government.

Nudity and love making are not allowed in motion pictures. The old motion picture code of the 1930s has been reinstated. It is unlawful to show a married couple in bed unless they are fully clothed.

It is against the law to perform rock music in public. Thanks in part to the excesses of its fans at concerts, rock fell into disfavor in the early 1990s and is now regarded as decadent. It is not banned from radio, however, because of Ronald Reagan's nostalgic taste for the Beatles.

Creationism is the official explanation of mankind's appearance on Earth. Darwinism and all theories of evolution are banned from the schools. All textbooks on biology and anthropology have been revised to promulgate creationism.

Disneyland is the only public amusement allowed. It is run by the Army. Football and baseball were banned in 1995 when the crowds began to turn so violent and bestial that every game ended in a bloody riot.

At the time baseball vanished into the history books, the Angels had not yet won a pennant. Gene Autry, unlike Sen. Cranston and myself, has gone on to that great pasture in the sky.

The central Los Angeles Library, rebuilt in 1994 after the disastrous fire of 1986, was burned down again in 1997. All its books were destroyed, and the city is at present without an important collection. Many of the books remaining in the branch libraries have been confiscated and transferred to the National Library of Proscribed Literature in Toledo, Ohio. The collection is available only to researchers cleared by the government. (After the Soviets wiped out Washington, D.C., in their misadventure of 1996, the central government was moved to Toledo.)

As the President said the other night on her regular Monday night television chat--which has replaced Monday night football--"Why do we need books when we have the Office of Disinformation?"

Nicaragua, Libya and Syria no longer exist. I am not allowed to say why.

Otherwise, it isn't a bad world.

Our mayor, Rosalita Gomez, is a strong protector of minorities, and it is her we can thank that our STOP signs read STOP as well as ALTO.

My granddaughter, Alison, made a sensational debut with the Music Center Opera Company the other night as Salome. How she danced!

She was arrested the next day on charges of giving an indecent performance.

My wife went down to the lower yard the other day to plant some African violets and I haven't seen her since.

Maybe I ought to call 911.

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