No school again tomorrow. Hmph. Something about it being 20 below again. When you factor in the wind chill - and let’s not have that debate again; it’s tiresome - it’s something like 35 or 40 below, but that’s only in the wee AM.
Daughter is ecstatic: she can stay up late and play the ukulele!
Busy night, but lots of stuff: the first of the Route 66 Sheraton Hotel grabs is up, as well as Restaurant Interiors. But first:
When daughter came home from school we sat on the SLAB (Supine Leisure Afterschool Bench) and played an iPhone game that tests your brainwashed corporate-culture IQ: name this icon or logo! I love it, of course, even though I’m sure some dreary soul thinks it’s a sign of how we have abandoned our senses and perceive the world through the lens of commodity and commerce, etc etc. Look: just because I recognize the Play-Doh logo doesn’t mean I think they should move all production to Bangladesh and pay people .03 per hour. It means I am a human being, a member of a species whose brain has evolved to associate shapes and colors with specific incorporeal entities and commercial enterprises. Okay? Thanks.
You play against people in other places, which is a normal part of her world: oh, I’m going up against someone in Brazil. What I noted was the sound the game made in the background:
It's actually three sounds.
Ignore the lower-sounding buzz and the clacking relays. It's the beep. Just about everyone knows the origin.
She’s one of the most popular characters from a half-century old cartoon, and had more personality than any of the “good” characters. I mean, no one loves Elroy. No one cares about Jane. Stumpy ranting boss: memorable. Hapless-but-decent George: identifiable, amusing. Rosie was an older archetype: the sassy maid. They lifted her from Hazel, I’m sure; she called George “Mr. J,” just as Hazel called her employer “Mr. B.” But we’re not talking literature here. This is something for kids.
But. That sound, and all the other Jetson beeps: they’re rooted in the brains of millions of boomers, whether they know it or not. So people are protective of her, it seems: over at Cartoon Brew Amid lays into the ads as another needless resurrection of a 2D animation character, tying it to a misbegotten Charlie the Tuna ad.
Well, I think the ads are charming - and as it turns out, there’s social significance behind then. Really: the director of the spots popped up in the comments.
The story is less about Rosie or The Jetsons and more about the social revolution happening right now in Brazil. A year ago, a constitutional amendment, which extended the country domestic workers’ rights, was approved by the Parliament, causing middle class to increase participation in performing the household tasks themselves, just like it happens at more developed countries.
That’s fascinating. A change in the laws means cheap servants aren’t cheap anymore - that’s how I read the results, anyway. So you have less employment for the poor, perhaps because it’s more difficult to efficiently exploit them, and more participation in household chores means the creation (or expansion) of the market for home cleaning products for the middle class. And Rosie makes the sale.
As for reviving Rosie in CGI form, I think it's delightful - and a great argument for robots that don't look like people. They'd be easier to love.
Today: the wonders of Alsynite! You know:
There’s something about that picture that might speak to you in some way you can’t quite define, no? Nostalgia for something imagined, the peak before the fall, the apogee of the post-war era before the unrest and unraveling. Sure, the chairs tipped over, especially on the carpet, and the cabinet was probably covered with laminated wood that peeled off and the “Stereo” played scratchy records and you had to take the dust off the needle, to say nothing of remembering to pick up a new one at Woolworth’s, but isn’t there something grown up and solid and sophisticated, in that early-60s sense? Hats and skirts and the New Frontier?
The ad is one thing; elsewhere in the magazine there’s stories like FALLOUT AND YOU, or other cheery reminders that Fail-Safe dread laid over daily life like a gossamer caul. You never knew and you always expected. But all those things get boiled off by time, and we’re left with the stage sets for plays we imagine were wonderful and witty and smart.
Anyway, Alysnite. We had some at the old house.
I never knew it had a name. This picture below was just the arrangement we had - corrugated sheets over a wood frame. It admitted the light but gave it a faint diffusion, providing both illumination and shade. I loved it.
After the rain on a California day. Looks like a small heaven we forgot to pay the rent on, and they changed the locks. But if you went inside the house you’d find a million things wrong and another million things missing. But imagine if you could go back, the things you could tell them. Yes, I know, four TV channels. Believe or not, some of those shows people will still watch in the 21st century. What do I miss about my century’s TV? Well, here in 1962 I can’t take out my pocket computer and program my satellite to record a show coming up next week. I have to sit here and watch it. For starters.
Updates on the right - restaurant interiors! Also, DON'T MISS THIS. The revised Sheraton site at the Minneapolis Modern site, with lots of screengrabs from that 1963 Route 66 episode shot at the hotel. Much fun. See you around.