It’s 2020 and you’re in the future

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West Germany’s 1974 World Cup victory happened closer to the first World Cup in 1930 than to today.

The Wonder Years aired from 1988 and 1993 and depicted the years between 1968 and 1973. When I watched the show, it felt like it was set in a time long ago. If a new Wonder Years premiered today, it would cover the years between 2000 and 2005.

Also, remember when Jurassic Park, The Lion King, and Forrest Gump came out in theaters? Closer to the moon landing than today.

These things come around now and again, but I’m not sure of the universal validity of observing that a memorable event is now closer to another memorable event than it is to the present day. I don’t think that the relevance of events is as linear as that. Instead, perhaps, it looks something like this:

Graph showing that recent events matter a lot, but rapidly tail off for a while before levelling out again as they become long-ago events.
Recent events matter more than ancient events to the popular consciousness, all other things being equal, but relative to one another the ancient ones are less-relevant and there’s a steep drop-off somewhere between the two.

Where the drop-off in relevance occurs is hard to pinpoint and it probably varies a lot by the type of event that’s being remembered: nobody seems to care about what damn terrible thing Trump did last month or the month before when there’s some new terrible thing he did just this morning, for example (I haven’t looked at the news yet this morning, but honestly whenever you read this post he’ll probably have done something awful).

Nonetheless, this post on Wait But Why was a fun distraction, even if it’s been done before. Maybe the last time it happened was so long ago it’s irrelevant now?

XKCD 1393: Timeghost - 'Hello, Ghostbusters?' 'ooOOoooo people born years after that movie came out are having a second chiiiild right now ooOoooOoo'
Of course, there’s a relevant XKCD. And it was published closer to the theatrical releases of Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs and Paranormal Activity than it was to today. OoooOOoooOOoh.

Satisfied

I saw XKCD #584 – “Unsatisfied” – this morning. In the comic (in a slightly Sliding Doors way), a man chooses between one of two lovers, and spends the rest of his life thinking about the other one in a “what if” kind-of way, leaving him ultimately unsatisfied with his life, regardless of which he chooses.

Go read the comic if you haven’t yet.

I had a slightly smug moment, and ‘shopped this together:

An XKCD Moment

As a song came on the radio (well, Club 977 – The 80s Channel), Ruth laughed. “What?” I asked.

“This song just reminded me of a webcomic I read today about song mash-ups,” she replied.

“Oh yeah. I read that one. Which webcomic was it?”

“I don’t remember.”

It was only when we started thinking in terms of Venn diagrams that we realised which webcomic we’d seen this particular joke in.

It was XKCD #575. By the time we were finding set intersections, we should have guessed that it would have been XKCD.

In other news, my leg is still sore, but people keep giving me cake, so that’s good. I went back to work today, on my crutches, and it was completely exhausting. On the other hand, it’s probably giving my arms some good exercise, which might just make up for not going to circuit training this week (I’ve been forbidden from doing so on account of my injuries, despite my protests that I’d be perfectly capable of doing shuttle runs and squats and exercise bikes like this, right?).