Ask A Genius 593: Books, the Future, Futurism, and an Old Blanket

In-Sight Publishing

May 22, 2021

[Beginning of recorded material]

Rick Rosner: So old school science, science fiction from the golden age, at least what we think about it, my prime example is a little bit post-golden age. I’m talking about original Star Trek. But anyway, science fiction like that totally misses the foolishness of the future.

Right now, we live in what was the future to the golden age of science fiction. People writing science fiction in the 1930s, 40s, 50s. Believe that, 2021 fairly science fictional world that it would be familiar in some way.

With largely, the same human bodies and human wants. Some of those golden age writers wrote about altered humans of the future. But now, 2021 was, maybe, too soon for that. But 2021 is a scene from 1950. People are still doing human stuff. But we’ve all got all sorts of science fiction shit to deal with.

We might be taking ourselves to Mars and the moon and the other moons and planets of the Solar System. We might have orbiting structures in space. We’d have some of the computational devices.

Ray Bradbury in his short stories imagines and, I think, Fahrenheit 451 imagined an end to reading, and it’s being replaced with just full on entertainment walls. But Bradbury didn’t picture the entertainment of most of the people.

Maybe, I’m just not remembering Fahrenheit 451 in enough detail. But I don’t remember Fahrenheit 451 presenting a lot of foolishness. That, even though, the people of the future are being stupid by entertainment, we don’t get to see any of the entertainment.

It’s a deadly serious book about the end of books. The science fiction golden age has a certain seriousness that leaves out the foolishness that we’re living in now. We’re surrounded by high tech.

We use it to an extent that the golden age science fiction probably hinted at, but missed the extent that we are surrounded by powerful computational technology. But they knew it was coming and they fell short of how powerful it is pervasive.

But what they really missed is just the goofy crap that is spit out by our stuff. It’s not until the science fiction of some of the 60s and 70s that you start seeing foolishness sneak in. But really not with old school like Star Trek. The original series is very spare.

The sets are spare. There’s no advertising anywhere. The original Star Trek looks cheap and uncluttered and everybody’s upstanding. It’s the USS Enterprise, which is exploring. Its mission is to discover new stuff. It’s altruistic. It’s not market driven.

Everybody except for the bad guys, you have to be confronted in most episodes. Everybody’s pulling in the same altruistic direction. Logic itself is personified by the second in command, Spock. I’ve always found Star Trek annoying because it’s so clean.

Then it’s not really until Blade Runner that you get a fairly thoroughly rendered dirty future. It’s rainy, it’s overpopulated, and everything’s scummy. I mean, there’s been scummy stuff in the future before, but it’s still stripped down like brave new world, is under populated by foolishness and sleaze. the brave new world is about people being genetically designed to serve the various roles in society from menial work to executive level and how shitty that is.

It’s a critique of that system. At the same time, it leaves out the nobody until the 60s and then only a little bit, nobody anticipated that we would live in a world of pervasive porn, a billion pages of porn available on everybody’s personal device.

So, we could talk about why old school science fiction missed the superficial, the sleazy, the circusy aspect of the future and why the future is sleazy and circusy. one reason the future is sleazy and circusy is information analytics, analysis explores every aspect.

That’s a good thing about information, the human drive for information. You could even say the capitalism of information, the commoditization of information, the looking the striving to find a new area of information to stake your claim on it.

I’ve been listening to Carole who has satellite radio. There are like five or six comedy channels. So, I’ve been listening to those. a good comedy routine is like an SAT reading comprehension section. You haven’t taken the SAT, have you?

Scott Douglas Jacobsen: No.

Rosner: For most Americans, they know the SAT reading comp section, which is just a short passage, maybe five hundred words. You analyze it. You get half a dozen questions after this short passage about what it’s about, what the thesis is, what its supporting arguments are, ‘the author would most likely agree with which of these statements.’

It’s just taking a piece of writing and seeing your ability to understand and analyze. It’s usually a piece of nonfiction. It’s usually a short passage, either explaining an event or a scientific phenomenon or a sociological phenomenon.

It’s usually making an argument saying this is this is the right way to think about something. This as opposed to its just being able to understand the written argument. A good standup routine does the same thing as a short essay that you might be trying to analyze on the S.A.T.

It has a thesis statement with the most cliched one being, “What’s up? Why is airline food so shitty?” That’s the biggest cliche in standup comedy. So, that’s your thesis statement, airplane food shitty. Then you have examples.

Then I have some other stuff you might see in an essay, like counterexample. It doesn’t have to be this way. On Virgin Airways, they serve… whatever. But it’s a little self-contained bit of a novel analysis. Find an angle on the world, other people haven’t explored adequately.

But that will be immediately familiar and analyze it, lay it out, people will laugh because it being noted as new. But it’s also familiar because people have experienced it. So, stand up is to some extent the business of finding new relatable observations about the world, about making new relatable observations and what we’ve seen now on NBC Prime Time.

On prime time US TV, they will make jokes about butt sex. They’ll make jokes about blowjobs, handjobs. They won’t explicitly say handjob or blowjob, but sitcoms will make jokes about kinds of sex that people didn’t talk about before the 70s.

Now, we have a gazillion channels. I think there are something like 800 scripted TV series on U.S. TV. So, people are making entertainment. They are desperate to find new things to analyze. This includes the whole realm of things that are taboo that used to be taboo.

In fact, those things are more valuable to analyze, as seen by the success of a comedy that analyzes these things because the information is more hidden – because it’s taboo. But the basic principle is that with humans; basically, we make our living off of information.

We find, we look, for regularities in the world that we can exploit. Regularities in the world are information. Chaos doesn’t contain information, regularities contain information. So, information is going to colonize everything. We’re going to analyze everything.

We’re going to bring it to light, even, and especially, the goofy stuff, because there are advantages to be had in doing that. There are livings to be made and just information is going to go everywhere.

It’s the Minority World that’s annoyingly packed with personalized advertisements wherever you go in public. You’ve seen Minority Report, right?

Jacobsen: Way back in the day.

Rosner: All right. So, Tom Cruise is walking through like some public space. He’s just being harassed by personalized holograms directed at him. So, information is just going to proliferate like that expanding foam insulation.

That leaves the question as to why 1950s science fiction missed it. It could be because we were just coming off of being the good guys in a war that we won against truly bad guys using technology.

You could guess that there was a pervasive optimism that technology would lead to good and good values and that good would proliferate. We’ve talked about goodness and order that we perceive as good things that preserve order.

We want to live in a world that allows us not to be killed at random. So, the 50s was an era of believing in the good, believing that the good would prevail. And also believing that the good, it was a very narrow view of good.

They didn’t admit to the perversity that we now accept and embrace. Because the narrow 50s, there was only room for so much exploration within the narrow confines; that left out a more perverse, bigger world that was eventually going to be exploited for entertainment and for information. Did that hang together? Was that a coherent argument?

Jacobsen: I would say you bought a blanket that’s a little old.

Rosner: What?

Jacobsen: I said you bought a blanket that’s a little old. The thread is still there though.

Rosner: OK.

[End of recorded material]


Rick Rosner

American Television Writer


(Updated July 25, 2019)

*High range testing (HRT) should be taken with honest skepticism grounded in the limited empirical development of the field at present, even in spite of honest and sincere efforts. If a higher general intelligence score, then the greater the variability in, and margin of error in, the general intelligence scores because of the greater rarity in the population.*

According to some semi-reputable sources gathered in a listing hereRick G. Rosner may have among America’s, North America’s, and the world’s highest measured IQs at or above 190 (S.D. 15)/196 (S.D. 16) based on several high range test performances created by Christopher HardingJason BettsPaul Cooijmans, and Ronald Hoeflin. He earned 12 years of college credit in less than a year and graduated with the equivalent of 8 majors. He has received 8 Writers Guild Awards and Emmy nominations, and was titled 2013 North American Genius of the Year by The World Genius Directory with the main “Genius” listing here.

He has written for Remote ControlCrank YankersThe Man ShowThe EmmysThe Grammys, and Jimmy Kimmel Live!. He worked as a bouncer, a nude art model, a roller-skating waiter, and a stripper. In a television commercialDomino’s Pizza named him the “World’s Smartest Man.” The commercial was taken off the air after Subway sandwiches issued a cease-and-desist. He was named “Best Bouncer” in the Denver Area, Colorado, by Westwood Magazine.

Rosner spent much of the late Disco Era as an undercover high school student. In addition, he spent 25 years as a bar bouncer and American fake ID-catcher, and 25+ years as a stripper, and nearly 30 years as a writer for more than 2,500 hours of network television. Errol Morris featured Rosner in the interview series entitled First Person, where some of this history was covered by Morris. He came in second, or lost, on Jeopardy!, sued Who Wants to Be a Millionaire? over a flawed question and lost the lawsuit. He won one game and lost one game on Are You Smarter Than a Drunk Person? (He was drunk). Finally, he spent 37+ years working on a time-invariant variation of the Big Bang Theory.

Currently, Rosner sits tweeting in a bathrobe (winter) or a towel (summer). He lives in Los AngelesCalifornia with his wife, dog, and goldfish. He and his wife have a daughter. You can send him money or questions at LanceVersusRick@Gmail.Com, or a direct message via Twitter, or find him on LinkedIn, or see him on YouTube.

Scott Douglas Jacobsen

Founder, In-Sight Publishing


In-Sight Publishing

Scott Douglas Jacobsen is the Founder of In-Sight Publishing and Editor-in-Chief of In-Sight: Independent Interview-Based Journal (ISSN 2369-6885). Jacobsen works for science and human rights, especially women’s and children’s rights. He considers the modern scientific and technological world the foundation for the provision of the basics of human life throughout the world and the advancement of human rights as the universal movement among peoples everywhere.


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License and Copyright


In-Sight Publishing by Scott Douglas Jacobsen is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International License. Based on a work at and


© Scott Douglas Jacobsen, Rick Rosner, and In-Sight Publishing 2012-2020. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this site’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Scott Douglas Jacobsen, Rick Rosner, and In-Sight Publishing with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

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