Humor Mags #6: Cracked Predicts Life in the 21st Century

The July 1983 issue of Cracked magazine contained an article titled "Life in the 21st Century". This piqued my interest - what would this humor magazine from 30 years ago say about the world I'm living in?  The article is woefully short - a mere three illustrated pages.  Still, beggars can't be choosers.  let's dive in!

Cracked kicks things off with a rather astute prediction: shopping will be done online.  I'd say they nailed it.

To be honest, I won't shed a tear when online shopping completely takes over.  When America still had thriving downtowns, it had character and it supported local store owners.  When downtown dried up, we at least had the mall.  Now those have largely been replaced by the outdoor shopping centers.  Who actually needs to drive to a Bed, Bath and Beyond or Banana Republic?

". pro athletes will have gotten everything they want."  Again.  Nailed it.

I totally get the argument that there's billions of dollars being fed into the professional sports machine - so why shouldn't the guys doing the work get a slice of the pie?  I'll tell you why - because it will ruin the game itself.  Everything decision that MLB or the NFL makes should be based on one question: will this be good or bad for the fans?

Overpaid athletes has resulted in stacked teams in baseball, fan resentment, increase ticket prices, and no team loyalty.  I'm not saying they should have to run a dry cleaning business on the side in order to make ends meet (like Yogi Berra did), but I do think we've long since crossed the line of common sense.

"...all the great rock groups will be coming out of retirement."  Bingo!

Ever since the music industry sold its soul to the devil, and fixated on autotuned melismatic hacks to sell CDs, rock music has quietly died out.  So, when a concert comes to town, who's selling out the coliseums? Well, the highest grossing tours for 2012 were Madonna, Springsteen, Roger Waters, Michael Jackson (even dead he beats any current artist), and Van Halen.  Interspersed here and there by current douche bags like Kanye West and 'who gives a f**k'.

"... highways will be completely free of traffic."  Sorry, Cracked.  Not even close.

I certainly never expected to the skies to be full of planes as in the illustration, but I would have liked there to be some innovation in mass transit.  We're basically still traveling in the vehicle as they did 60+ years ago - with only whistles and bells added.  They still kill more people than wars, are hideously expensive (gas, insurance, car payments, tickets, tags, repair, maintenance!), pollute the environment, and make us dependent on Middle Eastern countries that hate our guts.  Is it too much to ask to maybe try something new?

Thankfully, this hasn't come to pass....... yet.  These days all you hear about is acts of terrorism, we forget that all those nuclear weapons that scared the hell out of us as kids are still out there.  Just because the USSR is no more, doesn't mean we should be wiping our foreheads and proclaiming "that was a close one." And the sad fact is, more countries have nuclear capabilities than they did during the height of the atomic scare.... and we don't even have to get hit to get screwed.  Once Pakistan and India start bombing the shit out of each other, we all get the benefits of a nice, crisp Nuclear Winter.

Way to end on a positive note, eh?


  1. In my schooldays "Cracked" was the Hydrox cookie of humor mags. And you knew who the Oreo was...

    1. I like the comparison of Oreo to Hydrox (mine was a Hydrox house, literally. My parents said Oreos were too expensive). But if that's the case, what was Crazy?

    2. Well put K Penche. How true.

  2. AnonymousJuly 31, 2013

    Is that Natalie Wood writing "HELP" on the chalkboard in the last photo? What movie is that?

  3. Oh man, I about died with the rock band panel! I'm sure he thought he was joking when he wrote that.

  4. AnonymousJuly 31, 2013

    Sorry man,I still need to see and feel the stuff I buy sometimes.No matter how many questions you ask,or how many different picture views you look at,it's still easy to get ripped off online by the old bait & switch.

  5. In the summer of 1980, at age 15, I listened to a 1979 "radio special" that featured Michael Nesmith (of the Monkees) predicting that we'd soon be getting everything via home computer. Directions to a friend's house. Food. Goods.

    It seemed like BUCK ROGERS then. I imagined pneumatic tubes hooked to each home...

    I also just got back from seeing the Monkees (with Nesmith) live.

    See how I tied in two of the above features?

    Al Bigley

  6. "When downtown dried up, we at least had the mall. Now those have largely been replaced by the outdoor shopping centers."

    I thought it was the other way around. When I was growing up in the 60s and 70s we had what were called "shopping centers". These were outdoor compounds, sometimes with walkways, benches, etc on the outside, and a series of freestanding stores. It was later that the indoor "mall", with all the stores under one roof, food courts, etc came along. I think of malls as almost more of an 80s phenomenon. That's when one started to hear of "kids hanging out at the mall".

    Or you may be referring to the large outdoor areas that now house gigantic box stores like Walmart or Costco. We didn't have those back then.

    1. Everywhere I go from Montana to Miami, there's the strip malls on steroids. They all have an electronics superstore (Best Buy, Circuit City), a sporting goods store, an office supply store, a Barnes and Noble, a Bed Bath and Beyond, and a clothing store. Usually there's a Target attached.

      The indoor shopping mall is on the endangered species list. There's always been outdoor strip malls, but they've made a comeback as the alternative to Wal Mart. Meanwhile, most downtowns remain ghost towns. Many have been restored, but never to the level of their former glory.

  7. Who would have thought that the 1983 issue of Cracked magazine would be so on the mark with things? We may not be flying everywhere yet or leaving the cars at home yet. But we may be at that point one day. They did nail the online shopping idea, it is a great idea to save yourself some time and shop online.

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  8. The image of the destroyed town looks a lot like Detroit.