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I Thought We'd Have Flying Slaves By Now

When I pictured the future back in the 18th century, I have to admit this isn't quite what I had in mind. Sure, there have been tons of impressive technological advancements, but I always thought that by the year 2012 everyone would eat their meals in pill form, there would be moving sidewalks, and one would be able to look up at the sky and see an interstellar highway system full of flying slaves zipping around on jet packs.

True, the Internet and smart phones alone are amazing, life-altering devices. But they don't feel like the future, you know? During those First Continental Congress sessions we spent full days imagining how crazy life would be in the 21st century: holograms of talking heads appearing out of nowhere whenever you need information on something, aliens and humans living together on the same planet like it's not a big deal, and having the ability to walk out onto the balcony of your home and sit upon the back of a hovering slave waiting to fly you to the location of your choosing.

But fast-forward to 2012, and there isn't a single Negro propelling through the air.

When we thought about what the new millennium had in store for us, didn't we all share this sort of scenario? You get done with work after a long day at the Nano Plant, hop on your slave's back, tell him where you want to go, and then—woosh!—away you go, high into the air! Maybe you can set your slave to autopilot so instead of worrying about steering your Negro around, you can catch up on video transmissions from friends, or just sit back, relax, heat up a meal, and watch a movie while your slave takes you from Boston to Philadelphia.

It might be neat if the slaves had a holo­graphic  screen that emerged from the back of their head when you pressed a button on their neck, and because you'd be encased in a soundproof glass pod, you wouldn't have to worry about hearing this negroid auto fleet sing their spirituals as they flew from place to place. That's what Benjamin Franklin thought would happen, at least. Either way, it's not just a flying slave. It's a portable office, living room, and kitchen all rolled into one piece of human property. 

That's what the future's supposed to be.

And because the highway system and the slaves' brains are all computerized and run on the same network, they can fly at 150 mph with zero risk of getting into an accident. Super fast rides and almost no pollution—you see, the jet packs only serve to launch the slaves from the ground into the air, but for the most part, flying slaves would be powered by solar panels on their foreheads. You wouldn't even have to whip them or anything; it would all be automated.

White men could also fly around on the backs of child slaves, as solar power and the jet packs would make it possible for even the smallest Negroes to bear the weight of their masters.

Perhaps my vision of the future is the stuff of science fiction or comic books, but whether you were born in 1783 or 1983, don't tell me you didn't think that by the 21st century we'd have holodeck technology capable of simulating a safari through the African savannah, replicators that could reproduce any object, free men purchasing flying slaves at auction, thriving cotton plantations on Mars that everyone would be able to teleport back and forth from, and force fields.

But at this point we don't have any of that. Not even a few test slaves flying around. That's not to say the future hasn't slowly crept up on us without our realizing it. Yes, we have computers the size of our hands. We can communicate with someone halfway across the globe with the press of a button, Native Americans have basically been wiped off the face of the earth, and every bit of information we need can be accessed in an instant.

It's just that it'd be really cool if there were flying slaves.

You know what I mean, right?

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‘Star Wars’ Turns 40

When George Lucas’ Star Wars premiered in 1977, the movie quickly became a phenomenon. On its 40th anniversary, The Onion looks back on the franchise’s defining moments:

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