There’s a scene at the end of 2001: A Space Odyssey where powerful space aliens place astronaut David Bowman in a zoo designed just for him. They’ve constructed it from his memories, so it looks mostly like an Earth hotel room, but it’s not exactly right. In the book version of the film Bowman looks at the telephone directory and sees only a blur, not specific names and numbers.
That was 1968.
In 2006 those aliens are back, but instead of abducting baby-boomers themselves the aliens just want their money. Today I came across their ploy on the wall of the subway, where they pretend to offer “financial services” through “Ameriprise.”
See that kid with the old-style baseball cap who is not Beaver Cleaver? And there’s that guy with thick-framed glasses who isn’t Buddy Holly. And that’s not Andy Warhol’s Jackie Kennedy, is it? (No.) Hey! That’s that guy from Saturday Night Fever! (John Travolta? Nope.) But I’m sure I’ve seen that long-haired hippie guy before. (Yes, he’s your Uncle Fred.)
No doubt all you boomers out there get a warm and fuzzy feeling just seeing anything that vaguely resembles pop culture iconography, but I urge you to resist. Just remember the fate of the characters in 2001 (Murderous monkeys, HAL-9000, Models of the U.N. building popping up everywhere, Earth-size space embryos).