When I was kid, the epitome of cool was found in the form of erasers in the shape of then-extant aircraft, including the awesome delta-wing F-4 Phantom jet.  In they year 2013, that plane is not merely outmoded, but antique, which ironically makes it even cooler to me.  So often in pop culture we are shown that the outmoded tech is the coolest, from Emmet Brown’s DeLorean coupe to Ellen Ripley’s old-school alien-queen-smashing power-armor, and often times it’s not the shiny new Excelsior-class vessel that gets the job done but the battle-scarred Constitution-class warbird.  As readers/consumers of pop culture, we’re conditioned to root for the underdog, to hope that the unlikely hero in his slapdash blue box can save the day, which begs a query…

The MS-QOTD (pronounced, as always, “misquoted”) always kind of wanted a YT-1300 freighter, but could never get enough cardboard to build the thing, asking:  What’s your favorite example of awesomely obsolete technology in pop culture?

The Author

Matthew Peterson

Matthew Peterson

Once upon a time, there was a young nerd from the Midwest, who loved Matter-Eater Lad and the McKenzie Brothers... If pop culture were a maze, Matthew would be the Minotaur at its center. Were it a mall, he'd be the Food Court. Were it a parking lot, he’d be the distant Cart Corral where the weird kids gather to smoke, but that’s not important right now... Matthew enjoys body surfing (so long as the bodies are fresh), writing in the third person, and dark-eyed women. Amongst his weaponry are such diverse elements as: Fear! Surprise! Ruthless efficiency! An almost fanatical devotion to pop culture!

And a nice red uniform.

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7 Comments

  1. Dino
    August 7, 2013 at 12:17 pm — Reply

    Pretty broad category here, but I’m going to go with the sword. It’s pretty much been obsolete for hundreds of years, but whenever I see a cool person fighting with a sword I just don’t care how obsolete it is.

  2. August 7, 2013 at 1:31 pm — Reply

    In pop culture, the Lightsaber. Much like Dino’s answer of a sword, it is technically outdated in the SW timeline where laser guns are aplenty, yet it is still a much more awesome looking weapon.

    In general, like Dino above, the sword. I used to collect them (and still have a couple) just because they are all kinds of awesome.

    I’m also partial to the Trek TOS communicator and would love to have a cellphone rigged up like one.

  3. B.V.K.
    August 7, 2013 at 3:01 pm — Reply

    The CGI in The Last Starfighter. I still love that movie though.

  4. August 7, 2013 at 3:23 pm — Reply

    Well, since you put a jet on the picture, I gotta say I love British WWII fighter the Spitfire, so much so that I tear up when I see it at airshows, usually flying alongside a newer fighter. I was absolutely gleeful when they appeared on Doctor Who. As it happens, modified Spitfires have already turned up in my own work . . .

    http://www.blueyondercomic.net/comics/1560165/blue-yonder-chapter-2-page-17/

  5. Oldcomicfan
    August 7, 2013 at 8:52 pm — Reply

    That would be the clunky 7-1/2″ floppy drive that couldn’t hold 250kb and the plug in phone cradle modem from War Games. Awesome movie. I wish they would remake it with modern technology, though.

  6. TumorFace
    August 8, 2013 at 5:00 am — Reply

    The first thing that comes to mind is Harry Dreden’s patchwork old Volkswagon, the Blue Beetle. It’s specifically used because newer tech breaks down around wizards, and the Beetle in particular is one scrappy car that gets Harry where he needs to be. Usually.

  7. August 8, 2013 at 10:16 am — Reply

    The X-Men, last I checked, are still flying around in a Lockheed SR-71 Blackbird, which has been around since about 1964. So, considering all the other technology they use on a regular basis, flying around in a 50 year old airplane is practically an anachronism.
    If the X-Men were driving around town in a Ford Fairlane Thunderbolt like it was no big deal, I feel like people would take notice.

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