Back to the future

Our future can be seen in a magazine from 1940.

While visiting my in-laws last Saturday, I began to leaf through an old issue of LIFE magazine (September 9, 1940) that was on their coffee table. 

Always fascinated to get a glimpse of our recent past, I never expected to see the future within its pages.  I was dumbstruck to read the following letter to the editor, commenting on a photograph from a previous issue.


In the Aug. 26 issue of LIFE a photograph explains why Baker Brothers furniture store of Indianapolis went out of business.  The enclosed photograph shows what went into the store as soon as Baker Brothers moved out.


Indianapolis, Ind.

The photograph from the August 26 issue was of Baker Brothers' storefront window, upon which was written the following:

We have lost money every year under the New Deal!

Too many taxes

Too many chain stores

Too much unemployment

Too much Santa Claus

Too much money buried in the ground


The second photograph, submitted by Mr. Francis, showed a large marquee sign being installed over the former Baker Bros. storefront.  Upon the sign were written two very imposing words:


My first thought was of the old axiom about the more things change, the more they stay the same.  However, the publication of Mr. Francis' letter demonstrates one huge change from then to now.  The mainstream media of 1940 had absolutely no problem publishing such a letter.  Today, such a story would be suppressed because it doesn't fit the desired narrative, the story of how Barack Obama is going to singlehandedly save us all, just as FDR did before him. 

Of course, if the sign had said "REPUBLICAN HEADQUARTERS...." 

Stephen Rhone is from Fort Worth, Texas.