Sunday, April 08, 2012

Einstein Flies the Bird

So, ever since a trip out the Flushing Meadows a few weeks ago, I've been periodically websearching (which is a word that should be entered into the modern English lexicon) the two world's fairs that occurred there trying to get a picture of what it was like.

In doing so today, I found myself back at this website which, by 2012 standards, is quite quaint and unsophisticated in its presentation of information, but is probably the single best repository of it for the 1964 fair on the web. In fact it was just today that I figured out its design enough to go deeper into the attractions from the fair it documents.

I've been browsing for a few hours, trying to find out where the various exhibit spaces that were removed and re-purposed (yes, people moved whole, huge buildings from this thing - such was the excess greatness of the US mid-century and pre-Vietnam backlash). While doing so I came across the Westinghouse Pavilion section and started reading about the two Time Capsule buried after each fair. The even has a downloadable pdf of the 1939 book of record that was sealed in the '39 capsule.

I started looking through it, curious how it would explain to people 5000 years in the future to decipher it (paradox, conundrum, effed-up situation, fruitless endeavour - you decide) and came across a section dedicated to "great minds" of the time. Assuming this would lead to some fine self-revelatory western civilization praise, I looked through a few. The third turned out to be my good friend whom I've never actually met Albert Einstein. It was in German. This was disappointing at first - particularly since great pains are taken in the section of the book before to explain English to future readers (??). I've read some of his writings on war and society and was piqued at what he would have decided to include in a capsule intended to be open 5000 years in the future. Fortunately and sensibly, the following page was a translation. Below is the scan of the actual page from the book of record. Peep it:

And now I am left to I the only one who sees this as a delightfully bold exercise of subversion?


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