The video linked here is a spoof of several things: TV documentaries, cultural and historical analysis, archaeology, and “experts” generally. It’s silly and fun, using a view of the Beatles from 1000 years hence, to poke its fun.
The satire here can help us think about what we are doing when we study the past or the future. In either case, we have lots of information and insights to draw on, and lots of ways to get things wrong. The view backward of the Beatles, from 1,000 years out, leads to funny mistakes, but plenty of truth too. This is what we are doing whether we study history or the future. We cannot get everything right, but we can understand something.
The mistakes we are likely to make include:
Collapsing time: from a distance, a decade or two “goes away” but at the time those decades separated things enough that one phenomena (opera) and another (early Rock) can get mixed up.
Misinterpreting material things: showing how easy it is to attach different meaning, or impute different motives to something, based on what we think or feel, or based on a different understanding of what is significant. Similar to this is David MacCauley’s book, Motel of Mysteries, in which a future archaeological team discovers the “throne room” in the hotel, centering on the commode.
Getting the emphasis wrong: What mattered more seen as less important, and vice versa. The clues we find about the past can unbalance our thinking, and so can the incomplete view we will always have of the future.
So, how funny are our forecasts? How laughably wrong are we? Are we creating satire and we don’t know it? We can’t know that now, but most importantly, we are better off for exploring the future, and getting things wrong, than not exploring it at all.
Thanks to my son, for sharing this with me. He knew it would be at least a lot of fun for me, and that I’d be interested as a futurist and a former archaeologist.
Note: yes, that's NBA player Scottie Pippin pictured as one of the Fab Four. They get songwriter credit for Battle Hymn of the Republic, too!