History has a funny way of repeating itself. We always like to believe we’re on the cutting edge of just about everything, but the truth is a lot of things we view as ‘modern’ are actually pretty old. Some of these so-called modern things have been around for decades, if not centuries.
Here are some things that have been around for a looooooong time. Sorry to burst your bubble.
1. Expanded Cinematic Universes
Marvel and DC film universes are all the rage right now, but this phenomenon goes back almost 80 years. In fact, the concept of the expanded cinematic universe can be traced back all the way to Universal’s 1941 monster classic The Wolf Man. A series of crossover films were produced after that, including Frankenstein Meets the Wolf Man, House of Frankenstein, and even Abbott and Costello Meet Frankenstein.
2. Rap music
Rap has been a mainstay in American pop culture since the late 1970s, but its roots actually date back to the 1920s, when vaudeville, ragtime, and even religious songs began incorporating style elements and techniques that would later develop into rap music.
3. The word “frenemies”
Think this is a term invented by Sex and the City? Think again. The word was used as early as 1953 – during the height of the Cold War – in an article about U.S./Soviet relations. The article, entitled “Howz about calling the Russians our Frienemies?”, appeared in the Nevada State Journal.
4. Music videos
More than 20 years before MTV hit the airwaves in 1981, you could gaze your eyes on the Scopitone, a jukebox machine that also had a 16-millimeter film component built into it. These films were the precursor to the music videos we all grew up on, with film images synced to pre-recorded music. The earliest Scopitone films were made in the late 1950s, and the final one was produced in 1978. We all know what happened a few years after that.
5. Electronic cigarettes
Vapin’ ain’t nothin’ new, friend. In fact, a man named Herbert A. Gilbert filed a patent all the way back in 1963 for a smokeless, electronic cigarette. For those of you keeping track, that was a full 56 years ago. John F. Kennedy was president, and the Beatles still hadn’t been to America yet. Despite being granted a patent for the device in 1965, Gilbert’s e-cig was never widely manufactured.
6. Environmental regulations
This one might really seem like a modern phenomenon considering our (extremely overdue) awareness of the damage that fossil fuels cause to the environment, but you have to go back over 700 YEARS to get on the cutting edge of this one. England’s King Edward I set up the world’s first air pollution commission, banning coal burning in the year 1285 due to the terrible air quality in London.
Talk about forward-looking.