"Future Ain't What It Used to Be"

Benjamin Zimmer bgzimmer at RCI.RUTGERS.EDU
Thu Feb 3 22:56:32 UTC 2005

On Thu, 3 Feb 2005 15:07:27 -0600, Mullins, Bill
<Bill.Mullins at US.ARMY.MIL> wrote:

>Thinking Things Over
>Wall Street Journal (1889-Current file); Feb 13, 1974; ProQuest
>Historical Newspapers The Wall Street Journal (1889 - 1987)
>pg. 16
>"There's no doubt about it, the future ain't what it used to be."

Earlier cites have "is not" or "isn't" instead of "ain't":

Los Angeles Times, Nov 3, 1963, p. M5
Today's generation of collegians is an intense, serious group and they
realize far more than their elders that the "future is not what it used to
be," he [sc. Dr. Abram L. Sacher] said.

Sheboygan Press (Wisc.), Feb 25, 1966, p. 3
A luncheon at Town and Country Club was followed by an address by Dr.
Roderick McPhee, superintendent of schools at Glencoe, Ill. His topic was
"The Future Is Not What It
Used To Be."

Washington Post, Jul 6, 1969, p. G1
Here's a [Stan] Vanderbeek paradox: "The future is not what it used to be."

New York Times, Nov 30, 1969, p. D22
(heading) The Future Is Not What It Used To Be
To some, a legend seen on a lapel button at Cambridge by John Hightower,
executive director of The New York State Council on the Arts, seemed a
perfect expression of the seminar's impact. "The Future Is Not What It
Used To Be," the button stated.

Lima News (Ohio), Sep 13, 1970, p. C
CAMERA THREE. "The Future Isn't What It Used To Be." Confusing is the word
for the title of this program and the confusion surrounding the nature,
perception and appearance of the future is, indeed, its subject. On hand
to attempt some clarification of it all are bonafide experts: R.
Buckminster Fuller, architect, mathematician and city planner; Arthur C.
Clark, science writer and author of "2001;" and Alvin Toffler, author of
the recent blockbuster, "Future Shock." 11 a.m. CBS.

--Ben Zimmer

>> -----Original Message-----
>> From: American Dialect Society
>> [mailto:ADS-L at LISTSERV.UGA.EDU] On Behalf Of Fred Shapiro
>> Sent: Thursday, February 03, 2005 3:02 PM
>> Subject: "Future Ain't What It Used to Be"
>> Is anyone willing to search ProQuest Historical Newspapers to
>> see if there are any pre-1977 hits for "the future ain't what
>> it used to be" or "the future isn't what it used to be"?
>> Fred Shapiro

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