When an idea is originally presented in a work of fiction, the creators probably thought it was the most insane, off the wall suggestion possible. But due to the influence of ValuesDissonance and TechnologyMarchesOn over time, the ideas presented, whether they be from a mental patient, a StrawmanPolitical, or just a cultural trend of the future that shows how low we've sunk, seem outright reasonable. In any case, the original author certainly didn't think so.

See also: FunnyAneurysmMoment, HilariousInHindsight, HarsherInHindsight, ScienceMarchesOn, StrawmanHasAPoint and TheCuckoolanderWasRight.



[[folder:Anime and Manga]]
* ''{{Gasaraki}}'' managed to do this ''three'' times, first with the US invading a Middle Eastern country similar to Iraq on the basis of them having weapons of mass destruction (which turned out never to have existed), the use of unmanned flying drones becoming popular for use in the army, and the idea that the US could be nearly crippled by a global economic collapse. The only thing that hasn't happened yet is the MiniMecha for use in urban combat — and we're not that far from them either: many developed nations have the active research programs about them.

* The ''Franchise/{{Batman}}'' story, "The Laughing Fish", where Joker tries to patent a fish, sounded utterly ridiculous when first released and still did even in the 1990s, when it was adapted by the animated series. But today, Joker's demand for a patent doesn't seem that unreasonable at all, considering that many corporations routinely use genetic mapping to patent animal species as a matter of course.
** Except that he wanted to patent ''all'' the fish, regardless of species, because he had put Joker-grins on them. If he had tried to patent a species he created through genetic engineering, he might have had a case - at least if he wasn't a wanted criminal. This way, it's just crazy.
*** It's actually ''less'' crazy because then it's just a product of a process instead of a new species. The fact that we might consider it ''more'' crazy [[SelfDemonstratingArticle is actually this trope in progress]].
** Ironically, while patent law has marched on, the Joker was trying to ''copyright'' the fish and get royalties from every food product derived from them, which you can't do even today. Fish are a natural product, as the poor clerk he tries to extort points out, and not a creative work. Different set of laws involved there.
* ComicStrip/DickTracy had a seemingly far-fetched wristwatch video cellphone called the 'Two-Way Wrist TV' that looked fantastical at the time, but now...
* In the {{Tintin}} graphic novel ''Recap/TintinDestinationMoon", Captain Haddock spends a lot of time ranting about how CRAZY Professor Calculus is for seriously attempting to send people to the moon. To anyone reading the book after 1969, it just looks weird.

* ''Film/ShockTreatment'' is a strange 1981 film and sequel to ''Film/TheRockyHorrorPictureShow'' (just barely, you could watch ''Shock Treatment'' without ever seeing ''Rocky Horror'', but why would you do that?) dealing with an everyday man being put through televised therapy and his girlfriend going fame-mad after appearing on it. While there's something of a game show feel to the whole thing, it is otherwise a freakishly close to home prediction of reality TV.
* The ubiquitous cell phones in ''Film/{{Clueless}}'' were meant to show how spoiled and wealthy the teenage characters were. Nowadays, people are more likely to be weirded out by the phones' size and outdated design rather than their presence.
* ''Film/{{Heathers}}'' got made in the first place only because the idea of outcast high schoolers killing each other was considered patently absurd. Post-UsefulNotes/{{Columbine}}, the movie turns into DudeNotFunny.
* The film ''Film/{{Network}}'', which revolves around the exploitation of a mentally unstable newscaster by a TV network for ratings, reveled in over-the-top satire with events that would have been viewed as far-fetched back in the 1970s. Fast forward to the 21st century, where RealityTV shows [[PointAndLaughShow ridicule and shame]] their contestants for sensational TV, and [[TwentyFourHourNewsNetworks 24-hour news networks]] have commentators ranting about the state of the world and what's wrong with it, and ''Network'' comes off as far less outrageous. Even the darkly comedic ending, which has the network executives [[spoiler:deciding to kill off the madman because the ratings for his TV show are dropping, and making his killers the stars of one of the network's reality shows in order to boost that show's {{ratings}}]], seems scarily plausible. Just look up what happened to R. Budd Dwyer.
** In an early 2000s interview, Sidney Lumet steadfastly maintained that ''Network'' had never been intended as a satire, claiming that it was "sheer reportage", drawn from his and Paddy Chayefsky's shared experiences working in television. Apparently such shenanigans had been going on for decades, with the general public only now starting to get a good look at them. Lumet concluded the segment saying "the only thing that hasn't happened is we've never seen [[spoiler:[[BloodSport anyone killed]] [[CondemnedContestant for ratings]]]]."
* ''Film/DemolitionMan'' presents the absolutely absurd idea that Creator/ArnoldSchwarzenegger became President of the USA... and when the main character asks how it happened, they say that he became Governor of California first. It's still unconstitutional for an immigrant to be president, though. (''TheEconomist'' magazine from proposed a change in that law, for that very reason, although they may have only been half serious.) In the movie there was a Constitutional Amendment made specifically to let him in.
* ''Film/TheTrumanShow'' came out in 1998. The first ''BigBrother'' premiered a year later, and ''Series/{{Survivor}}'' came two years later. Clearly, some network executive watched that movie and thought, "What a great idea!"
** Of course ''The Real World'' had been on for six years at that point. ''Film/TheTrumanShow'' was a commentary on the rise of reality TV, not the source. (But it should be pointed out, the people on today's reality TV actually volunteer.)
** ''Film/EDtv'' [[DuelingMovies did the same around the same time]], but played more realistically as Ed volunteers to go on TV, [[CelebrityIsOverrated and regrets doing so]].
** Considering ''An American Family'' had aired almost 30 years before ''The Truman Show'', and Albert Brooks' ''[[http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0079781/ Real Life]]'' was released in 1979...
* As late as the early TurnOfTheMillennium (see the Creator/ChrisRock film ''Head of State''), works of fiction that featured [[BarackObama black presidents]] in a contemporary setting were often ridiculed for being unrealistic or overly optimistic about attitudes towards race.
** ''Head of State'' came out in 2003. The idea of a black President at that time was ridiculous. What people did not know was that the next President would be a black man.
** EddieMurphy [[http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ThveuipUe14 on the subject in 1982]].

* George Orwell's ''Literature/NineteenEightyFour'' seemed rather absurd when it was published in 1949 and for many decades after. Now, not so much. (There are video screens ''everywhere''! Even in shopping malls!)
** Although, we're probably closer to Huxley's ''[[Literature/BraveNewWorld Brave New World]]'' than ''1984''.
* ''{{Fahrenheit 451}}'' falls into Forgotten Trope territory. The TV sets in the movie were, in context of the fifties, ridiculously gigantic, and viewers would just look at them in awe of how unnecessarily large and room-centering they are. Today, [=TV=]s of such size are commonplace, and this is not something a modern viewer is likely to catch on to without knowledge of the original context.
** In the book, some rooms had gigantic TV screens covering every wall so you could feel like you were "in" the program. Fortunately, that hasn't caught on-- yet.
** The small, white, hand-sized music players that everyone owned. That they used to close out the world outside. Ray Bradbury himself commented on this around the century-shift.
* ''TheMoteInGodsEye'' featured a parody of wine snobs, a "coffee connoisseur". When it was published, in the 1970s, the idea of someone taking coffee that seriously was inherently comical.
** This is largely an example of CultureClash -- the character was from a Muslim background in which alcohol was proscribed and coffee filled a similar social niche.
* The novel ''Literature/ATaleOfTimeCity'' features a 42nd-century treat called a "butter-pie." It is essentially a chilled cake on a stick, with a warm, buttery center. Not long after the book's writing, the "lava cake" became popular--a cake with a solid exterior and molten interior. The only true difference between the two is the stick.
* ''Literature/TwentyThousandLeaguesUnderTheSea'': Jules Verne wrote in 1869 about Captain Nemo, a man from an oppressed eastern country who [[MajoredInWesternHypocrisy had training in the west,]] and has [[{{Fiction500}} money enough to pay a country’s national debt,]] who decides to create an [[NGOSuperpower organization strong enough]] to [[YourTerroristsAreOurFreedomFighters fight]] an [[TheEmpire entire Western country]] [[MoralEventHorizon through terrible acts of violence]], [[TheWarOnTerror and therefore is chased as a menace by all established countries in the West.]] Since the beginning of his career as a writer, Verne was being accused by critics of being '''[[ScifiGhetto only]]''' [[ScifiGhetto a HardScifi writer that paid little heed to the social ramifications of technology]]. After OsamaBinLaden, September 11th and TheWarOnTerror, we must admit that Verne's ideas really reflected much more than anyone ever suspected about how the world will turn in the next 130 years!
** Though it should be noted that the closeness of the comparison requires some misconceptions about both Bin Laden and Nemo. (For one, the idea that Bin Laden was trained by the CIA is essentially an urban legend, so that part is inaccurate to start with.)
* Another Verne example being the posthumously-published ''ParisInTheTwentiethCentury''. Part of the reason the publisher rejected it whilst Verne was alive was that it was too unbelievable. Many modern commentators love to point out, however, just how accurate and resonant it is. (At the same time, others point out the things he missed, as well as the unbelievably pessimistic outlook, part of the reason the book got rejected in the first place!)
* In the third ''{{Literature/Deathworld}}'' book (published in 1968), when Jason talks about how rich the uranium ore on another planet is, Meta says that a certain detail he mentions is obvious nonsense, and Jason admits he exaggerates. The detail is... that [[https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Natural_nuclear_fission_reactor the ore can be used in reactors unrefined]].

[[folder:Live-Action TV]]
* Similar to the ''Dick Tracy'' example above, the first scene of ''Series/GetSmart'' (the 1965 series) involves the ''absolutely crazy'' idea of a phone going off in a movie theater.
* How about a ''Series/MontyPythonsFlyingCircus'' sketch about [[http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uK92NYwBMts furries]]?
** Which was a parody of documentaries at the time about homosexuality using a 'ridiculous' invented alternative subculture.
* ''NotTheNineOClockNews'' later did the same thing but with fat (or [[InsistentTerminology stout]]) people as an oppressed group, and much the same defictionalisation has since happened with the obesity debate.
* Back in the day, ''TheTwoRonnies'' did a sketch about the absolutely ludicrous idea of people paying money for bottled water, and paying large amounts for 'expensive' bottles of water. WhoWouldBeStupidEnough?
* In the DickVanDykeShow episode ''The Plots Thicken,'' Rob is flabbergasted while talking to a funeral home on the phone. After he gets off, he tells Laura, "How do you like that?! They have a layaway plan. You pay now, and go later." Nowadays, many people prepay for their "final expenses" without a second thought.

* When Music/FrankZappa released ''We're Only in It for the Money'' on May 4, 1968, a lot of people thought he had JumpedTheShark due to the number of songs describing police killing hippies. Just over two years later on May 4, 1970, Ohio National Guardsmen shot and killed four students at Kent State University.
* Music/TomLehrer wrote a song called "George Murphy" in 1965, a satiric mockery of an ex-showtunes star turned (Republican) senator and his statements about importing cheap Mexican labor to displace American farmers. Fifteen years later RonaldReagan was president and illegal immigration "taking jobs from Americans" had become a hot topic in American politics.
** In fact the lyrics to "George Murphy" include the opening lines
-> Hollywood's often tried to mix
-> Showbusiness and politics
-> From Helen Gahagan
-> To ... [laugh] ''Ronald Reagan''?!

[[folder:Newspaper Comics]]
* An even more extreme example is a 1920 British newspaper cartoon which considers the impact of mobile phones (which had just been announced as a possibility in the future) and has them going off during weddings, in theatres, etc... OlderThanTheyThink, indeed!

* ''Radio/TheShadow'' regularly included story lines intended to be as shocking and outlandish to the listening audience as possible; story lines such as... a town being afflicted with drug addicts (opium, from which the street drug known as heroin would later be derived), a politician being snagged in a bribery scandal (decades before Abscam), and counterfeit money plaguing a city. There was also a story about a shell-shocked veteran taking to shooting people with a silenced sniper rifle from high buildings, anticipating several all-too-real incidents of crime and terrorism by decades.

[[folder:Web Originals]]
* In a 1998 installment of the web humor column ''[[http://www.bookofratings.com/ The Book of Ratings]]'', the "Mystical Creatures" rating contains a sarcastic quip about vampires going the way of the unicorn: "If it hasn't happened already, in a few months look for airbrushed posters of sad vampires in Wal-Marts everywhere, and in a decade look for female college students saying to each other "Were you into vampires when you were nine? Me too! We were such dorks!" Yeah, um, [[Literature/{{Twilight}} about that...]]
** In an even earlier Rating for "Constellations," he complains about the names of Ursa Major and Ursa Minor: "The Big Bear and the Little Bear sounds like a heartwarming Disney feature." [[BrotherBear About that too...]]
** There's ''another one'' (the man has a lot of these) where he notes that he's bugged by beer commercials that show off fields of wheat. One of the most integral parts of beer is hops, but he says that beer commercials would never show off hops vines/buds, because the fact that beer is made from ''flowers'' would be too ''unmanly.'' Of course, now Samuel Adams beer makes a very big deal out of the fact that they use lots of hops in their beer (and, yes, even show off the vines in bloom).

[[folder:Western Animation]]
* On ''WesternAnimation/DastardlyAndMuttleyInTheirFlyingMachines'', Dick Dastardly had essentially the World War I version of the cell phone. The short "Ice See You" implies that it's a ''video'' cell phone.

[[folder:Real Life]]
* In the 1980s, there was a [[PublicServiceAnnouncement public service announcement-style]] movie shown in Australian schools about understanding the coercive influence of advertising. In order to illustrate the point, it included an attractive phony advertisement for the craziest product imaginable: bottled water.
** Hilarious when you realize that in the early 1990s something (a virus, bacteria or other) got into the Australian public drinking water and made everyone who didn't boil or buy their water extremely sick.
* Paleo-artist Luis Rey (whose work is, among many others, featured in ''Literature/DinosaursTheMostCompleteUpToDateEncyclopedia'') had been blacklisted by the British paleontologist community in the '90s because he gave his dinosaurs feathers and flamboyant colors. But ScienceMarchesOn, some dinosaurs are now known to have been ''very'' crazy-looking, and today this highly popular and sought-after dino artist actually considers his work to be rather conservative.