Lasers in the Jungle

From: Jim Fehlinger (
Date: Wed Feb 21 2001 - 05:22:12 MST

"Michael M. Butler" wrote:
> > cf. Paul Simon's
> > lyric "And I believe these are the days of lasers in the jungle,
> > lasers in the jungle somewhere" from "The Boy in the Bubble" on the
> > _Graceland_ album, Warner Bros. 9 25447-2.
> I find myself not following this "cf." very well. Can someone explain it
> to me?

I've always assumed these lyrics were an inside joke about one of the
scenes in Futurama II. I went to the New York World's Fair one time,
via a chartered-bus day trip from Delaware that my father took me on
one summer Saturday in 1965 when I was 12. Paul Simon is 9 years older than
me, and lived in the Sprawl, and I'm sure he went to the Fair many

The scene in question can be found at the on-line '64-'65 New York World's
Fair at (scroll the left frame down to
"Transportation Area", click on General Motors, then click on page 4
of the right frame; scroll the right frame down to the middle of the page).
The scene showed a continuous-process highway-building operation in a tropical
jungle -- the trees being cut down by laser-wielding tractors, and then
the debris being consumed and the road-bed laid by one monstrous
caterpillar-like machine. The whole idea is shockingly politically
incorrect by today's standards, and probably bothered some people even
back in '64. A big company like GM could still have the chuzpah back
in '64 to portray the whole world as grist for its own corporate
agenda, and with great panache (as a 12-year-old, I got an enormous kick
out of Futurama II). The '64-'65 New York World's Fair marked the
end of that era, though.

Jim F.

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