Talk:Anachronism

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How Many Examples?[edit]

Is our goal in this page to list every anachronism that exists, or to simply provide an example of each type of anachronism? Paragraphs upon paragraphs of this article are seemingly dedicated to cataloging every anachronism that currently exists. For the field of science fiction, as time passes anachronisms happen in any work set far enough away from the present time. It seems like a bad idea to try to list them all. Thoughts? 97.102.165.239 (talk) 03:56, 26 September 2010 (UTC)

Science Fiction and Time Travel[edit]

Yeah, that. Need section.Rayvn (talk) 08:58, 16 November 2009 (UTC)

Examples[edit]

Could you please add some examples!! —Preceding unsigned comment added by 213.22.153.99 (talk) 11:25, 24 November 2007 (UTC)

For Example: In Doctor Who The TARDIS, a time-traveling ship which is perpetually stuck as a 1950s-style police box is always in a place it shouldn't belong(time-period-wise) but because of the TARDIS's perception filter it is able to be there without being noticed(and out of place) by most the general public. Andy5421 (talk) 16:51, 27 February 2010 (UTC)


It was not vandalism; but it was a translation! However Mitch Ugana of AndNetwork was not the original author. He obtained the story from a man while riding on a bus near Luxor. The website Partytobenamedlater.com was valid during the period Mitch Ugana of AndNetwork traveled to Egypt. Mitch used that website to get information on the wire. The story was translated, as he jotted his notes, by a woman who was multilingual. The only reference to the translator was a scribbled note "Dorathea Stamous" and no other information. The Codex Sinaiticus only helps prove that although the book of Revelation was mentioned at the Council of Carthage in 419, when it became accepted as a Canon of Scripture. Further changes and additions could have been made and this possibility needs further study. This does provide some evidence to the claim of Pope Vitalian and 666 being a reference point and year during the imprisonment of Bishop John of Lappa. Mitch Ugana was doing further research on the project near Lake Malawi. He was last seen on a small boat on the Ruhuhu River. AndNetwork.net was, during the time Mitch traveled to Lake Malawi, then closed to outside global networking. The pressure to limit AndNetwork's access to full world wide web availability is said to have been driven by forces outside of Africa. To date, no further evidence of Mitch's demise has been uncovered. Rumor was that Lake Malawi and the Codex Sinaiticus are somehow tied. There is no evidence to support the rumor. The book "Rag and Bone" by Peter Manseau does, by sheer accident, uncover the truth; that Mitch Ugana was indeed a pseudonym. No one at AndNetwork knew Mitch's real name. Mitch was said to have told some, that the man on the bus was an Egyptian Scholar who wished to remain anonymous...No further information or notes are available.


Partytobenamedlater.com indicates that the year 666 mentioned in the Book of Revelation in the Christian Bible is such a prochronism. The Vatican records are simply in error; the 666 is the year 666 A.D. (of that time) A Bishop John of Lappa was imprisoned in a cave during that period and with a map focused his anger either towards Papacy, and/or "Paulacy" for being imprisoned as an heretic. This became voiced in a "madman's code" indicating the year of such rule and including Pope Vitalian. Pope Vitalian then, on Bishop John's behalf, appealed to the ruling body of the time. This code also encompasses "Constantine's Sword" and other historical realities prior to the year known back then as 666 A.D. The outline bishop John saw of a dragon is readily seen on any map suggesting that prophecy is as it always has been, not a reality for man in any scientific sense, but in this case the rantings of an imprisoned Bishop. The changes that assumably were made by a priest allowed the chronology to fit into an earlier time. This suggests it would be unclear to modern Papacy unless records are scrutinized to indicate otherwise. We know even now changes are made. Papal records may indicate how such a change was made and overlooked to create the current canon of the Christian Bible. Titus 1:10 is now published differently from the Latin Vulgate at Vatican.va. It is evident and readily obtained. The term "...the Jewish Christians." and "...those of the circumcision." are not transferable, yet they are so changed. A look at the Latin suggests such changes were indeed made.

Social anachronisms[edit]

The term is also often used (more metaphorically) to describe the experience of encountering things in life which appear to be out of place in time, though on a literal level they are not. Monarchies and other overly lavish political traditions from past centuries are considered by many to be quite anachronistic, as are some old-fashioned languages and certain religious traditions.

Moral values prevalent in another time, which have now fallen out of favor, may also be referred to as anachronistic.


The style of the section "Anachronisms in art and fiction" is different. Is it from one of the public domain encyclopedias? In fact, you might say it's an anachronism. --Erauch 04:50, 5 Sep 2004 (UTC)

Anachronisms in literature[edit]

I think the article should expand on the idea of intentional anachronisms, not only in film/theatre but in literature — for example, The French Lieutenant's Woman by John Fowles is set in the Victorian Era but makes constant references to the modern day, which is possibly a comment on the inevitable anachronistic/false nature of literature set in the past. Very postmodernist.

Geographical/geosocial misattributions[edit]

Is there a word for misplacing a word or phrase in geographical and/or social space rather than time? That is, misattributing an expression across concurrent dialects? For example, "quoting" a Geordie (NE England) speaker as using "Howdie!" (USA) as a greeting?

Apologies of this is not the right place to post this query — yet another possible misplacement — but I have had a look around and could not find a more obvious place :)

-- Ms Mouse

For general fact-finders like this, try the Wikipedia:Reference desk. JRM 21:53, 2004 Dec 6 (UTC)

Editing[edit]

In the immortal words of Greg Dyke, this article needs to cut the crap.

Agreed. How about futuristic anachronisms? The unintentional section was full of opinion and NO cited sources. I edited one sentence to remove some opinion (the previous writer had said the anachronisms present in David Brine's earth were "annoying". This is an encyclopedia, not a blog. And I don't know how why this box is here or why it expanded the page I'm new to editing and very new to discussion pages. Doing my best to fix it. EDIT: I was unable to find a solution and I've got to leave, if someone could fix this for me, it'd be much appreciated. GammaRage (talk) 00:34, 27 March 2010 (UTC)

Fixed 78.147.234.135 (talk) 14:59, 3 March 2012 (UTC)

The puzzling See Alsos[edit]

Can someone please fix this list of SEE ALSOS? Why is Electricity, Physics, and Celts, etc. on this list? Kingturtle 08:00, 14 May 2005 (UTC)

I think I see what happened here. Someone got overzealous and in addition to adding the appropriate bits like the Baghdad Battery, Blackadder and so on, decided to add the subject categories they fell under, like Electricity and History as well. They also added articles where they came across the mention of the term anachronism. I've culled down the list to what are clear and relevant examples. --khaosworks 08:23, May 14, 2005 (UTC)
Should the Naruto link be taken out? It seems to me that's more a case of a fan of the show wanting to put in a link rather than someone actually putting it in for the benefit of the article. Tyrwh 04:43, April 28, 2007 (UTC)

See also[edit]

Social Anachronisms[edit]

The content of the Social Anachronisms section was replaced with nonsense. Someone later edited it so it was grammatically correct nonsense, but didn't restore the original content. See: http://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?title=Anachronism&diff=26099439&oldid=25744586

I'm not sure if this was actually vandalism or just a misplaced edit, but it certainly was bizarre.

OK, I just went to the user's page, and he has a history of vandalism and has been repeatedly warned. He removes content from articles and replaces it with nonsense. I think permanent bannination is in order.

Terrible example.[edit]

"For example, if a play set during the Roman Republic portrays a person using a computer, the computer is an anachronism."

I really don't think so... First of all, what is a "play set"? Probably doesn't matter because if ANYTHING in the Roman Republic has a picture of a person using a computer then that's spooky fortune telling or time travel or something. It's not anachronistic.

Using a typewriter to write a wikipedia article is anachronistic.

I don't find anything wrong with the use of the term, but I agree the examples could be better. Could we have an example of something that's easily recognizable, easy to overlook, but obvious when you know about it? I thought the digital watch was a perfect example, but it's already being used in the next bit. --Kjoonlee 03:30, 12 September 2006 (UTC)

How about this? Abraham Lincoln drinking Coca Cola. That may not be obvious to some people, but becomes rather blatant with a little research! John Elson3Dham WF6I A.P.O.I. 04:54, 26 February 2012 (UTC)

I think the problem here is that there's a common understanding of "anachronism" as referring to something hopelessly obsolete or behind-the-times, for example a Nehru jacket, a rotary-dial telephone, or state fascism. But the article is concerned with a general concept of anachronism which may be defined as "any usage of an object distinctly outside of its proper temporal context". A computer on the desk of Caius Publius Aelius is not immediately recognisable as an anachronism under the common usage, yes, and it suggests science-fiction concepts like time travel -- perhaps because it is so far out of its proper temporal context. For that reason the example given is confusing and therefore not up to par. A better example might be a short story in which Benjamin Franklin is depicted as nervously clicking a retractable pen. --7Kim 20:54, 11 December 2006 (UTC)
Does it bother anyone else that one of the paragraphs under "Art and Fiction" starts out as "Those computerized adventure games..."?
"Play set" is not a noun phrase (way up there at the start of this section). A "play set during the Roman Republic" is a play whose setting – the time and place of the action – is in the Roman Republic.
Now, is this bit of grammatical commentary on a sentence written eight years ago an anachronism? I wouldn't call it that. --Thnidu (talk) 07:11, 22 May 2014 (UTC)

Abraham Lincoln died in 1865; Coca-Cola was introduced in 1886. Abraham Lincoln drinking a Coca-Cola is an anachronism. Herbert Hoover using a modern ball-point pen in the late 1940s would be no anachronism, but using one (the first ones were introduced in the early 1940s) while President would be.

Juxtapositions of persons from the times in which they could not have been living (let us say Isaac Newton and Albert Einstein) or of persons at the wrong stages of life (although Albert Einstein and Stephen Hawking could have met in theory, Albert Einstein would have to be an old man and Stephen Hawking could only be a child).Pbrower2a (talk) 04:02, 11 June 2014 (UTC)

Psychology[edit]

Anybody certain that "anachronistic displacement" is an actual psychology term? A google search on the phrase seems to yield only the wiki article and others referencing the wiki article.

It's hard to answer that question in a direct way. Does the concept exist in abnormal psychology? Yes. Does the offered phrase accurately describe the concept as it's understood in abnormal psychology? Yes. Have I encountered the phrase in print? I have only seen it in print in formal remarks by psychiatrists in patients' charts (I work in mental health care), and I have heard it used by psychiatrists. Does it exist in "official" psychological dictionaries? I cannot answer this of my own knowledge. I can only attest that I have observed psychiatrists using it in formal contexts. Others may quibble, but that's good enough for me.--7Kim 21:12, 11 December 2006 (UTC)
I consulted some texts in psychiatry last night. The answer appears to be "yes and no": Yes, it is an actual technical term. However, it appears to be a superannuated one, as the latest text I could find that found it worthy of mention was dated in the mid-1960's. On the other hand, to this day it is used, immediately understood, and treated as technical language. You pays your money and you takes your choice. Arguing either side will drag us into prescriptionist/descriptionist flamewars debates and I'm not going there. Personally, I'm for it, but from a Wikipedia perspective, absent a recent documentary citation it should probably go.--7Kim 14:53, 12 December 2006 (UTC)

Date anachronisms[edit]

Proposed additions:

  • Add link to neologism and retronym.
  • References to years in the 20th century. Before what was often referred to in speech as "year two thousand" and sometimes written informally as Y2K, 1995 would normally have been referred to as "ninety five" and written 95, whereas in the 21st century it has become usual to write years in full and to say "nineteen ninety five". Thus reference to "1995" in a play set in the 20th century might well be anachronistic. GilesW 12:34, 30 August 2007 (UTC)


I don't know where you were and when you were born, but I was born in 1963 in the united states and we called 1995 "nineteen ninety five"! Same with 1963, 1984, etc.

In the 19th century people may have referred to the year by the last two digits (or at least are often depicted that way in art and literature) but in the 20th century most literate people referred to years by all four digits! John Elson3Dham WF6I A.P.O.I. 05:02, 26 February 2012 (UTC)

"Two types" section - why?[edit]

What does this section do? It actually starts out talking about a person - an 'anachronist'. Has some eager person cocked this section up by adding that and no one has noticed? It makes little sense... Malick78 (talk) 20:02, 26 February 2008 (UTC)

Linguistic anacronisms[edit]

It is claimed that present-day English-spoken people would had hard to understand the language as it was spoken in the 18th century. Is there not a general rule saying that languages change to the incompencible in about 600 years? Thus present-day people would had understood the very most of what people said in the same language 250 years ago. Anyone who knows?

2008-10-13 Lena Synnerholm, Märsta, Sweden. —Preceding unsigned comment added by 213.67.105.223 (talk) 15:24, 13 October 2008 (UTC)

There would be no problem understanding 18th century English; novels by Jane Austin and the Brontë sisters are extremely popular! William Shakespeare wrote in the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries, but we read Shakespeare easily enough. The Authorised Version of the Bible dates from the beginning of the seventeenth century but is written in sixteenth century English, and we are brought up with that (or at least my family was). I can't speak for Americans of course.
However, the Bible, the Book of Common Prayer and Shakespeare pinned English down. They made a standard. Earlier versions of English are more troublesome. I can read Chaucer easily enough, but only because I have studied it; most Britons would find Middle English hard to understand. As to Old English (to about the twelfth century), that is effectively a different language.
In a historical novel set in the 18th century, one would be expected to put eighteenth century words in the characters' mouths. Earlier than that and authentic language becomes strained: you just have to avoid expressions which arose later. In particular, we use Shakespearean phrases and those from the Authorised Version of the Bible without thinking about it. If a courtier of Henry VIII says "I'll not budge an inch" (from King Lear), the author has slipped up.
Howard Alexander (talk) 21:25, 22 November 2008 (UTC)

You are right: present-day people could probably have a conversation with someone with the same mother tongue who lived five centuries ago. If a work of historical fiction takes place less than six centuries ago I think people could speak the modern counterpart of the languages in question as long as they avoid expressions obviously derived from later concepts. They may also use words from that time about things from that time which don’t have any present-day counterparts. If the story takes place six centuries ago or more they could speak a descendant language. I don’t have anything against people speaking an other language than actually was the case if they pretend it to be the actual language. In such cases people who spoke different languages in the real world should speak different languages in the historical fiction too. This may not be practical in written texts. Then it should be made clear who speaks which language. This can be acquired by writing the parts in the most unusual language in italics or by the use of different fonts. This is just my opinion.

2009-01-20 Lena Synnerholm, Märsta, Sweden.

"present-day people could probably have a conversation with someone with the same mother tongue who lived five centuries ago": Not as easily as it may seem. English pronunciation has changed quite a bit since Shakespeare's time, though the written language has not kept up with it — which is part of the reason that English spelling is so maddening. --Thnidu (talk) 05:53, 22 May 2014 (UTC)

Poor Choice of Examples[edit]

Some of these things aren't so much anachronisms as consequences of the world evolving differently than futuristic depictions in TV and film. An exmple is "In the 1982 film Blade Runner which is set in 2019, Atari, which was liquidated by the late 1980s is portrayed as the main source of computer products. Also the film depicts cigarettes as being advertised, not anticipating that by the early 2000s most developed nations would have had legislated against tobacco advertisement in the name of health." If I made a movie about flying cars in 2050 but by 2050 we still didn't have flying cars..is that an anachronism? Maybe it is, maybe I'm wrong, but I don't think so. —Preceding unsigned comment added by Wickedxjade (talkcontribs) 05:21, 29 August 2010 (UTC)

I saw a video game console with the Atari brand name complete with games installed for the Christmas 2013 season. Revivals of brands are possible as nostalgia. It is unlikely that Oldsmobile will be revived; maybe GM will sell the brand to some other automaker who then revives the brand. We cannot rule such out.

Although it is unlikely that the connection between smoking and disease will be repudiated, nothing says that some corrupt government might legalize advertising of cancerweed products. Perhaps the cigarette-shaped object that people have in their mouths supplies something other than tobacco.Pbrower2a (talk) 03:33, 11 June 2014 (UTC)

Anachronism in scholarship[edit]

The concluding section dealing with the status of anachronism in academia is in part original research (the first example, so long as it lacks a reference) and in part an exercise in examples failing to demonstrate what they are meant to (the Sagan example). On the whole it is poorly worded and difficult to draw conclusions from. While it captures the general status of anachronistic analysis ('bad'), it would benefit greatly from at least one or two good sources (first to mind is Skinner) and a rewrite focusing less on examples and more on getting the basics established. Also there is a good article on the Historian's fallacy as a specific sort of anachronistic reasoning that should be at least linked to. (MH (talk) 17:04, 5 October 2010 (UTC))


Accidental or Deliberate[edit]

The first sentence state an anachronism "is an accidental or deliberate inconsistency in some chronological arrangement". If it can be used in both circumstances it would appear nothing is being specified. I will remove "accidental or deliberate"; without them the meaning will be identical. —Preceding unsigned comment added by 121.208.68.3 (talk) 09:41, 5 April 2011 (UTC)

Anachronism?[edit]

A literary work such as Quo Vadis set in the time of Nero is written in Polish, a language that did not exist in Roman times and is usually translated into other languages that did not exist in ancient times because modern audiences generally do not understand Latin, the language of Rome, any more than non-Poles can be expected to understand Polish. That sort of anachronism is generally excused.

Was the movie set in Polish? I see many 1950s movies with Roman characters speaking English as well, but no one mentions this. The audience has to understand what they are saying at best.

Excuse me, but translating a work into a different language IS NOT an anachronism at all. That is helping to preserve the work for future generations so that people in Poland will understand the work. There is nothing anachronistic about it. Just like it is not anachronistic to translate Homer's Iliad into English or the Bible into English.

English did not exist in Biblical times. Maybe the King James translated Bible is an anachronism as well? This is not an anachronism, any more than translating Iliad into Russian is an anachronism. This puts it in another language so that people will better understand Homer.

BTW, Simpsons is an anachronism because Homer Simpson is featured in an episode with the river Styx in Ancient Greece. Can anyone say anachronism? Of course Blackadder is anachronistic, because IT IS A TV show that IS NOT meant to be historically accurate. You know, the parody of the Iliad with Homer Simpson in it.


The above passage is not an anachronism. Where was this borrowed from? — Preceding unsigned comment added by 71.116.34.150 (talk) 21:08, 2 July 2011 (UTC)

71.116.34.150 (talk) 21:11, 2 July 2011 (UTC) I see Hollywood movies set in Roman times where the characters speak English and English was not a spoken language in Roman times. No one mentions this as an anachronism or Life of Brian, where characters speak English. Brian Cohen would have spoken Hebrew. This is so that the audience can understand what they are saying. This is not an anachronism.

..................

Anachronisms involving comedy (let us say the Eiffel Tower appearing in Paris before 1889 in a mock-historical depiction of the French Revolution of 100 years earlier than the erection of the Eiffel Tower) are excused. Drama is more serious.

...Nobody pretends that the ancient Romans spoke modern Polish (the language in which the novel is written) or modern English (the language of the well-known film). Writers and film-makers write for audiences who do not wish to study ancient languages just so that they can understand a novel or film. Is someone similarly troubled by an American or British film depicting WWI German soldiers using English? Translation does not bring an anachronism. To confuse an audience for a film is to violate a normal expectation and bad for box-office.

A writer like Henryk Sienkiewicz might introduce an anachronism by over-stating the Christian influence in Rome (perhaps comparing devout Polish Christians under the occupation of the German, Austro-Hungarian, or Russian Empires of the time to Christians persecuted by Roman authorities) -- but such would have fit the sensibilities of Poles of his time. Elsewhere, Nero is a disgusting exemplar of corruption, madness, and despotism loathed elsewhere -- including the United States. One can hardly create a story in antiquity without introducing modern concerns, but in such a case the anachronism is far more subtle than the appearance in a movie set in Ancient Rome that shows wristwatches, ballpoint pens, modern underwear, or printed material even as bulges under togas -- or even dog breeds such as German Shepherds that did not exist in Roman times... let alone a vapor trail aloft or a tire track. Modern concerns (unless they manifest themselves in drama as blatantly-modern ideas as Marxism or Freudianism) are not to be compared with such blatant incompetence in film-making as allowing even the outline of a credit card or a modern brassiere to appear on some aristocrat's wife. Inappropriate artifacts might be airbrushed away through CGI if the director could not convince a well-paid actor to put down a cherished Rolex watch. Pbrower2a (talk) 16:02, 23 May 2013 (UTC)

FAX machines[edit]

Under future anachronisms we find the following:

A more subtle example may be found in the 1989 film Back to the Future Part II, where it is assumed that fax machines are ubiquitous in 2015, instead of e-mail.

It may come as a surprise to the author of that statement, but today, in 2012, in business settings FAX machines are still quite common! Are we expected to assumed that they will disappear in the next 3 years? John Elson3Dham WF6I A.P.O.I. 06:22, 26 February 2012 (UTC) Are we expected

Oranges?[edit]

If The Last Supper by Leonardo da Vinci, 1498, depicts oranges, which were brought to Europe by Portuguese traders from India in the 15th century and were unknown at the time and place of the Last Supper, than they are probably not oranges, but buns. If Leonardo did not know anything about oranges than, consequently he could not depict them. That is why this is not an anachronism. Picture removed. Hafspajen (talk) 10:36, 29 April 2013 (UTC)

Cavemen and dinosaurs[edit]

I thought this old classic would have gotten a mention (and even an image) in there somewhere. Any reason why not? --Gibson Flying V (talk) 21:18, 6 January 2014 (UTC)

Done.--Gibson Flying V (talk) 03:59, 21 February 2014 (UTC)

Lack of sources and original writing[edit]

This article does not seem to have any proper sources except the mention about some of the text being from Encyclopædia Britannica. It mostly just seems to be original text and examples. How about if everyone would try to stick to proper sources instead of just telling about their own favourite example?

Especially because many of the so called examples now are rather debatable. It would be nice to have proper scholarly sources on what things are anachronisms and what not.

For example, can a work of fantasy like science fiction even contain true anachronisms? After all, it is already considered a work of fantasy. One can not argue that "something is out of place" before one first defines what is normal for that depicted environment or period.

I mean, sure, we could argue that the American 1970s hairstyles in Star Wars (New Hope) are anachronistic [for example, because it's A) supposed to be the future, and/or B] it's supposed to be another galaxy), but on the other hand we realise how stupid that argument would be because of it's already a work of imagination and simply reflecting the time the movie was made in. Similarly now the article talks about anachronisms in the movie Brazil, which is rather silly as it is hard or even impossible to define what would be normal for the dystopian world seen in the movie.

We can debate about what is an anachronism and what isn't till we're all grey and drooling. Or we can stop doing original writing and find some proper sources. And then throw out all the unsourced ramblings. You know, like one is supposed to do on Wikipedia anyway. ;)

--Gemena (talk) 16:24, 30 January 2014 (UTC)

Suggested deletion on The Nativity Story[edit]

There might be some anachronisms in this movie, but I think the cited example is not one. Rather, somebody does not know what millet looks like and thought this was maize, therefore presuming there was an anachronism. As far as I could tell the plants cultivated in the movie was millet. Millet was present in Palestine for millenia before the events which the Nativity Story portrays. Did Catherine Hardwicke state somewhere that she had maize in the movie to make a statement with modern agriculture or bring in an American connection? Is it confirmed that this was maize and not millet? (^^^^) — Preceding unsigned comment added by 178.82.146.242 (talk) 21:26, 15 March 2014 (UTC)

Firefly[edit]

Paragraph 2 in § Intentional views the future culture of an SF TV series as an anachronism because it is similar to that of an earlier time and place:

The television series Firefly's vision of a pioneer culture dominant in the outer regions of the galaxy mirrors the mid-West pioneer culture of 19th-century United States. This can be seen as an anachronism…

"Can be seen as", maybe, but I don't think it's supportable. --Thnidu (talk) 07:06, 22 May 2014 (UTC)

I concur on this one. People doing space travel are going to travel light. If they are to settle on a 'new' planet, then they are not going to take along fragile and non-durable technologies that they can't replace easily. They are unlikely to use technologies that can't be replicated in the new home. High technology involves huge infrastructure that would itself be costly to replicate. So farewell, recorded sound, movies, television, or anything else that cannot be made simply and supplied simply with easily-accessible resources.

People aren't going to take bone china and delicate crystal with them, either. Pbrower2a (talk) 03:23, 11 June 2014 (UTC)

I have thus deleted this segment:

The television series Firefly's vision of a pioneer culture dominant in the outer regions of the galaxy mirrors the mid-West pioneer culture of 19th-century United States. This can be seen as an anachronism, but one which helps an audience to identify with characters and even see the story as allegory, as the creator wanted the story to follow people who had fought on the losing side of a war and their experiences afterwards as pioneers and immigrants on the outskirts of civilization, much like the post-American Civil War era of Reconstruction and the American Old West culture. In this case, the seeming anachronism was made plausible within the context of the show by the explanation that lower technology and manual devices are more maintainable under frontier conditions, where little assistance could be expected from the technologically advanced Alliance.

It's interesting reading, but it does not show an anachronism. I can imagine victors punishing a losing side with an exile in which the conveniences and delights of modern life are largely made impossible and practically unavailable. History shows that technologies can be lost. Pbrower2a (talk) 04:22, 11 June 2014 (UTC)

Removal of example farm[edit]

I removed a lot of unsourced examples. Instead of pop culture shout-outs, this article needs more academic sources. However, if the "in popular culture"-style content must return, it needs citations to reliable sources. Keep in mind that the IMDb is not a reliable source. NinjaRobotPirate (talk) 18:38, 11 June 2014 (UTC)

Such is a mistake, and I will revert it. Popular culture is a commonplace source of anachronisms because entertainment trumps historical accuracy. As a general rule, mass culture must remain adequately simple to avoid confusing an audience. Entertainment, and not education, is the objective of most fiction and cinema. Popular culture is very much a part of our world no matter how much many of us deride it due to our snobbery.
Do you dislike the Flintstones? Tough. It was very popular, if very low-brow, entertainment, and it had some relevance as satire of working-class life and consumerism in America largely in the 1950s. Its conventions were obvious. Stone-age people did not have industrial work, automobiles, fast food, and motion pictures; they certainly did not have dinosaurs (a 19th-century discovery) living in their midst. These are all shown in the introduction to every episode of the Flintstones cartoons; they are so blatant that they are undeniable. The real anachronism is in putting characters of The Honeymooners who are stereotypical working-class people of the 1950s into the Stone Age with over-simplified simulacra of 1950s technology. Pbrower2a (talk) 09:10, 13 June 2014 (UTC)
And I'm reverting again. As you say, The Flintstones is undeniably full of deliberate anachronisms, but that's not the point. This article is supposed to be about anachronism, not just a list of examples of anachronisms. NinjaRobotPirate's cuts are a vast improvement, though the article still needs more references. In fact, even in the cut version, The Flintstones is still there, as it's one of the illustrated examples. If you can find just one reliable source that actually discusses anachronism in The Flintstones, it can go back into the main text. Until then, it should stay out. GrindtXX (talk) 10:08, 13 June 2014 (UTC)
Yes, we need reliable sources to identify any examples. Simply relying on your own opinion is original research, and it is forbidden on Wikipedia. I know that my wide-sweeping rewrites of problematic articles are not always appreciated by editors and readers who like the unsourced example farms, but if you look at Cult film, I think you can see that my approach works well. Before I rewrote that article, it was very similar to this one: a pile of unsourced analysis that was basically nothing but pop culture shout-outs. It is now an accessible yet academic treatment of the topic. It includes prominent examples of cult films to illustrate certain points rather than to highlight fan-favorite examples. If examples are included in this article, they should also include some kind of discussion of the main topic, as well. List of cult films is where we put the comprehensive list of sourced examples. Something similar could be done here, such as Anachronism in popular culture. The examples would still need to be sourced, of course, but they would not have to contribute to an understanding of the main topic. NinjaRobotPirate (talk) 16:36, 13 June 2014 (UTC)

It is not out of a love for some very low-brow programming. The anachronisms in The Flintstones are deliberate and copious, mostly as satire of American blue-collar life in American suburbs in the 1950s -- if set in the Stone Age. The typical (second) and best-known introduction to the cartoon shows the following anachronisms:

1. Industrial labor (technically it is in a quarry) with "heavy equipment" 2. a time clock (which assumes work shifts) 3. a horn (really a very loud-mouthed bird) announcing the end of a work shift 4. a motor vehicle (even if propelled by feet) 5. A necktie on Fred Flintstone 6. A mailbox 7. Suburban-style housing characteristic of the 1950s 8. Domesticated animals (including a sabertooth cat* which could never have been domesticated because it was too dangerous, and a dog-like non-avian dinosaur) 9. Fast food 10. a skirt of a length characteristic of the 1950s and costume jewelry on Wilma Flintstone 11. a drive-in theater and implicit electric light 12. Writing (in English!) and especially advertising

None of these is associated with any Stone Age, and they all appear within 36 seconds.

This is all to be seen in the typical (second) introduction of the cartoon, something easily retrieved on YouTube. Beyond any question, anachronisms in the well-known second introduction set up expectations of gags every episode. This is before I even mention objects (like pianos and telephones), practices (like bowling and smoking) or institutions (like fraternal lodges) that may appear in other episodes. To be sure, YouTube is not a reliable source for information (I have seen plenty of crank material there), but it is good for showing verbatim clips.

The obvious is rarely controversial, especially in popular culture. Popular culture is almost always blatant and lacking in subtlety. An interpretation that Fred Flintsone, as is typical of an industrial worker of the 1950s, hates his job but is addicted to uncritical consumerism (workplace alienation) is an opinion.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IKiZm9RzO24

That is as literal a source as I could get.

Well, this is all original research. It doesn't matter how obvious you think something is or how much evidence you post here. You can't add it to Wikipedia unless a reliable source says it first. Instead of posting comments on Wikipedia talk pages, you should be checking Google results. That's how you're going to add this information to the article. NinjaRobotPirate (talk) 04:25, 15 June 2014 (UTC)

The clip is even more blatant than the still. Twelve deliberate anachronisms in 36 seconds, all easily identified as characteristic of the 1950s when put together, establish that such are stock gags in the cartoon episodes. I'd mention only the items in the introduction because such is enough. Anything more would overload the article. That includes telephones, televisions, bowling, smoking, pianos, fraternal lodges, and even spoofs of 'modern' personalities of the 1950s (Hoagy Carmichael appeared in one of them).

Oh, really? Does one really need a source to say that stone age man had no modern industry, motor vehicles, heavy equipment, mechanical clocks of any kind, writing, advertising, mail service, ranch-style houses, restaurants of any kind (including fast food), cinema, neckties, costume jewelry, domesticated animals, or 1950s-era skirt lengths? Need I give an exact date for the time in which the dinosaur became a discovery? Stone-age Man certainly did not live among non-avian dinosaurs, and I can't imagine a saber-tooth cat as anything other than a lethal menace.

Oddly there is a less famous introduction that has an expressway interchange, a police officer, a 'fire truck' and an 'escalator' (both dinosaurs), a tailor shop, a newspaper (well, strictly speaking, it's not paper but 'slate'), and a television. That is the original intro, one quickly retired. It is not as effective as an introduction, but it is much the same.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MdJAGuWJIW8 (original) https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IKiZm9RzO24 (the usual one now in common circulation)

The former was not as effective, which may explain why it was 'retired' after a new-and-improved version was created. Whichever one one chooses, one gets undeniable and unambiguous anachronisms. For me it was funny when I was a child, but now it is simply stupid. (OK, that observation is original research, and I would never put that in the article).

A thirty-second intro of material that just about everyone has seen at one time or another, even if one has contempt for the material. Paul Fussell suggests that loving this cartoon indicates being intellectually "low" -- in Class, the chapter "The Life of the Mind", Fussell recognizes that broadcast television is generally low-brow, but that The Flintstones are near the abject bottom.

Do I need citations to show that clocks, heavy equipment, neckties, fire trucks, automobiles, expressway interchanges, newspapers, telephones, postal service, television, neckties, writing, fast food, cinema, advertising, ranch-style houses, industrial work, and domestic animals are not part of the Stone Age? Above all, consumerism as characteristic in Suburban America in the 1950s? Maybe there were haircuts of the 1950s as mere coincidence, but I would not mention those here.

Do I need to show unquestioned proof that the clips are genuine? They seem not to be altered.

I choose it not because it is great art -- but because it is so lacking in subtlety that it leaves no ambiguity behind. Anachronisms set up many of the gags. It has been in circulation for over fifty years with practically no change (except that the ads for Fred and Wilma Flintstone smoking Winston cigarettes are no longer shown due to laws against the advertising of tobacco on television). It is made for a child level of comprehension. Pbrower2a (talk) 16:36, 15 June 2014 (UTC)

Dude, I suggest you stop wasting your time posting evidence on this talk page. It doesn't matter how often, how strongly, or how convincingly you argue your point. It's still original research. Go to Google, and type this into the search bar: "flintstones" anachronism -wordpress.com -blogspot.com -blog and look for reliable sources. You can also filter the results like this: "flintstones" anachronism site:nytimes.com to only search The New York Times. Then, once you've got your citation, add it to the article. NinjaRobotPirate (talk) 19:14, 15 June 2014 (UTC)

I have no desire to post my esthetic or intellectual judgment of The Flintstones, which is not within the scope of the article The talk page may contain opinion as a means of discussing what fits and what does not. The enumerated anachronisms in the introduction say enough about the cartoon. I would need a source to state that the Flintstones depict a stereotyped blue-collar worker of the 1950s who hates his work but loves what it buys (well documented in sociological research) -- but that is hardly the focus of the article. Objects and institutions out of time are anachronisms. The cartoon, as are almost all Hollywood productions (including cartoons) for mass audiences, highly scripted; nothing appears without a purpose.

So which of the following are not anachronisms in any Stone Age?

Industrial labor? (late 18th century) Writing? (early civilizations, different times... Egypt, China, Sumer, the Levant) Motor vehicles? (nineteenth century) Clocks as timing devices? (late middle ages) Neckties? (Middle ages -- cravats associated with Croatian soldiers) Ranch-style houses? (common beginning in the 1940s) Domestication of cats? (ancient Egypt) Domestication of dogs? (end of the stone age) Awareness of dinosaurs and saber-tooth cats (nineteenth century) Restaurants of any kind? (China before the time of Marco Polo) Fast food in drive-in restaurants (1930s at the earliest) Postal service? (early modernity) Heavy equipment? (after automobiles)

That is from the highly-visible introduction to a cartoon series in existence for over 50 years. Whether either of us likes it or not, that cartoon is not going away. A dozen highly-visible anachronisms in 36 seconds establishes clearly what one can expect -- even more of them as gags. Low-brow entertainment can persist for years.Pbrower2a (talk) 21:21, 15 June 2014 (UTC)

It has become apparent to me that you wish to debate the themes of The Flintstones, and I am completely uninterested in doing so. If you have specific questions about the article, feel free to post here, but I'm not going to respond any further to debates about themes in TV shows. If you want to debate the themes of TV shows, I suggest you start a blog. NinjaRobotPirate (talk) 21:33, 15 June 2014 (UTC)

The clips are valid unless they can be shown to be less than genuine. You have a case against them if you can show them non-genuine. What you see is what you get. They show genuine anachronisms that can be no accident. Indeed they are likely more genuine than the image from a theme park. Non-avian dinosaurs in the presence of humanity at any stage of human evolution is the most blatant one. The largest cat that one could ever safely keep as a pet is a large breed of domestic cat (the Maine Coon Cat?)

Either clip (but especially the better-known clip that introduces every episode of the Flintstones) that I found funny as a child and find worthy of flight as an adult begins with the second "Meet the Flintstones" introduction. Ten or more anachronisms in thirty-six seconds is an amazing concentration of them (I listed them, and it would be easy to track when the items were introduced), and these are not equivalents to such accidents as the outline of a wristwatch appearing under a toga, a jet vapor trail in the skies above the Old West, or a tire track from a motion picture camera within the scene long before that sort of tire was manufactured.

We have far from a perfect view of the Stone Age. But there were no motor vehicles, no neckties, no mail service, restaurants, fast food, ranch-style houses, or cinema in the time. That's from the second clip. From the original intro there were no freeway interchanges, cops, fire brigades, or televisions, either. Need I give source citations of dates in which those things were introduced? The Flintstones is simply extreme in the presentation of anachronisms. Pbrower2a (talk) 16:28, 16 June 2014 (UTC)

No. You are interpreting primary sources, which is explicitly forbidden on Wikipedia. I gave you very specific and detailed instructions on how to properly add content to the article in compliance with Wikipedia's guidelines and policies. This is getting tedious and verges on "I didn't hear that." NinjaRobotPirate (talk) 16:49, 16 June 2014 (UTC)

Description of items in original material is not interpretation. It's as if I said without attribution that the painting The Persistence of Memory (Salvador Dalí) contains four distorted pocket watches. Barring an optical illusion (other than intended animation) or trompe-l'oeuil, what one sees is what one gets in a primary source.

1. I describe the items by function or form as they are shown, static or in motion. There could be no alternative explanation. 2. I give a citation of the historical time of introduction of every item. I even have a citation that the ancient Egyptians were the first people to have cats of any kind as household pets and of the first recorded instance of mail service. 3. I have a timing on the clip (36 seconds) and I can count the anachronisms. Any conclusion on the unusual frequency of anachronisms would be for the reader. 4. I use only the second clip because the first one is rarely used as an introduction. )It was new to me). 5. I am not going to discuss any individual episode -- just the commonplace introduction. I have no desire to go deep into the series.

I'm not going to discuss workplace alienation or mindless consumerism (both of which are interpretations) commonplace among blue-collar workers in the 1950s. Such would be an aspect of satire, and I really would need sources on those.

Brevity is an objective. So is completeness of expression. I cut one example myself due to an alternative explanation. Pbrower2a (talk) 19:30, 16 June 2014 (UTC)

@Pbrower2a:. You still don't seem to have grasped what NinjaRobotPirate – and I – object to in your edits. Nobody is denying that The Flintstones is filled with deliberate anachronisms; and nobody is claiming that it is "low culture" and therefore unworthy of consideration. Nor is anybody saying that, in the right circumstances, it couldn't be cited in this article as an example of the conscious use of anachronism. The problem is that there are hundreds and thousands of TV shows, films and books out there that include anachronisms, so "the right circumstances" means that there has to be some very good reason to highlight this one; and that reason has to be that a reliable secondary source, in print or online, has discussed or at least referred to the anachronisms in the show – has said something like "much of the humor of the show depends on adaptations of the technology and lifestyles of the United States in the 1950s to a stone-age setting". If you can find, and reference, something like that (and I suspect that if you look you probably can), then I for one would be happy to see it included in this article. NinjaRobotPirate has already given you step-by-step instructions on how to go about googling it; another strategy would be just to look though some of the references cited in The Flintstones article. I strongly suggest that you stop trying to argue the case for your interpretation of the evidence, and start looking for somebody else's interpretation. GrindtXX (talk) 00:59, 17 June 2014 (UTC)

Sleeper (Woody Allen film)[edit]

In view of its creator and star, Woody Allen, the movie Sleeper is satire of trends of the 1970s placed in a futuristic setting. I'm giving as an anachronism a reference to a historical event (the abandonment of clerical celibacy by the Roman Catholic Church) in which a character ("Miles Monroe") finds a 1990 newspaper that refers to the "wife of the Pope" having children. Such would not happen for at least 24 years after the time suggested in the newspaper.

Nobody says that this movie is orthodox science fiction (note that tobacco and junk food have been found wholesome and organic foods have been found harmful in an Orwellian world), but a reference to a 1990 event that is shown to be impossible because a prediction of an institutional change that does not happen for a significant time later becomes an anachronism after 1991. Pbrower2a (talk) 12:14, 19 July 2014 (UTC)

@Pbrower2a: Please stop adding unsourced content to this article. It's becoming disruptive now. NinjaRobotPirate (talk) 14:16, 19 July 2014 (UTC)

The source for the jest is the script. Try finding the script, as it is almost certainly locked up (due to proprietary reasons fully justifiable) and accessible only to those few persons who have access to the film vault. I heard it with my own two ears, and my hearing is adequate. Go ahead -- see the movie and hear for yourself; it is very entertaining and intelligent. Clerical celibacy implies no wife and no kids, at least in 1990. This is a key institution of the Roman Catholic Church, one that distinguishes it from almost every other Christian sect.

I cannot get a screen capture which would get the jest in literal words.

The only ambiguity possible is that someone with the surname "Pope" -- a politician, a senior military officer, a high-profile scholar, an entrepreneur, an athlete, an entertainer, etc. But that would be someone like "Bill Pope", and not the supreme leader of the Roman Catholic Church.

Do I need a source to establish that the Roman Catholic Church continues to mandate clerical celibacy which implies that the pope of the time (then John Paul II) could marry? If the paper had been linked to "2040" it would not yet be an anachronism. Until the Roman Catholic Church abandons clerical celibacy or ever elects someone exempt from clerical celibacy the jest is about something that never happened until then. If the Roman Catholic Church were to abandon clerical celibacy, then such would be huge news.

That John Paul II/ Karol Wojtila never married is enough to make the joke an anachronism.

"Citation needed" would be adequate. Pbrower2a (talk) 19:58, 19 July 2014 (UTC)

A news story about the Pope having a wife and children would itself be an anachronism as a prediction of an event that could never happen before the date in question. Such is the inverse of calling the city on the Neva "Leningrad" after 1991.Pbrower2a (talk) 14:27, 20 July 2014 (UTC)

The version that I use for Sleeper is the theatrical version on Blu-Ray disc. Versions for broadcast TV networks may have excised the joke, according to the Wikipedia article. Can I cite the disc itself as a source?Pbrower2a (talk) 15:08, 20 July 2014 (UTC)

@Pbrower2a: You are treading dangerously close to a block for disruptive editing. The next warning that you get will your final warning, and, after that, you will likely be temporarily blocked from editing Wikipedia. As has been explained to you numerous times, no, you may not use the disc itself. Stop rehashing the same arguments and ignoring clear, concise explanations of Wikipedia policy. I mean this seriously: if you do not stop, I will seek administrative assistance to remove your ability to continue to disrupt this article. If you honestly do not understand why I am opposed to your edits, read the previous discussion. I'm tired of repeating myself, and I'm only replying to you now in order to warn you about your current course of action. Do not take this message as an invitation to argue with me about whether some film or TV series is an example of anachronism in fiction, because I will not engage with you on that topic. NinjaRobotPirate (talk) 15:31, 20 July 2014 (UTC)

@Pbrower2a: In the edits you have made, I don't see a reliable source. What is the source for the information you want to add? Sunray (talk) 18:10, 21 July 2014 (UTC)

@Sunray: He thinks that we (me and GrindtXX (talk · contribs)) are opposed to the inclusion of the topic, rather than opposed to original research. I have attempted to assist him with locating reliable sources and have given him explicit examples of how to add content to the article via Google searches, but it seems to be for naught. Maybe someone else can reach him; he apparently does not read my messages and wishes only to debate whether his original analysis is correct. NinjaRobotPirate (talk) 19:18, 21 July 2014 (UTC)
Thanks for your comment. I am looking forward to hearing from Pbrower2a Sunray (talk) 22:21, 21 July 2014 (UTC)

It is one joke, and it is about change in the behavior of an institution that never happened. I'm not discussing technologies or political changes that would happen between 2015 and 2173 as depicted in the movie. The joke is about an event depicted in what was by 2173 as something in the distant past (1990). 1990 is already past in 2014.

Institutional practices shown in fiction can be anachronistic -- but so can predictions of change within institutional practices. Even if the prediction is facetious (I doubt that Woody Allen took seriously that the Vatican would abandon clerical celibacy) it is an anachronism.

I DO NOT HAVE ACCESS TO THE SCRIPT. All that I have is the video disc.

So what could discredit the contention of an anachronism?

1."Miles Monroe" is illiterate. He might be dumb, but not that dumb. If he can read music he can read.

2. His first language is something other than English (not likely), or the paper is in a language other than English and he reads the language in that paper badly. What? Spanish? In Spanish the words for "Pope" and "potato" are similar. No, a potato would not have a wife who has twins.

3. That "Pope" is a reference to a surname rather than to the head of the Roman Catholic Church. Thus it is a Mr. Pope, who might be anything other than THE Pope -- let us say an athlete, politician, or entertainer. Such would be trivial. So far as I know there was nobody surnamed Pope in 1990 whose wife having a baby would be a first-page story.

4. Miles Monroe gets the date of the paper wrong. But its year obviously begins "19" and it is found in a Volkswagen Beetle that was apparently abandoned around 1990.

5. Some process could alter words in a 183-year-old newspaper without making the newspaper completely illegible. I have never seen a 183-year-old newspaper (but I have seen some around 140 years old) and that process denies the laws of chance.

Any of these would require an interpretation of an original source, which violates Wiki policies. Now THAT would be original research!

So let us suppose that the Vatican abandons the demand for clerical celibacy in 2060. We still have an anachronism.

...Is it unnecessary? I think not. For good reason a movie easily forgotten (or remembered for all the wrong reasons) would not deserve attention for an anachronism. One could see the movie (on television) and see the joke excised either for its blasphemy (before 1990) or the anachronism (1990 or later). If it is deleted as an anachronism, then it is retconned, which allows it to be shown just after the "Leningrad" reference in Star Trek IV.

I have a source on clerical celibacy: [1] canon 1087, still valid in 2014. I did not think that a problem. A Roman Catholic priest can have a wife and children -- but only as the result of becoming a Roman Catholic priest after leaving another church and being accepted as a priest. The Roman Catholic Church has not yet (as of 2014) merged with some Protestant church with the acceptance of its clergy as Catholic priests.Pbrower2a (talk) 19:34, 26 July 2014 (UTC)

@Pbrower2a: Please stop wasting your time and everyone else's. Nobody is interested. Practically every work of fiction or art ever produced claiming to represent the historical past contains anachronisms. Practically every work of fiction or art claiming to represent the future contains predictions which turn out to be incorrect. There are literally millions of examples that could be mentioned here, but the article does not need more examples. What it does need are references to secondary sources that discuss anachronism. If you wish to contribute constructively to this article, please go and find some of those. GrindtXX (talk) 01:14, 27 July 2014 (UTC)
Right now, I think a sourced definition would be quite helpful. Although I found a few on Google Books, they discussed it in terms of academic research, and this article seems more oriented toward cultural depictions. NinjaRobotPirate (talk) 01:55, 27 July 2014 (UTC)

The artwork[edit]

Is it not possible that the Last Supper, Aristotle etc. are portrayed in that manner because that's exactly what they actually looked like? They're only 'anachronistic' to people raised in the modern education system. And yes, furthering investigation into this would be improving the article, by making it look less ridiculous POV. — Preceding unsigned comment added by 197.88.61.166 (talk) 15:06, 25 March 2017 (UTC)

The Bible, The Koran, The Torah all forgotten in the article[edit]

Clearly there is religious bias in the article. Without mentioning the anachronism in the Bible, Torah, Koran, it leaves the article obviously slanted in support of the most popular anachronisms in the world: Religious holy texts. --68.173.189.62 (talk) 21:16, 19 September 2019 (UTC)

Removal of the Last Supper picture[edit]

I hope my bold removal of the main image wasn't uncalled for. I've read the source that was given and I don't think it says what the caption was saying it did.

The source writes this:

Even the rectangular shape of the table, and the placement of the sitters along one side, is an anachronism.

Wikipedia's caption wrote this:

The Last Supper by Leonardo da Vinci, 1498, depicts Jesus and the apostles sitting at a long table. This kind of table was unknown at the time and place of the Last Supper.

That is not what the source is saying. The source is saying that da Vinci departed from the artistic convention of depicting the last supper with a curved table. Sure, long tables may not have been common then, and you could argue that someone of Jesus's social standing would not have had access to a big fancy table, but it is ridiculous to claim that people 2000 years ago did not know about long tables. Obviously the author, an art historian and expert, is much more credible than me, but I think he misses the point. I've looked at the definition of an anachronism and I don't think what he calls an anachronism is an anachronism. At its simplest: an anachronism is a thing belonging or appropriate to a period other than that in which it exists. It's not unrealistic for a long, rectangular table to appear in this time period. It may not be historically accurate, but that doesn't mean it belongs to a different time period.

He also says that "the practice of seating diners along only one side, with servants attending to their duties from the other side, was reserved for particularly wealthy households, hardly a likely scenario for Jesus and the apostles." I'm not sure what the point here is. Da Vinci likely just put them on one side of the table so we could see all their faces. What was he gonna do, have half of them with their backs to us? The same thing happens in plays and sitcoms; it's called blocking.

There's a lot of very interesting information about the symbolism of different types of tables (straight tables are hierarchical [someone has to be at the head], while round tables tend to show a sense of fraternal fellowship and equality) but I don't think this is a good example of an anachronism.

Duey (talk) 05:49, 20 December 2020 (UTC)