Let's consider two examples:
Back to the future...
There are some phrases that are frequently misused in the English language,
and Back to the future is one of them. Usually the first thing that comes
to the mind when you hear that phrase is the 1985 movie of that title.
In that movie Marty McFly went from 1985, the prsent (at the time), back to
the past, 1955. He then tried to get back to 1985 which, from a
1955 perspective was the future. Thus the title phrase "back to the future"
In the fictional universe of the movie this all made perfect sense, but in
the real world it is absolute nonsense! Aside from the impossibility of
time travel, there is the logical issue of returning, going back, to a future
that you have never actually been to! That little inconsistency would be
bad enough, but the common usage of this phrase today is much worse than
#1 In a 1987 newspaper a sports colunmnist wrote how if he could go
"Back to the future" he would prevent all the bonehead sports trades that
have been made, some as far back as 1923!
#2 In a preview of an animated primetime series it was said that the
main character was going "Back to the Future" and then showed him in the
middle of the disco era.
In these two instances, and many more, it is obvious that the people grunting
the phrase "Back to the future" actually meant "back to the past".
Actually going back to the past would, of course be impossible, but at least it
makes logical sense.
Has our society degenerated to the point that people are so intellectually
lazy they cannot distinguish bewteen the past and the future? Only
time will tell. If people don't misuse the phrase "Back to the future"
20 years from now then there will be hope.
If they do then nothing will matter becuase we'll be condemned to an
endlessly repeating cycle as people keep taking the past and making it the
The 1968 movie The Illustrated Man featured a character who used the phrase
"back into the future" with a similar meaning