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Lights, camera, plastics—part 1

A short exchange between college grad Ben Braddock (Dustin Hoffman) and Mr. McGuire (Walter Brooke) in Mike Nichol's The Graduate from 1967 is etched in the minds of an entire generation. I just want to say one word to you. Just one word. Yes, sir. Are you listening? Yes, I am. Plastics. Exactly how do you mean?

A short exchange between college grad Ben Braddock (Dustin Hoffman) and Mr. McGuire (Walter Brooke) in Mike Nichol's The Graduate from 1967 is etched in the minds of an entire generation.

I just want to say one word to you. Just one word.

Yes, sir.

Are you listening?

Yes, I am.

Plastics.

Exactly how do you mean?

There's a great future in plastics. Think about it. Will you think about it?

Yes, I will.

Enough said. That's a deal.

Nowadays, especially within the plastics community, that dialogue is seen as prescient, since plastics did have—and continues to have—a bright future. But that was not the intent of the screenwriter, of course.

Even as plastic revolutionized product design and even art in the 1960s, hippies and many young people at the time projected onto it their rejection of a shallow, inauthentic society. Hoffman's expression during the conversation referenced above speaks volumes about his idea of a career in plastics.

The hippies had their comeuppance in the early and mid 1970s, when generations of glam and then punk rockers rejected, in turn, hippie values and embraced plastic in all its facets.

Next slide  From 1999: A rose is (not) a rose is (not) a rose . . .

The Graduate

TAGS: Materials
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