"Freedom is not merely the opportunity to do as one pleases; neither is it merely the opportunity to choose between set alternatives. Freedom is, first of all, the chance to formulate the available choices, to argue over them -- and then, the opportunity to choose." ~ C. Wright Mills
Morons Rule the World
Exclusive to STR
April 25, 2007
'Idiocracy' is a film that was released in 2006 to little fanfare. In it, Joe 'average' is put into a hibernated sleep in a military experiment. (They wanted to 'freeze' a woman too, but couldn't find one of average intelligence within the military.) Due to a bit of government oversight, Joe wakes up--not one year later, but 500 years later. He finds the world is run by morons. Wait! There are differences ' really!
The first time I watched 'Idiocracy,' I found myself in a kind of humorous denial. I realized I was attempting to distance myself from what I was seeing on the screen. The second viewing broke through my wall of denial. I was stunned by its accuracy and relevance to the current state of politics. I'm beginning to see it everywhere now, like a bad dream from which I cannot awaken.
The film depicts, as the norm, masses being dazzled by money and sex. (No really, there are differences!) For instance, if you want to sell something, put boobs on it. (Oh wait--we're already doing that. You can't pass a billboard, catch a liquor ad, a talk show, reality show, or an evening soap opera without it. The Sports Illustrated 'Swimsuit Edition' belongs in a different section of the bookstore.)
The main differences between now and five centuries into the future were slight improvements over what we have today. Well--other than the trash building up in urban 'ambalanches.' But how different is that? No one likes taking out the trash today, either. Hundreds of thousands of bodies in Iraq are piling up and no one is doing anything to reduce it or even wondering where they all go.
The one actual advantage of a culture which continually degenerates into illiterate idiocy is that mass murder by government becomes unnecessary. In a world of ignorant compliance, governments have no need to expend the time, money or resources necessary to commit atrocities on a grand scale in order to keep anyone in line. Their time is much better spent watching the eight-time Academy Award winner 'Ass' and making dozens of babies each and lots more trash.
In short, everything in the future is much the same, only more simple and straightforward.
'I'm somebody cuz I got this here big medal.'
In 2505, the American 'president' is a five-time wresting champion and porn star with what appears to be elephantitis of the biceps. A State of the Union address is more like a champion entering a ring, to much fanfare, wearing a skin-tight red and white striped body suit, rather than the mock dignity of mass murders that our lugubrious leaders don today.
WWW President Man is macho enough to drive his own 'big wheels' on parade. He is possibly smarter and definitely more fun to watch than GWB. The greatest distinction: WWW Man put his money where his mouth was and actually got into the ring himself. Although admittedly not as deadly, his wrestling is, for this reason, slightly more authentic than GWB's armchair flame throwing. Either way, it's all a dog and pony show for the masses and cash cow for big daddy prez.
In 2505, the president's 'cabinet' consists of a porn queen (with gigantic boobs, but you already guessed that). The president's brother-in-law gets to be Secretary of Education. He possesses possibly the lowest IQ in the film--he can't actually speak. He's even more stupid than the kid who won a contest to become a cabinet member. They all get to wear big, shiny medals on their chests, though, like something out of 'The Wizard of Oz,' only much more flashy and kitsch. No change in their effectiveness in 500 years.
You might argue that present day politicians are much more professional than in this film. There's the 'Governator' of California ("I think that gay marriage is something that should be between a man and a woman"). We can't forget Bill 'define sex' Clinton and his liberal wife 'an all volunteer military isn't getting it anymore' Hillary. There is 'superlobbyist' Jack Abramoff or House Representative Mark (what page are we on?) Foley. The man with his finger on 'the button' can't even say 'nuclear.' (This should really scare you.)
By 2505, large vocabulary words and even distinct languages are history. Communication is a combination of street talk, street 'cred' and gesticulation. Anything more thought-worthy is considered 'fag talk' and will probably get you beat up. Reading is a thing of the past. Recliners with built-in toilets are standard fare at suburb-sized Costcos, where one can also obtain a law degree if your father had a membership, or a big member or something.
One refreshing item in the film is that the pretense of separation between government and big business is done away with. Instead of the slow bleeding that is regulation today, in the future a sports drink manufacturer actually buys the FDA and the FCC and hangs their brand name right on the buildings. In this way, they can say whatever they want about their product without the usual bureaucratic hoop jumping, kowtowing and shakedown for protection money.
Also, the world's oldest profession finally comes out of the closet. Starbucks is the new red light district and 'latte' is a euphemism for services. There are three kinds of latte; prices are posted on the blacked out windows. Also, modern medicine has brought the miracle of improved sexual function, allowing morons with 20 or 30 kids by a dozen different women to continue to reproduce in perpetuity.
Average Joe discovers that in future America , you can still be anything you want to be when you grow up. He seeks out medical advice for his disorientation and is advised: 'Relax, scro, there are lots of 'tards out there living useful lives--my first wife was a moron, now she's a pilot!' This from a doctor smoking a joint the size of a Cuban, telling average Joe to 'cut out that fag talk' and then charging him for the 'consultation.' I've had similarly effective consultations from upstanding members of the AMA. You know the ones I mean--they recommend vaccinations with mercury in them for your children. In fact, being good citizens, they'll rat you out to the nanny state if you should refuse.
'A Person is Smart. People are Stupid.' (MIB)
There were some sad parts in this film--sadly accurate. People are still arrested by clueless power trippers for 'crimes' against nothing, humiliated, subjugated, numbered and housed like animals. The pain of this reality was dulled for me by my teenage daughter asking about the televised 'Monday Night Rehabilitation.' 'Is it just me, or do those machines look like oversized phallic symbols to you, too?'
The saddest aspect of 'Idiocracy' was not the landing with a thud of the unabashed, reptilian rush for instant, shallow gratification towards which our culture spirals. It was the tenacity with which the moronic masses chanted the party line. 'It's what plants crave' and 'brought to you by Carl Jr.' If it's advertised repeatedly on the most popular show in America , 'Ow, my balls!', it must be right.
The only way poor Joe 'Average' survives the urban jungle is to stop trying to convince morons of anything and just speak their language in terms they understand--money ('Oh I like mon-ey,) sex ('I really like sex') and by taking advantage of their stupidity. Like today's politicians, the future average guy quickly learns to adopt the useful art of concocting nonsensical phrases, much like 'rogue regime,' 'spreading democracy,' 'axis of evil,' or 'Al-Qaeda.' They may sound important and therefore legitimate, but the real meaning is either non-existent, the polar opposite, or otherwise safely obscured from non-thinking sheepletons.
Is this film so far-fetched? Replace the party line with 'Freedom Isn't Free,' 'Support Our Troops,' 'Guns are bad' and the distinctions blur. Today average Americans are afraid to look stupid or bad if they question the status quo, so they don't. Is being unable to question it so different? So long as they keep getting a nugget every time they hit the voting lever, they just keep paying their taxes and bobbing their heads like the hollow, plastic dog statue in the rear window of Grandpa's Buick. Life is so much easier this way--so what if you get dumber by the minute? That's what the department of edjumacation is for. 'If you're so smart, you'd know that, eh?!'