We finally saw Moonfall the other weekend, not expecting much. Which is always a good thing with Roland Emmerich, today’s Irwin Allen “Master of Disaster” type director. But the sighing and eye rolls and general contempt began almost immediately with hubby.
Even though Star Wars isn’t sci-fi but sci-fi fantasy, whenever Padme (Natalie Portman) hopped into a ship and appeared somewhere across space an hour or two later, I thought hubby would lose his religion. Similarly, in Moonfall, the astronauts’ two-hour trip to the moon was met with unmitigated disgust.
“It would take at least two weeks to get to the moon,” he informed me.
The shuttle flying through space, the vehicle’s rear lighting up with a warm glow from the engines, received a caustic, “The shuttle doesn’t have engines.” (They do at first, but later, evidently at this point, not anymore).
When a gigantic space rock smashed into the outside and the vehicle continued on with no apparent damage, I worried about epilepsy: that’s how far his eyes rolled into the back of his head. “Those things are basically made of tissue paper,” he told me, and released an embittered, bone-weary sigh.
Movies are for entertainment, right? And while our subconscious may know better, our frontal lobe will simply immediately decide, “It’s the future. Must be future stuff.” Most people just wanna have fun at the movies. Unlike my husband, most people didn’t write a letter to NASA as a kid. So, yeah…nerd alert!
When we re-watched Idiocracy the other day, though, the levels of stupidity there, along with some accurate crystal balling of our future (an idiotic president, for one, surrounding himself with a moronic, clueless administration) was simultaneously hilarious and horrifying.
There’s even a word for it, coined as far back as the 17th century: kakistocracy. A government run by the worst, least qualified, or most unscrupulous citizens. I’ve never heard that word before. Which makes me feel like I’m on the way to my own idiocracy!
And it’s not getting any better. Take a gander at today’s headlines. Sarah “What’s the difference between North and South Korea?” Palin is now running for Congress.
Here’s IMDB’s blurb for Mike Judge’s 2006 dystopian movie Idiocracy: Private Joe Bauers, a decisively average American, is selected as a guinea pig for a top-secret hibernation program but is forgotten, awakening to a future so incredibly moronic he’s easily the most intelligent person alive.
In my personal opinion, being dumb, unambitious and/or overly greedy, and lacking any sense of propriety began, insidiously, with Married with Children in the ‘80s.
Although All in the Family preceded Married with Children by well over a decade, its MO included outrage against much of Archie Bunker’s behavior, along with discussions of morality conundrums and other various points of view.
By the time we’d reached Married with Children, laughter replaced ideals and high ratings eliminated any hope for principles or integrity. Just chug the Cola and guffaw. Still, we were kind of laughing at Al Bundy and his gang, not with them. Which made them sort of harmless, in a way, but still deceptively dangerous. Why?
Because they paved the way for reality TV. The real villain, in my opinion, behind the adolescentization of America. And probably many other countries, but I haven’t researched those.
What’s included in adolescentization? (And yes, I made that word up) Chronological immaturity and emotional instability. An inability to speak coherently (what Idiocracy calls “the low registers of English”) for example, without saying “like” every other word. Cursing as a substitution for thought or reason. Gossip as an art form viewed as a necessary lifestyle component. An inability to laugh at oneself due to an inability to perceive “the bigger picture,” resulting in “hurt” feelings and a distorted sense of righteousness leading to revenge boycotts and cancel culture.
But more than anything, adolescentization’s most disturbing outcome may be that we’re all laughing with reality TV stars, not at them. We’re identifying and commiserating with them. Man, was Andy Warhol right! But 15 minutes of fame was only the tip of the iceberg. Just ask The Real World (on for 29 years), Survivor (21 years) and Cops, on for a surprising 32 years—cancelled after George Floyd’s death, but slowly reinstated back to business as usual (surprise, surprise!) as of 2021.
Meanwhile, in the real world, one headline on nationalreview.com says: Why Johnny Still Can’t Read. And goes on to claim: Public schools are passing students who can’t read at any level — all to avoid blaming teachers, lawmakers, and bureaucrats.
The website calmatter.org says: Results from the 2019 National Assessment of Educational Progress show that only 32% of fourth graders are reading proficiently.
Even more disturbing: “Reading tests have shown that 10 percent of Minnesota`s public high school juniors and seniors are functionally illiterate….”
This was a headline in the Chicago Tribune…from 1987! Right about when…hmm…Married With Children unleashed its brand of slovenly, cackling humor into the world.
In the end, $$ says it all. $$ is the root of all evil. You can’t take it with you (off Earth), but you can’t live without $$ while you’re on Earth. If the US military budget is $782 billion while spending for education in total for all of the country is “upwards to” (their words, not mine, meaning, I assume, it probably often does not reach up quite that far) $79 billion….. well, need I say more?
Actually, there is one thing we could say. What the greeter at the entrance of a popular warehouse store says in Idiocracy.
A paradoxical confluence of fact combined with an abrupt left turn away from said fact, compounding the hypnagogic state we’re all slowly succumbing to, undermining reality by diverting our attention elsewhere with something that has nothing to do with the original thing, but hopefully muddying up the waters enough that, in the process, we forget what we were thinking, especially if it was contrary in any way to what the puppet masters desired. See? Any idea how I started out that sentence? Of course not!
“Welcome to CostCo. I love you.”