Wednesday, December 25, 2013

2012: The Year That "Idiocracy" Moments Broke the Scale, Part 1


As our friend Bil pointed out in a comment on our colleague Noah's Sunday evening post "Need a last-minute Christmas gift suggestion?," Noah has not done one of his traditional blockbuster multipart end-of-year holiday series. I'm afraid plates have been rather full in the Noah household this holiday season, but I thought what we might do is to repeat last year's enormously popular series based on one of Noah's favorite films, Mike Judge's Idiocracy. (Also check out Noah's new "50 Years Ago Today: The Beatles" and "A Tale of Two Popes -- the one in the Vatican and the one in North Carolina.") -- Ken

2012 was the year of the memorable "Idiocracy moment" when a Republican presidential candidate couldn't count to 3.

by Noah

One of my favorite films of all time is Mike Judge’s Idiocracy. Is it a great film, strictly speaking? No. Does it hold more truths about the sad state of our society than any ten other films? Absolutely! It is the world that I see around me.

The Idiocracy world that Judge depicts takes place 500 years in the future, but if you stream or rent the movie, you might find yourself swearing that Judge either made the movie back in 1512 and imagined our present, or that the movie is just an ever so slightly exaggerated documentary of today's world.  In the movie, an ordinary guy, Pvt. Joe Bauers (Luke Wilson), finds himself the victim of a Pentagon experiment gone awry. He is put into suspended animation and is due to be woken up in exactly one year. However, when the man in charge of the experiment is given the pink slip, Bauers is completely forgotten about, only to awaken 500 years later in a world where 500 years of the dumbing down of our culture has digressed so far that he finds himself in a world where he is considered a genius simply because he can put a coherent sentence together and knows that crops need water, not sports drinks with extra electrolytes and vitamins, in order to grow.

Having served my time in corporate America, I can relate to Joe Bauers. It's a world where you better park most of your vocabulary in the back of your brain, and God help you if you know how to sell your product or use logic to solve a problem. You might be askin' for a beatdown.

In the world of the future, or tomorrow, literally tomorrow, Google is now a porn site. In fact, virtually every corporation has become some sort of sex-oriented enterprise. FedX is now FedXXX. U.S News & World Report is now Hot Naked Chicks and World Report (above), and a fast food chicken place, Pollo Borracho, features "ADULT CHICKEN -- Bucket of Wings with 'Full Release' " (below).

In the same time, corporate sponsorship has taken the next, most obviously logical step. The stars on our flag are now fast-food chain Carl's Jr. yellow stars, and even federal government buildings (State Dept., Agriculture Dept., etc.) are named like sports stadiums. Also, the president of the United States is an ex-professional wrestler. (Jesse Ventura, anyone?) Really, the world of Idiocracy is not much of a stretch from our present day.

With all that said, I have gathered up a small list of some "Idiocracy moments" that I observed over the crazy year of 2012, a year where the Idiocracy really came to the foreground -- the biggest, saddest reality show of all time.

1. The Entire Republican Primary Season

There's no need to go into detail here. It was an appalling scene that played out across the months. Fast Food man Herman Cain -- 9-9-9. Rick Perry, who incredibly is the governor of a whole state, reportedly hates Methodists for welcoming gays, and he can’t even count to 3 (see clip above). Newt "I'm Gonna Be the Candidate" Gingrich, Mitt "Corporations Are People, My Friend" Romney -- take your pick. Perfect Idiocracy.

Here’s Idiocracy’s President Comacho. Just imagine if Herman Cain was president and some Idiocracy congressloon from South Carolina shouted out, "You lie!"
PRESIDENT COMACHO: Shit! I know shit's fucked up right now with all that starving bullshit, and all the dust storms, and we're running out of French fries and burrito coverings. But I got a solution!
SOUTH CAROLINA REPRESENTATIVE: That's what you said last time, dipshit.
Like I said, Idiocracy is only a slight exaggeration of our reality. Or is it an exaggeration at all?

2. Bad, bad computer!

As I write this post, a madman who serves as the head of a front for the armaments industry and gun runners everywhere, a man named Wayne LaPierre, is giving a crazed, desperate, evil lecture on my TV, like some cartoonish Latin American dictator from the 1960s. He is extolling the virtues of gun owners, promoting sales of more and more guns and ammo, and blaming recent mass murders on everything under the sun except the out-of-control proliferation of guns in our country, and calling for not one more law. It's another "out of my cold dead hands" moment and more. To him, the solution is more, more, more. Sell, sell, sell!

Back in February, a North Carolina man, infuriated when his spoiled teenage daughter complained on her Facebook page about having to do some household chores, did what any good old rational yahoo would do.

He took the computer, which his daughter no doubt used for school, out in the backyard, set up a camera, and pulled out his .45 and blew it away with nine shots to the hard drive! Then he put it up on YouTube to show the world what a great "take charge of the situation" parent he is. Now, that’s teaching that damn computer machine! Guns don’t kill computers. People kill computers!

I'm glad he didn't shoot his sweet little princess. That happens a lot in our society. And I know kids can be really frustrating little critters but, what has he taught his child? Kids often end up solving problems as adults the same way their parents did. Monkey see, monkey do. Maybe one day she'll be using an AK-47 on her kids' computers.  LaPierre will, of course, blame a video game or some heavy-metal record, but maybe, instead of blaming Hollywood, he should blame the movie this father made, if he wants to blame movies.

Meanwhile, how much of the kid's schoolwork was on that computer? And, how attention-craving do you have to be that you film the episode and upload it to YouTube? He didn't exactly keep the discipline in the family or in the house, did he? Is Daddy teaching his kid a lesson at this point, or is he just hoping for some notoriety? Well, you got it, buddy. This clown is a candidate for the Jerry Springer Show. They can have a "Dads Who Shoot Inanimate Objects" day -- sponsored by the NRA, of course.

Personally, I save my gunplay for vending machines that don't give me what I paid for. Not to worry, I only used licensed weapons, except for that time I put a grenade in the dispenser slot, pulled the pin with a string, and ran away. (Idiot me: I didn’t think to film it!) LaPierre would probably defend that.

In Idiocracy, a frustrated woman robbed by a vending machine freaks out all over it, until a vapor of traquilizer sprays her and she is carted away. Don't hit your laptop. One day soon, the newest version of Windows might have that spray feature.

3. The Bizarre Inner World of Tennessee State Sen. Stacey Campfield

Stacey Campfield worships at the church of his own ignorance. He thinks you choose to be gay. No! You, Stacy, and others like you, choose to be ignorant fools.

Campfield is the man who spearheaded Tennessee’s "Don’t Say Gay" bill. That's it! Don’t say it and "it" won’t exist! Brilliant! If only this were true, I would never say "Republican" again. And oh, how I long for a world where you could just not say "Hannity"!

More evidence of Senator Campfield’s brilliance includes these timeless utterances:
"That bullying thing is the biggest lark out there."

"Most people realize that AIDS came from the homosexual community. . . . It was one guy screwing a monkey, if I recall correctly, and then having sex with men. It was an airline pilot, if I recall."

"My understanding is that it is virtually, not completely, but virtually, impossible to contract AIDS through heterosexual sex . . . very rarely."

"What's the average lifespan of a homosexual? It's very short. Google it yourself."

"Homosexuals represent about 2 to 3 percent of the population, yet you look at television and plays and theaters, it's 50% of the theaters, probably more than that, 50% of the theaters based on something about homosexuality."

"There was a time when reading wasn't just for fags. And neither was writing. People wrote books and movies. Movies with stories. . . . "
Disclaimer: One of the above quotes in fact is from Idiocracy. I'll let you decide which.

Tennesseeans must be very proud of this guy. They obviously feel that he speaks for them. He is also known for referring to Africans as not being "regular people."


What passes for the corporate geniuses at 20th Century FOX buried Idiocracy. They couldn't handle the truth. The movie was shown in fewer than 10 theaters nationwide and it was gone. Or so they thought. Since then, sentient human beings have had their say. The movie has -- like Judge's previous film, Office Space -- become a huge DVD and late-night-cable-TV hit. It escaped the clutches of the Hollywood troglodytes. Damn subversive!



The world of Mike Judge's 2006 film Idiocracy, projected for 500 years into the future, arrives 494 years early!

"As the 21st century began, human evolution was at a turning point. Natural selection, the strongest, the smartest, the fastest, reproduced in greater numbers than the rest, a process which had once favored the noblest traits of man, now began to favor different traits. Most science fiction of the day predicted a future that was more civilized and more intelligent, but as time went on, things seemed to be heading in the opposite direction. A dumbing down. How did this happen? Evolution doesn't necessarily reward intelligence. With no natural predators to thin the herd, it began to simply reward those who reproduced the most and left the intelligent to become an endangered species."
-- The Narrator, Idiocracy

Part 1: 2012: The Year That Idiocracy Moments Broke the Scale
Part 2: More Idiocracy Moments for 2012
Part 3: Republicans Seek to Create a New Country. It's Called Crackpotopia!!!
Part 4: Special Arkansas Edition
Part 5: The U.S. $enate Meets with Its Landlord

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At 8:46 PM, Blogger Stentor said...

Idiocracy was originally based on a short story by Cyril M. Kornbluth called The Marching Morons. I remember because a friend of mine back in the 70s when I was in high school had a collection of C.M. Kornbluth stories in one book, & I read all of them, The Black Bag, The Mindworm, Friend To Man, With These Hands, Thirteen O'Clock, & many others. He died of a heart attack at age 34 on a train platform in Levittown after shoveling out his driveway trying to make it to a meeting in New York City. He was truly ahead of his time, a lost talent.

At 6:45 AM, Anonymous Bil said...

Thanks Ken, THANKS Noah for these terrifying memories.

Idiocracy is almost too good in its badness.
Thanks Stentor, on to Amazon to check out a Cyril M. Kornbluth collection.


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