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DUMMIED DOWN DEMOCRACY: IDIOCRACY

Review by Laura G. Brown

 

 

 

[HollywoodInvestigator.com]  Narrator: "The years passed. Mankind became stupider at a frightening rate. Some had high hopes that genetic engineering would correct this trend in evolution, but, sadly, the greatest minds and resources were focused on conquering hair loss and prolonging erections."

To Libertarians distressed by the Democratic Party's sweep of the 2008 elections: You can get some welcome comic relief in this hilarious DVD. What would the world be like if really, really dumb people took over? Idiocracy's writer/director, Mike Judge, (Beavis and Butthead) has some gaspingly funny insights.

Luke Wilson and Maya Rudolph star as test subjects accidentally sent 500 years into the future. They find neither a nuclear winter nor a gleaming scientific utopia. Instead, the future is full of idiots whose speech is a hybrid of valley girl, slang, and grunts. The most popular TV show is Ow, My Balls and seems to be a logical extension of reality shows like Jackass.

Free market types have long argued that if the market economy is quelled, no one will pick up the trash or make a milk carton that holds milk. Hayek lovers will relish Idiocracy's depiction of a reverse Galt's Gulch, where garbage heaps cause avalanches, crops fail because they're watered with Gatorade, and Carl's Jr., as a semi-public entity, provides the nation's food.

Here's an exchange between a woman and a Carl's Jr. computer after it spits out an empty box of EXTRA BIG ASS FRIES:

Woman: My kids are starvin'!

She kicks the computer, and it sprays a chloroform-like substance in her face, knocking her out.

Carl's Jr. computer: This should help you calm down. Please come back when you can afford to make a purchase. Your kids are starving. Carl's Jr. believes that no child should go hungry. You are an unfit mother. Your children will be placed in the custody of Carl's Jr.

 

 

 

 

Mike Judge bitingly attacks America's fast-food, consumer culture, and chains like Costco and Starbucks. The buzz among reviewers (e.g., "Paucity of Publicity" by NPR's Nihar Patel) is that 20th Century Fox, daunted by Judge's skewering of their corporate friends, gave Idiocracy a very limited release. (Seven cities, not including New York. No press kits. No trailer.) Patel wonders if Judge's scenes of Fox News anchored by pro wrestlers had anything to do with this.

Some opening sequences hint at racism. A white yuppie couple avoids having kids year after year, while their hillbilly counterparts keep turning out babies. Judge uses two white couples for his example, but it's clear that "less intelligent" people who procreate are leading the country to the brink of ruin.

C'mon, Judge, it's not who's having the babies; it's what the babies are exposed to that creates the biggest problems.

Idiocracy deserves to be discovered, because underneath its sometimes crude humor and silly plot devices, it has astute ideas. What happens when citizens can't solve society's problems because they are distracted, fed pabulum by the news media, stuffed with junk food, and disempowered?

 

 

Laura G. Brown is a teacher and writer living in San Gabriel, CA.

She is a veteran candidate for State Assembly on the Libertarian Party of California.

Her email: lauragbrown at sbcglobal dot net

 

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