- Politics and Social Issues
The Idiocracy Prophecy
Please note that in the context of this hub I am using the word “prophet” in a non-religious context. The writings of Shakespeare have echoed through the times with concepts as fresh today as they were back in his day. In this Hub I had to use some “bad” words (proper names of TV show and Movies), so please forgive me.
It is hard to say who will be seen as a prophet in the future today. What we see as important today may be something trivial tomorrow. Today we view such people as Late President Harry S Truman as great men, but in his time he was considered a failure with an approval rating only seen by congress today. They say history is written by the winner, but it is also rewritten by the children of those winner. The life of a prophet's words are in their availability and the ability to translate them into a modern setting. Using that as a guide line the modern prophets are the entertainers (writers, movie makers, and etc.). That is not to say that all entertainers will be seen as visionaries to be studied in the future. There is a difference between meaningful and meaningless, but that is not for me to decide. That’s what people in the future will decide. There are people who see the works of Michael Moore as fitting within this context. Only time will tell if his take on social issues will be timeless or dated. So to say someone is a modern prophet (using my view) is a bit of an oxymoron. Having said that I want to say that the Mike Judge Movie from 2009 Idiocracy may indeed become a work of prophecy. God I hope I’m wrong.
To give context to the movie I will give a brief description of the movie. Idiocracy is a comedy about an average man played by Luke Wilson who is volunteered by the Army to be put into cryonic sleep for one year, but because of a mishap he and a prostitute played by Maya Rudolph are frozen for 500 years. In that time the fabled dumbing down of America has degenerated the population into a state where even basic understanding is lost. The basic idea is that natural selection favors the strong and not the smart. This is depicted in the movie in a cross comparison between an intelligent couple who essentially over think the problem and a less than intelligent man and his progeny who reproduce at an alarming rate. Wilson’s character was an average “Joe” in every aspect in the present is the smartest man alive in this dystopian future. I don’t want to give too much of the plot of the movie away because I think you should see it and judge for yourself. It was made by written and directed by Mike Judge the man behind Beavis & Butt-Head as well as the genius (in my opinion) film Office Space. (see http://www.imdb.com/name/nm0431918/?ref_=fn_al_nm_1) The following are some concepts I noticed in real life that seem to foreshadow the events of the movie. I would recommend watching the movie at least twice one week apart and in the time in between look at the culture we live in today.
Your floor is clean. Your floor is Clean
An automated society
We are working to create connivance today by making everything automated, plug-in-play, and foolproof. In the movie this is displayed in the lack of understanding on how stuff works and a sequence where even the economy was automated (spoiler alert) when an event in the movie caused an automated layoff of the largest company in the world.
Our Education System
While this is it’s own subject and maybe should be tackled by a smarter person than myself I am going to try and tie in the concept of the movie with what is happening today. From my perspective the focus of education has been turned away from its primary mission of educating the people. I say people because at one time we worked hard to educate everyone not just the young. We now care more about accountability and cost. We want to treat education like a business holding teachers accountable for abstract results and reducing costs. Now I a not here to debate the education system, my point is that we need to focus our education system on educating the public or suffer the consequences. (Update) We also use the education system to argue political and religious positions rather than facts. This tends toward an education systems with a longer list of what not to teach than what needs to the taught.
I was speaking to my sister the other day and she mentioned that the school system was not teaching some of the basics anymore such as the times tables and cursive. The focus in the classroom is on the digital age with classes in keyboard typing, and office based software. This will make our children dependant on computers and calculators to do the things we did with pen, paper, and our minds. Although to be fair I am every addicted to technology.
To say we are dependant on our technology today is an understatement (I just paused to answer my cell). The cell phone (mobile) is for many an extension of ourselves. For many of us we live and work within the digital age. Its everywhere. I witnessed an office shut down when the computers went down.
The movie talks about the state of the entertainment industry. The movie talks about how such concepts as plot and dialogue where replaced by shows about being kicked in the genitals (Owe My Balls a tribute to Jack-Ass) and Ass the movie which was just a shot of a persons backside for two hours. Than you have the return to the gladiatorial games of the past as a means of punishment or as it is called in the film rehabilitation.
The Prez and Chief
FLoA (Future Leaders of America
Science Fiction as almost always depicted the future as one ruled by the intelligent. While a delightful notion in reality we favor bold over intelligent. In leaders we pick the guy who can speak our brand of values better than the other. In one party’s case they tend to mock the intelligent candidate as if an education is a disqualification for public life. Following the party line is more important than shaping the debate (and don’t get me started on our debates). In the film debate on the house floor involves even more posturing then today (along with gun fire instead of a gavel to bring order).
I just hit upon some of the many ways Mike Judge’s Idiocacy has prophesized our future. Like any other prophecy it is open to interpretation and will take many years to be either proven or dismissed. Now I tried to keep this as non-controversial as possible. I did not blame anyone (but us as a group) for our problems. We can play the blame game over or problems until our descendants resemble the cast of the movie or we could come together and try and fix them. Or just watch the movie and enjoy.