So yesterday's post ended with a question: "What does the future look like if we stay the course and allow short term desires to override long-term sanity"? I'll try to handle tonight's post by outlining the plot of one of the stupidest, funniest and gigglingly prophetic films out there, Idiocracy.
A man is chosen for an Army experiment to test the effects of cryogenic freezing. He is supposed to be in suspended animation for 1 year, but bureaucracy fails and he is left untouched for 500 years. When he awakens in 2505, society has changed slightly. The more intelligent folks in the human race have somehow clued into their collective plight and damped down on breeding quickly. At the same time; the less intelligent have had ever more children. This process runs several iterations. The world lies in ruin. (The movie is ridiculous enough that the shallow-end-of-the-gene-pool metaphors don't offend)
The United States is populated by monosyllabic masses; the most powerful corporation sells a single product called Brawndo ( aka. "The Thirst Mutilator" which people consume non-stop because it's "Got electrolytes"). Crops are also watered with Brawndo, since it's got electrolytes, which plants crave. People like money and nobody reads too well.
To finish this absurd summation, citizens are tracked with barcode tattoos and spend most of their time watching a TV Show called "Ow, My Balls!". Meanwhile, the country is suffering under a terrible and irreversible drought. Their fearless leader is President President Dwayne Elizondo Herbert Camacho a machine gun-wielding, ex-professional wrestler.
In any case, our hero is discovered to be the smartest man alive and saves the planet by telling everyone to stop watering the crops with Brawndo. The End. Here's the official trailer.
There's no elegant way to end this post . It does occur to me that with the 2012 US election 12 months off, we've never really seen a similar moment. There's no clear Republican challenger, Obama's been by most accounts, a disaster (which is amazing given public sentiment 3 years ago - and to be fair, inheriting a global financial meltdown's doesn't make things easy). Point being, things couldn't be murkier or less certain -- a year ago an Wikileaks made an end run around the US government - month ago we'd never heard of Occupy Wall Street and now it could be our Arab Spring.
This ties into yesterday's post - the conflict between our insatiable demand for short-term push-button rewards and responsible, equitable and sustainable systems. I'm an optimist but cynicism seems is tempting these days. Or perhaps just bewilderment; it seems like nobody has a clue. the worst thing for me is that I feel like it's a self-inflicted state of affairs.
Sure, Wall Street screwed Main Street. Sure Washington is paid off by big business. Sure, we all bought stuff we couldn't afford until the party ended. But c'mon - we're adults, we know the drill -- we elected these people, right? As Edward Albee said, "Remember one thing about democracy. We can have anything we want and at the same time, we always end up with exactly what we deserve." We can either see ourselves as helpless, hapless Idiots or we can rant and rave and blame. Which we choose -- how much responsibility we take, will say a lot about whether we're living in an Idiocracy or not.
So what'll happen? I have no clue. If I ever had a half-working crystal ball, I feel like I just dropped it. Anyone out there got one that's working. What do you see?