When “Network” was released in 1976, predicting a bunch of screaming political extremists would take over a TV network to boost ratings, people thought it was exaggerated. Now it seems almost tame.
Similarly, when the less heralded film “Idiocracy” was released in 2005, people smirked at its predictions: That a future America would be contaminated with a vulgar culture, moronic citizens, environmental disaster and an amoral celebrity president. Move over, Nostradamus!
Last week, one of the president’s personal lawyers responded with an expletive-laden rant to an emailed suggestion that he and the president resign for the good of the nation.
Meanwhile, singer Kid Rock, who writes such poetic lyrics as “Hoes they all adore me, I stop and they all swarm me,” said he is running for the Senate in Michigan. To cap off the idiocy, Jared Kushner’s lawyers say he mistakenly left his Russian meetings off his security clearance form because he accidentally hit the “send” button too early. Only problem: There are 28 send buttons on this form.
In “Idiocracy,” citizens are anti-intellectual and apathetic, and elect a vulgar celebrity wrestler as president who can’t speak in complete sentences, gets little accomplished and sits in front of the TV all day and screams at it. Where did they get such crazy ideas?
Mike Judge, the creator of “Beavis and Butt-Head,” is the director of “Idiocracy.” “People will email and post stuff on Twitter that’s like, ‘Hey, you predicted it right,’ ” Judge once said. “But it’s not always nice because you want the world to become a better place.”
In a time when real news is called fake news and officials mock scientific findings, nothing seems too strange. The piles of stinking, overheated garbage depicted in “Idiocracy” are the least of our future calamities, according to the movie.
Luckily, there may still be time to reverse our decomposition and save our democracy. Support science. Be civil. Talk to people outside of your political tribe, and listen with an open mind. Stop getting into fights with strangers on the internet. Don’t disparage those who disagree with you — they may actually know something you don’t.
And pray that it’s not too late.
Playwright Mike Vogel blogs at newyorkgritty.net.