Information icon.svg

Campaigning for the RationalMedia Foundation 2021 board of trustees election is underway!

Idiocracy

From RationalWiki
Jump to: navigation, search
Our Feature Presentation
Films and TV
Icon film.svg
Starring:

Idiocracy (2006) is a documentary about the distant future of 2016 movie written and directed by Mike Judge that's about a literal average Joe who, due to a cheesy plot device cryonic experiments, finds himself 500 years in the future… and due to idiots outbreeding smart people, he is now the smartest living human based on an IQ test. Brought to you by Carl's, Jr.®!

While the introductory segment comes off as a pro-eugenics propaganda piece, the majority of the film actually criticizes the culture which glorifies idiocy more than anything else. Especially Fox News, which led to the production company, Twentieth Century Fox, doing everything it could to bury the movie; eliminating the entire budget, spending nothing on advertising, then releasing it in only 6 theatres for one showing after midnight, then declaring it a flop.[1] Viacom managed to find a copy of it, and then played it on Comedy Central whenever they could.[2] It's actually not that bad.

Plot (spoilers)[edit]

Well, the plot isn't too in-depth. It starts off with a "case study" of two couples; stereotypical Yuppies, and stereotypical rednecks. The Yuppies wait to have kids, because they aren't financially ready yet, only to develop fertility problems; the husband eventually dies of a heart attack induced by masturbation at a fertility clinic and the wife never has a kid. The redneck husband can't figure out how condoms work and somehow keeps knocking up everyone else at the trailer park, while his football-playing son knocks up a bunch of cheerleaders. The result being that idiots overpopulate the world.

Then the movie starts.

Culture[edit]

The main problem for human society in the movie is not that "idiots are allowed to breed", but that idiots were held up as something to worship… which is what causes the dumbest ones to be able to outbreed the smart people. Talking in proper English is 'gay', and intelligence of any form makes you a 'tard'. Executions are basically a public spectacle, and art has been debased to just staring at a man's ass. And no, not as a practical joke by Andy Warhol.Wikipedia[note 1] The President is the amalgamation of every idiot, though more intelligent than most others alive at the time (and African American, played by Terry Crews;Wikipedia) he's a porn star action hero who drinks heavily and shoots guns constantly, and every other word is a swear word or an advertisement. (A hilarious opposite of the actor) Brought to you by Carl's, Jr.! Advertising is everywhere; clothing is made up of brand names, and television is more advertisement than show.

Interestingly, it also takes a stand on the importance of keeping money out of politics; a megacorp, Brawndo (the thirst mutilator!) buys up the FCC, allowing them to advertise whatever they want. The result is that Brawndo replaces all water (except toilet water — eww!), and the electrolytes (what plants crave!) end up killing the crops and causing a near-total collapse of society.

Things to come[edit]

Not a documentary?

Many people see this movie, and claim it's a prophecy of the future. This doesn't quite stand up to reality; average intelligence has not been decreasing, in fact, the opposite is true.[4] The main driver of this is public health campaigns; it turns out that all those parasites and diseases that we had in the 19th century were not good for developing minds. The question is if genetically we are better or worse off. This is not so easy to test, in part because there is no single "smart gene",[5] but rather a complicated mesh of many different genes.

When it comes to the dumbing-down of culture, pop culture has always been doing this. People don't actually swear more than their parents did; they just use different swear words. While today you might say "fuck", "shit" or "damn", words that would make your grandparents blush, you can damn well bet that you wouldn't say the fucking shit your grandparents used to say all the time, like "cunt" (save for Downunder), "faggot" or "nigger". Words change meaning over time and many old swear words are forgotten or fall out of use: Deadwood used modern swear wordsWikipedia because the profanity of the time sounds comical today. As for "stupid, low-brow culture", this was exactly the complaints people had about Shakespeare in his time. Part of the wonders of getting a bachelor's degree in English is that you get to learn so many new dick and poop jokes, like the very first scene of Romeo and Juliet where the guys brag about how they will poop on the girls' heads before murder/raping them, while joking about the size of their dicks.[6]

In August 2016, director Judge and writer Etan Cohen attempted to make advertisements using the President Camacho character from the film. Cohen had become horrified at how close reality had gotten to Idiocracy,[7] but the project was stymied by a combination of prematurely labelling the advertisements as "anti-Trump" (rather than just satire) and opposition by Fox and specifically Fox's owner, Rupert Murdoch.[8]

More importantly, it's a movie; in the real world, it actually takes some emotional intelligence to have a relationship, even one that only lasts long enough to get pregnant. Also, there is little correlation between intelligence and fecundity in humans, and things like the Darwin Awards suggest that said correlation is directly proportional, not inversely.

Time machine[edit]

Oh, that's easy. You go down by the museum and stuff... It's like — it's, like, by the museum… Sorta by… Actually, not really. More like on the street, you go, um… Wait, let me start over. Okay, you know where the time machine is?
—Frito

As the main protagonist, Joe Bauers has a miserable time in the dystopian future, he thinks that since he and his companion got sent into the future, that people must have invented a time machine by now that can send him back into the past. His lawyer, Frito, confirms that such a machine exists and agrees to take him there with sufficient bribery. When Luke, his time traveling companion Rita, and Frito finally arrive at 'The Time Masheen', it turns out to be a decrepit amusement park ride that goes past a Charlie Chaplin-as-Hitler mannequin[note 2] followed by Tyrannosaurus rex models posing as events in history (US vs. Nazi Germany, and UN peacekeeper). This segment would seem to be riffing on Kent Hovind's failed Dinosaur Adventure Land, which featured Bible-based dinosaur rides, and went kaput in 2002.

External links[edit]

Notes[edit]

  1. Taylor Mead's Ass[3] foreshadowed Idiocraacy by 40+ years and foreshadowed the fictional film-within-a-film by 500+ years.
  2. This references Chaplin's satire about Hitler, The Great Dictator,Wikipedia though the mannequin is instead dressed as Chaplin's Little Tramp character.

References[edit]

  1. Fox hides Mike Judge film Idiocracy: Fox hides Mike Judge film Idiocracy — The film was released without fanfare despite the cult status of Office Space by Josh Rottenberg (September 15, 2006 at 04:00 AM EDT) Entertainment Weekly.
  2. Comedy Central Presents the Network Television Premiere of "Idiocracy" Sunday, February 15 at 10:00 P.M. (January 26, 2009) Comedy Central.
  3. Taylor Mead's Ass (1965) IMDb.
  4. Smarter than ever? Over the past century, the average IQ in industrialized countries has risen to keep pace with the complexity of modern life. IQ researcher James Flynn discusses why those gains have occurred and whether they are likely to continue. by Lea Winerman (2013) Monitor on Psychology 44(3).
  5. Is intelligence determined by genetics? Genetics Home Reference, U.S. National Library of Medicine.
  6. Yes that is in there! When Sampson is talking about lining the girls against the wall, it's because, in the days before widespread plumbing, British toilets overlooked the street.
  7. I never expected #idiocracy to become a documentary. by Etan Cohen (9:27 AM - 24 Feb 2016) Twitter (archived from 20 Apr 2016 03:37:53 UTC).
  8. Fox Rejected ‘Idiocracy’ Director’s “Anti-Trump” President Camacho Ads by Jack Giroux (Sunday, August 21st, 2016) Slash Film.