Talk:Idiocracy

From RationalWiki
Jump to navigation Jump to search

Good start[edit]

It'd be great if we could embed the specific portions of the movie referenced (they're probably on YT somewhere); words don't capture the stupocalypse that is Idiocracy. 32℉uzzy; 0℃atPotato (talk/stalk) 21:56, 15 October 2016 (UTC)

Got the most relevant one to the whole "idiots breed too much" thing CorruptUser (talk) 00:31, 16 October 2016 (UTC)

PZ Myers wrote a piece criticizing the plot of Idiocracy: http://scienceblogs.com/pharyngula/2007/05/08/there-are-no-marching-morons/

The problem is - defining what 'intelligence' and 'stupidity' are. Go back 'not that long ago' and most people in 'the West' would be able to set up the fire in the fireplace and light it without choking themselves or burning the house down - and what percentage could do it now? Ditto many other practical tasks/recognising what wild plants are edible, etc... therefore we are 'more stupid' than people a few decades ago. Given the complexities of 'intelligence', increasing stupidity would have to be deliberately bred for (and 'reversion to the mean' and the powers that be wanting people who know whether a martini should be shaken or stirred etc means that it would be more difficult than even the most conspiracy minded would think - and appropriate references to [1] and [2] for those who are so interested). 82.44.143.26 (talk) 17:50, 18 July 2017 (UTC)
There's also xkcd 603. The thing is, they all seem to take more of a beef with the serious original story points, rather than the movie itself. Like, there's no genocide, no sterilization plan, and no slimy elite scheming behind here. The only nastiness still left in the plot is this kind of social darwinism adjacent assumption that "intelligence is stored in the balls genes".
And even then this is a light comedy. Not that many (duh) morons couldn't still read too literally into it, but the "ideology" seems stressed and relevant so little throughout its run.. that you could arguably redeem the whole thing just by pretending any insinuation of "nature" actually meant "nurture" and calling it a day.
p.s. the godawful reliance (like, at all) on IQ testing is also bad, but at the same time I struggle to think what other cheap plot device they could have used in its place.
p.p.s. supposedly the Flynn effect has been stagnating. --Mirh (talk) 14:25, 26 August 2021 (UTC)
The Flynn Effect is not the result of improving genetics, but improved public health. Iodine deficiency, hookworm, pellagra, all of these ailments used to reduce the IQ of entire populations by entire standard deviations. It's why I get "triggered" by non-iodized "organic" salt.
The "natural" order of things is for people to have numerous kids and for most of them to suffer ailments and die; I myself needed surgery as a child and would've died had I been born 200 years ago. Obviously this is a cruel, horrific situation, so we fix that through modern medicine and sanitation. The problem is that most mutations are harmful and the genetic defects can build up over time. There is no good solution to this that doesn't involve atrocities, the least awful solution would actually be a form of advanced genetic engineering such as CRISPR, but even then that opens Pandora's TATA-Box to all the Sci-Fi horrors of genetically engineered citizens. There are indeed genes that control aggression; imagine what a country like China could do if they decided that all the "deviant" genes were to be eliminated, forever cementing their rule.
As for the simple premise of "dumb people breeding", that's actually mixed. Some sports require the most quick-paced intelligence of any profession on the planet. A basketball player doesn't just need to be able to shoot a ball into a hoop, they have to anticipate the actions of 9 other people in the absolute fastest game with barely any time to pause. If you want a "dumb" athlete, look at running or swimming, not football or basketball, but guess which ones are predominantly African American? Knowing nothing else about the two, I'd bet good money that Lebron James is smarter than Michael Phelps. Those stories of basketball players knocking up a dozen women before they turn 30? That's a eugenic situation, even if there are social problems with all those kids without fathers in the home. CorruptUser 14:56, 26 August 2021 (UTC)
Generally speaking, Idiocracy is a light comedy and light social commentary on the American dumb / American anti-intellectualism, akin to Judge's Beavis and Butthead in a way. The set-up borrowed from eugenics is, to be frank, as bullshit as the other setup (cryonics) is. But the MST3K Mantra absolutely applies to this work, no need to subject it to too serious of an analysis. PanGalacticGargleBlaster (talk) 15:07, 26 August 2021 (UTC)
Saying "eugenics" magics away the facts. Psychopathic Morality (talk) 15:29, 26 August 2021 (UTC) Striking out comment by sock puppet. Gale5050 (talk) 18:15, 26 August 2021 (UTC)
And logic apparently. What's the point you are trying to make? CorruptUser 15:52, 26 August 2021 (UTC)
If one wanted a logical and science-based plot, one would do better with a documentary. The thing that makes fiction good — even implausible fiction — is suspension of disbelief. This is a difficult and subtle thing to achieve, and what works on one person will not work on everyone. Bongolian (talk) 16:58, 26 August 2021 (UTC)
Yes and no. The breaks from reality are best when they are breaks that people don't understand in the first place. To paraphrase Howard Taylor, "you can't make up the rules if I already know them". I know how boats work but I don't understand space-fusion, which is why The Expanse has an Epstein Fusion-Drive and not a bunch of people rowing to Jupiter. Your rules must also be consistent, in that if in the real world A does X but in yours A does Y, A can't suddenly do Z just because the plot required it to. Furthermore, if you have humans in a weird universe, they have to act like a human would in a bizarre situation. For instance, Red Letter Media pointed out that one of the huge flaws of the prequel CGI bullshit was that the humans didn't react like a person. General Grievous is flailing his lightsabers, while Obi-Won is holding perfectly still. A human, even a Jedi, no especially a Jedi, would move to counter, instead of holding still as if they were in a green-screen and had no idea what was going on. CorruptUser 17:18, 26 August 2021 (UTC)

──────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────── Why are you guys engaging with a Michael Coombs sock? GeeJayK (talk) 17:22, 26 August 2021 (UTC)

Sorry, I didn't mean to awake any monster. And I wasn't trying to propose anything biological, just the obviousness that culture can actually regress and be passed on. My point is more or less the same of PanGalacticGargleBlaster. In fact, after navel gazing for two hours trying to write this comment, I even comprehend the handwaved dysgenics excuse. It's quick and short AF, and it doesn't raise questions other than its own veracity. If you want to "play straight with reality" instead, you have to at least explain how single individuals could be dumbified, and then avoid hurting the feelings of anybody that could feel attacked (since you have no magic predestination to fend of personal responsibility anymore). You also risk the moral of the story to go from "I should put effort into my reasoning" to "big company bad, end, I'm so smart".
p.s. physicists can enjoy star trek even if they don't respect general relativity. It all depends on which aspects you are attuned to care in the specific narrative.--Mirh (talk) 03:39, 31 August 2021 (UTC)