The idea that, at some point, the USA could become a bastion of anti-intellectualism, bigotry, and lack of social or moral responsibility while corrupt corporate interests and selfish demagogues dominated political debate was the subject of Mike Judge’s now, sadly, prescient 2006 satirical comedy Idiocracy. And on the day Donald J. Trump was elected American president seems now to be a warning.
Luke Wilson plays a US corporal, Joe Bauers, who is selected for an experiment into suspended animation, but instead of being asleep for a year, he ends up sleeping for half a millennium. Awaking in a future America where IQ’s have slumped to such a low level people don’t know that plants need water to survive, and that consumerism mixed with a corporate culture has become the prevalent culture of this dystopia future where the president is a former professional wrestler as opposed to a tangerine shaded racist with a Shredded Wheat on his head.
Idiocracy was almost universally ignored upon release in 2006 as the studio, 20th Century Fox – probably as the film’s subject matter was attacking the early days of the post-truth politics of the George W. Bush era, though it ended up being a wider attack upon American society and culture as to the path it was taking a decade ago when Bush was nearing the end of his second term in office. Thankfully, home video rescued the film from obscurity as it found an audience who could connect with what is a sharp satire that does lack somewhat in plot, but it hits all the right targets over and over though in hindsight it actually served as a warning.
A word of praise for Luke Wilson who essentially acts as a straight man for the entire film which is a hard task to play when the film’s plot is so ludicrous. Well, it was ludicrous until the wee hours of the 9th of November, when the voters of the United States of America opted to elect Donald J. Trump as their new Commander-in-Chief. Little did we know that a comedy as outlandish as Idiocracy would end up predicting where politics would be a decade later – or as close to being a possible in a world not occupied by primates, anyway.
The people of America voted for change, but at what cost? Maybe if they paid attention to Idiocracy and heeded it as a warning the country wouldn’t be in this mess. Judge’s film is one of those films that deserves to be held up as one of the best American comedies of the 21st century, and right now I think people need all the comedy they can get. However, it might not be as funny now once you watch it and realise that it comes close to dangerously aping the a situation that isn’t fictitious. Last night democracy became an “idiocracy” when it regressed to a bygone era of xenophobia, racism, sexism and every other shitty ‘ism’ you can think of.