Saturday, June 4, 2016

"Idiocracy seems to be happening really rapidly"


BuzzFeed:
Early in the 2016 primary race, comedy screenwriter Etan Cohen began to notice some similarities between the Republican candidate, mendacious former reality star Donald Trump, and Cohen’s 2006 movie Idiocracy, which features fictional wrestling champ-turned-president Dwayne Elizondo Mountain Dew Herbert Camacho (Terry Crews). Ever since, those similarities have only grown, leading to Cohen and Mike Judge, who wrote and also directed Idiocracy, now working on a series of anti-Trump ads with Crews reprising his role.

Cohen and Judge have always maintained that the movie had a kernel of truth to it, but, Cohen said, “We just thought it would take much, much longer to get to this point.” The film was meant as a satire of the obsession with celebrity and entertainment culture in America. “Obviously, when writing the movie, we knew that that was true about TV and movies and pop culture,” he said. “But it was a crazy joke to think that it could be extrapolated to politics. It seems to be happening really rapidly.”

In February, Cohen tweeted, “I never expected #idiocracy to become a documentary.” Soon, The Hill, the Huffington Post, Business Insider, Entertainment Weekly, and the Washington Times, to name a few, turned the tweet into a headline. There’s even a Facebook group called “Movement to Classify ‘Idiocracy’ as Documentary.”

“I didn’t think anyone would see it,” Cohen said of the tweet, which has since been retweeted more than 4,000 times. “That was just an interesting, eye-opening thing, like, wow, this is just tapping into something that a lot of people are feeling right now.”

After his tweet gained so much traction, Cohen called Judge and they decided to seize the moment and write campaign ads for Camacho satirizing Trump. They plan to shoot the ads after Fox clears the rights with Crews (“There’s only one Camacho,” Cohen said).

“The most dangerous contrast to Trump is that Camacho actually realizes he needs advice from other people, and knows that he’s not the smartest guy in the room,” Cohen continued, noting that he would “definitely” vote for Camacho over Trump. “Also, not a racist.”

Rolling Stone:
The electoral roadshow, that giant ball of corrupt self-importance, gets bigger and more grandiloquent every four years. This time around, there was so much press at the Manchester Radisson, you could have wiped out the entire cable-news industry by detonating a single Ryder truck full of fertilizer.

Like the actual circus, this is a roving business. Cash flows to campaigns from people and donors; campaigns buy ads; ads pay for journalists; journalists assess candidates. Somewhat unsurprisingly, the ever-growing press corps tends in most years to like – or at least deem "most serious" – the candidates who buy the most ads. Nine out of 10 times in America, the candidate who raises the most money wins. And those candidates then owe the most favors.

Meaning that for the pleasure of being able to watch insincere campaign coverage and see manipulative political ads on TV for free, we end up having to pay inflated Medicare drug prices, fund bank bailouts with our taxes, let billionaires pay 17 percent tax rates, and suffer a thousand other indignities. Trump is right: Because Jeb Bush can't afford to make his own commercials, he would go into the White House in the pocket of a drug manufacturer. It really is that stupid.

The triumvirate of big media, big donors and big political parties has until now successfully excluded every challenge to its authority. But like every aristocracy, it eventually got lazy and profligate, too sure it was loved by the people. It's now shocked that voters in depressed ex-factory towns won't keep pulling the lever for "conservative principles," or that union members bitten a dozen times over by a trade deal won't just keep voting Democratic on cue.

Trump isn't the first rich guy to run for office. But he is the first to realize the weakness in the system, which is that the watchdogs in the political media can't resist a car wreck. The more he insults the press, the more they cover him: He's pulling 33 times as much coverage on the major networks as his next-closest GOP competitor, and twice as much as Hillary.

Trump found the flaw in the American Death Star. It doesn't know how to turn the cameras off, even when it's filming its own demise.

The problem, of course, is that Trump is crazy. He's like every other corporate tyrant in that his solution to most things follows the logic of Stalin: no person, no problem. You're fired! Except as president he'd have other people-removing options, all of which he likes: torture, mass deportations, the banning of 23 percent of the Earth's population from entering the United States, etc.


More information:
» Rolling Stone: "Darwin, Dar-lose: The Genius of 'Idiocracy'"
» Loudwire: "Maynard Weighs in on Donald Trump: 'Idiocracy is where we are.'"
» New York Daily News: "Donald Trump, President of Idiocracy"
» TIME: "We Have Become an Idiocracy"

No comments: