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A Morning Ramble Through the Idiocracy

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I remember the first time I saw Mike Judge's Frog Baseball sometime back in the 90s. The idea of two stoner/metalheads laughing about playing baseball with frogs as the ball might seem a bit tame in today's extreme-animation world, but sandwiched between all the Liquid Television fluff, it stood out as completely amazing and memorable. A few years later after Beavis and Butt-head had already run its course, some guy on my soccer team was telling me about a movie he'd seen in the theatre that week called Office Space. I remember it so clearly because of his reserved-yet-gushing assessment that he may have (surprisingly) just seen one of the greatest movies of all time, and I like to think time proved him right. In my opinion there is no denying that Mike Judge is a man of vision.

Which gets me to the boldest statement I'm going to make today; I believe Idiocracy is one of the most important movies of the 2000s and will someday be recognized as such. If you haven't seen it, you have to. Be forewarned if corny plots aren't your thing, but as a social commentary on the direction of this country? So accurate that it's scary. Long story short: Luke Wilson falls asleep in 2005 and wakes up 500 years later to a de-evolved, Nascar'd and completely disposable America. But the true magic is all in the little details. Like the Oscar-winning movie Ass, the disposable clothes on a roll that look like the 7-11 paper you hold a hot dog with, or the fact that Fuddruckers of the future is simply called Buttfuckers. Mike's only mistake might have been going 500 years instead of 50. The film was finished in August of 2005, predating by two months a major player in our own slide into Idiocracy, the launch of TMZ in November of the same year.

And we all know how that's turned out. The most respectable news sources in our country now liberally use the words "as reported by TMZ..." to literally mean "...it's trashy, but probably true... we just don't have the balls to stand behind it yet." I found myself doing something interesting lately with all the Tiger and Britney and, now, Casey news coming down the pike. I've just been going straight to TMZ. It was weird at first but I got used it, maybe a little too easily. If that's the new AP, why not get it an hour earlier by going straight to the source? We all know news is a business, and if the people would rather read about Tiger Woods than the Tamil Tigers, that's what will be reported. Welcome to the early stages of our Idiocratic press pool, because once you've begun sourcing TMZ, there's no where to go but down.

Speaking of Casey Johnson (who?), what's up with the Idiocratic nature of our celebrities? Maybe it's a nod to the past, where nobility and lineage meant something, but what happened to getting famous because you do something? (And, no, drugs don't count.) Though I suppose she did do something, she got engaged to Tila Tequilla, the world's first social media superstar. I should probably embrace these new benchmarks of civilized progress instead of being such a stamp-licking fuddy-duddy, but it all just feels a little empty to me. In Idiocracy, President Dwayne Elizondo Mountain Dew Herbert Camacho is a pro wrestler and porn star, and that's 500 years from now. If Sarah Palin is getting a serious look for the 2012, I would seriously not be surprised on a Hilton/Lohan ticket making a run for it in 2036. At the rate we are going, a pro-wrestling porn-star running for office 500 years from now might be over-qualified.

And that's just the people, but anyone with their eyes open knows that corporate everything is taking over the country. I read a news report today that the furthest away you can get from a McDonalds in the lower 48 is 141 miles by road. So wherever you are right now, you are no more than two hours by car from Big Mac bliss. All that from a company that's younger than my dad. Even in the past 10 years we have seen a shift that seemed far fetched on the eve of Y2K. I noticed the one video store holdout in my neighborhood finally closed, leaving all our video needs in the hands of larger companies that can handle servicing everyone. The locally owned grocery store in my neighborhood is now a Walgreens and the landscape outside of the cities is an open sea of Best Buys, Chilis and Walmarts (Save money, live better!). Have you had the experience of going to a new corporate-store mall-cluster somewhere and knowing exactly where the Starbucks is because they just reused plans from somewhere you've been? Yea, it's super weird.

The examples of our not so brave new world could go on forever, but I'll keep this to a short-ish ramble. I'd just like to get it out there how important this movie is as a statement on our disposable and excessive living. Maybe it is completely far-fetched, but at the very least it's an entertaining wake-up call to think for a second and consider possible alternatives to whatever it is we are doing here.