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Posts Tagged “Idiocracy”

Some films are notable more for the premise around which they are constructed than for any degree of artistic merit or associated film making magic. Someone had a hit in this regard with the film Idiocracy. Quite possibly one of the worst films of these, or really, any other times. But the idea underpinning it was inspired!

It’s a well known empirically un-contestable fact (at least according to facts as I perceive them) that those with the least to contribute to society, always seem to contribute the only thing they have to provide; and they do so with astonishing abundance: more people just like them. Otherwise, why would there be so many cars on the roads and, relatively, so few bicycles? Idiocracy (the film) is all about five hundred years of continual dumbing down of society to the point where the generations of the future are barely sentient. So dumb, that they killed off all their crops via watering them with Brawndo (aka Gatorade). Or where the most intelligent person in that future world is the dummy who volunteered for a military hibernation experiment in this, our current era, only to wake when his deep sleep capsule descends via an avalanche of trash into the living room of a year 2500 lawyer with the mental abilities of a cactus plant.

It’s not exactly a deeply insightful movie… But the idea is a winner!

But the reality of the deep future is probably hinged on more convoluted effects than breeding alone.There are more insidious things in the modern gene pool that would flag a dismal future for the human race. I’ll give you a few hints.

Once upon a time, the equation that connected risks with rewards was impressively broad. Big risks often shocked the world into big leaping cultural and/or technology shifts of enduring, positive change. Tinkering at the margin only ever produces marginal change. Big ideas come from big risks of some kind or another. Big ideas came from folk prepared to raise their heads way, way above the mediocracy of a culturally normalised world. Big risks might put careers, personal fortunes or even lives on the line. Payoffs could be beyond one’s wildest dreams, or beneath one’s worst nightmares. Yes, there always have been attractions for not sticking you head out too far. Not too long ago, for instance, the church was rather ready to burn innovators at the stake. But all that just added to the heroism of those flights real change leaders used to take. Consider Galileo. Consider Leonardo Da Vinci, Beethoven, and Henri Desgrange (the guy who conceived of the Tour de France).

But now, the bureau-rats have caught us all under airbags of risk management sludge. We are now surrounded by managerialised nets to keep risk taking firmly under control; contained, castrated, dowsed in the paralysis of the Well-Ordered-Market-Place. We now live in the ‘Consensus State’. That’s a place where the average rules; where outliers are sidelined to loony land, locked up or at least economically marganalised. Loonies extend past the bands of acceptability in our risk-managed Politically-Corrected world of institutionally-asserted, instrumentally-managed mediocracy. The Consensus State is the place where the majority rules. And if the majority are idiots, Idiocracy is the State of play. If politics, policy or other versions of law don’t keep the risk takers at bay, corporate greed will chain saw fresh ideas down to size. These days, ideas are captured and controlled by the legal swill of patent law and the dogma of continually rising rates of shareholder return.

But there are still some sparks to light the night of the dirge of this politically corrected world with which we must now contend. There are still a few flames that prevent idiocracy from taking full hold. By definition, the light can now only come from outside that black blanket warped by politics and wefted by corporate greed. And certainly from way, way outside the turgid sludge of contemporary bureaucracy. People are still rubbing a few sticks together outside the dozy lights of Central Command. People are still doing stuff that makes no sense when judged by the metrics of Bureaucracy’s check-box, risk-managed tinsel fist. Those people are noticed ever more as they become the only light left to see.

The whole world tuned into just such a show this past weekend. 180 individuals all intent on a task that’s so totally outside the metrics of any risk assessor’s boundaries of acceptable practice. 180 individuals all doing stuff that breaks every single rule of idiocratic good sense. 180 individuals all flouting even a despot’s lip service to Occupational Health and Safety! 180 individuals striving to the limit and beyond for rewards beyond the currency of money. And the light they lit diverted the gaze of 300 million plus viewers of an otherwise same-levelled world of consensus conformity. Yes, the Cycling World Championships packed a punch to remind us all that there’s still life outside the idiocracy to which we might all have otherwise succumbed.

Not a video game. No blond bimbos selling corporate goods. No tickets to buy. No scripts set to standardised cultural memes. This was life lived briefly outside the sedation of idiocratic norms. Real, spontaneous, safety-net free exertion for rewards beyond the metric of the market place to understand.

This is socially-destabilising stuff. Unlike most eruptions of this kind, cycling has impact beyond the immediate event at hand. How many of those who watched will now be inspired to take up riding a bike? How many will be re-invigorated to sustain what must be one of the great perversities to this otherwise car strangled world of ours? Some folk just might, maybe, give a thought to looking a bit more through the cracks in their otherwise risk-normalised world. Imagine life without boundary pushing like this? Of course you could go further and take up life in a hill top monastery, or take up axe murdering. But cycling is such an accessible escape. Best of all, cycling is one firm fist in the eye of a world that would otherwise totally succumb to the idiocy of idiocracy.


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