Law Religion Culture Review

Exploring the intersections of law, religion and culture. Copyright by Richard J. Radcliffe. All rights reserved.

Wednesday, March 26, 2008

Movie/DVD Review: Idiocracy.

Marshall McLuhan famously observed, "The medium is the message."

For Idiocracy, however, the message is the movie. The message even eclipses the star-power of its lead, Luke Wilson. Director and screenwriter Mike Judge is the man behind this message, as he was the genius behind the hilarious and underrated probe of American cubicle culture, Office Space (not to be confused with tv's "The Office").

In short, Idiocracy projects what society would look like in 500 years when its devolves into rank unintelligence. According to Judge, characteristics of an idiot culture include:

1. Coarsening of entertainment (scatology is the order of the day);

2. Corporatization of society;

3. Consumerization of people;

4. Commercialization of the professions (especially medicine);

5. Fast-foodification of nutrition;

6. Simplification of language (monosyllabic grunts or profanity abound); and most interestingly,

7. Corruption of the legal system. Judge observes that the protagonist's attorney got his degree from a Costco, and when it came time to argue for his client, he actually argued against his own client. The judge's rulings seemed authoritative because the judge knew how to string together lofty sounding words, but actually taken together they made no sense.

While the execution leaves something to be desired and some excesses should have been excised, Idiocracy's powerful message is inescapable. Although it's set 500 years in the future, this movie does what the best futuristic films should do: cogently comment on the present.

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