Saturday, October 28, 2006

Where oh where have the smart people gone?

We went to see Mike Judge's movie Idiocracy, about an average guy who is kept in suspended animation for five hundred years and emerges to find that, since natural selection has favored the prolifically-breeding unintelligent end of the human gene pool, he is now the smartest man on Earth.

I wanted to see this movie partly because of the Kornbluthian premise, and partly because I like King of the Hill, but also I have to admit my interest was increased by the fact that Twentieth Century Fox doesn't particularly want anyone to see the movie in theaters, and is presumably doing the contractually-obliged minimum in that direction. There has been zero advertising of the movie. In the Los Angeles area, it is only showing at a single hole-in-the-wall theater in Pasadena; and Los Angeles is apparently one of the few metropolitan areas where it is showing at all.

Having gone to some slight effort to see it, I really wanted to like the movie, but it was just okay. Maribeth opined that the movie was "a world of suck," but I think that might be a little harsh. Even Maribeth conceded that the movie had "some good ideas" but the execution was just so-so.

I think even a bad movie can be rewarding if it makes you think about how it could have been better. In the case of Idiocracy, the main thing it's made me think is that a Marching Morons scenario is really unlikely. For one thing, I think the reproductive advantage of stupidity is probably overrated. Even among the characters of Idiocracy, we see that the more successful idiots have harems of multiple wives, while other idiots, who on balance are presumably even stupider, are incarcerated in prison. For another thing, if Earth is in a race between Idiocracy and Gattaca, I think Gattaca is likely to win out.


Speaking of evolutionary advantage, on the way out the other day I noticed a resting moth which was perfectly color-matched to the yellowish stucco of the building.

Also, I just saw a hummingbird which was just about the same size and shape as the conical flowers from which it was feeding and shaking clouds of pollen. This was probably not so much an evolved adaptation, and more just a coincidence... but at the first glance, my first thought was to wonder why one of the flowers was rapidly flitting about.


Speaking of a world filled with idiots, the other day I saw in the store both a card game and an "interactive" DVD game based on the game show Deal or No Deal.


At 2:17 AM, October 28, 2006, Blogger Richard Mason said...

Idiocracy does have an extra scene which occurs after the credits have rolled. All but three people had left the theater by the time the credits were finished. We were the only ones to see the final scene! Haha.


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