Today, for some reason, i09 decided to rerun a fundamentally flawed article about how the film Idiocracy is “cruel,” and that anyone who enjoys this movie “should be ashamed for liking it.” In it, author Matt Novak chides and admonishes the reader with such sweeping generalizations as, “Well, that movie is cruel and terrible and you should be ashamed for liking it. Seriously.” Mr. Novak continues his most informed ranting with this gem: “The movie’s underlying premise is a fundamentally dangerous and backwards way to understand the world.”
I can only believe that Mr. Novak came to this conclusion from his lengthy discussions with the writer and director of Idiocracy, Mike Judge. How else can you explain Mr. Novak’s keen insight with regard to his deep understanding of what satire is? How does Mr. Novak see satire? Why not read his opinion regarding other films in the genre:
Unlike other films that satirize the media and the soul-crushing consequences of sensationalized entertainment (my personal favorite being 1951's Ace in the Hole), Idiocracy lays the blame at the feet of an undeserved target (the poor) while implicitly advocating a terrible solution (eugenics). The movie’s underlying premise is a fundamentally dangerous and backwards way to understand the world.
Yes! Yes! This highly tongue-in-cheek movie, brought to the screen by the man who created Beavis and Butt-Head, is not satirical at all! It’s promoting that, again according to the highly offended Matt Novak, “This link between intelligence and wealth is perhaps the most dangerous idea of the film and pretty quickly slips into advocating for some form of soft eugenics to build a better world.”
Eugenics, for the folks who may be unfamiliar, is a very old belief that humans can be improved by mating and breeding those with “desirable” qualities, thereby removing any unwanted characteristics from society. Eugenics has its roots in Darwinism. In the 133 years since the official labeling of Eugenics, I can say it hasn’t happened yet.
Idiocracy is a satirical film, and it’s a juvenile satire at that. It’s an extension of the animated characters that Mike Judge created back in 1992. I get the impression that Mr. Novak understands and likes satire, but the satire must be his particular brand or he’ll get on the soapbox. Now if you’ll excuse me, I’m going to sit in front of my television, stuff my gullet with Cheetos, and laugh at my own farts.