Sunday, 29 November 2009

They Live

This weekend I was watching that old classic of the conspiracy theorists They Live. The quality is open to debate, for which I refer you to Roger Ebert or Rotten Tomatoes. Having an overly active imagination I see the film as a metaphore for what should be our main goal in life: get educated and stop being a mouton (act like sheep). As such I am inclined to think those paranoid themes are not entirely incorrect. Or to cite the sage: the fact you are paranoid does not mean they are not after you.

It is reminiscent of Brave New World, which details an equally constructed and manipulated society, where the protagonist John the Savage discovers his world is not as it seems. H.G. Wells warned us about such a world divided in haves and have nots. He also showed they are interdependent.

To me this film captures the basic premise behind denying scientific research in most current debates (Big Pharma, Evolution, Global warming, War on Terror): accept as article of faith what we say when we contradict most, if not all, of the experts involved, and never question what you are being told. The principal argument the anti-science movement has is keeping the facts from us. Or, at least, distorting them under the guise of being "Fair and Balanced." The Film Vituperatum nicely illustrates this point, regarding the hyped threat that supposedly will end the world if we do not spend more on the military, with this picture.

The actual chance of terrorism killing you compared to more commonplace, yet conspicuously ignored, things I outlined before. This War of Terror, instigated by the Politico-Media Complex, obscenely benefits the mythical Military-Industrial Complex, which in turn guarantees us that giving them even more money and privileges (read: abolishing civil liberties) will prevent the end of days.

In short, we can think of those pointing out the many incestuous relationships between the haves as cranks, or we can adopt a slightly sceptical view allowing for the existence of contemporary Cassandras.

Tolkien was right that the "hearts of men are easily mislead." To my surprise, and disappointment, we still fall for the "panem et circenses"-routine.

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