Why Idiocracy is just a little bit misunderstood

I can safely say that Idiocracy, the cult comedy from the incomparable Mike Judge, is one of my favourite films. It’s not screamingly funny (it does raise a smile), its direction is merely competent, and the characters are generally rather weak. For all its faults, however, it really strummed a chord with me.

Now, if you’re familiar with the film, you may have an idea why I liked it. You may also be wrong, because I get the distinct impression Idiocracy is a little misunderstood by its fans.

Idiocracy, for those of you who don’t know, is a 2006 comedy starring Luke Wilson as Joe Bauers, a member of the US Army who is sent to a future where everyone is a tv-watchin’, beer swillin’ grade-A moron. The world is falling apart as everything is catered to only the basest of impulses (fast food, sex, slapstick humour), and the fiercely anti-intellectual society has bred itself into abject stupidity. Mr Bauers, completely typical in his own time, is regarded as a genius, and becomes a hero.

So what’s to be misunderstood? It’s a scathing condemnation of our lowest-common-denominator culture, right? If things continue the way they’re going, pretty soon we’ll be wallowing around in our own filth, getting handjobs at Starbucks?

Well, yes. Sort of. Mike Judge’s bread-and-butter is seemingly dumb humour with real bite (he’s the guy who made Beavis and Butthead, Office Space and King of the Hill), so he’s too smart for that sort of thing. In my opinion, Idiocracy was far more about criticising the intended audience than the culture it so obviously lampoons. You know, the people who ‘get it’. The people who feel like the protagonist, the only sane person in a sea of ignorance.

Think about it. The main character is completely average. He’s Joe Bauers, average Joe. He’s not the smartest, or the strongest, but by virtue of the stupidity of those around him, he becomes the hero. The hero is, by our standards, a completely average person who does absolutely nothing remarkable. He doesn’t triumph in the face of adversity, there’s no great emotional payoff, no personal victory. For the struggle he faces, this makes him far more like you or I than any other “common man” hero, because he doesn’t have any remarkable quality that allows him to beat the odds.

“I thought your head would be bigger,” says President Dwayne Elizondo Mountain Dew Herbert Camacho when he first meets our hero. The whole world has this idea of what the genius who’s going to save us all looks like – an egghead. It’s funny because we all know that believing smart people are somehow superhuman (sporting larger craniums to hold their massive, throbbing brains) is a stupid thing to believe, yet we still imagine that the geniuses will save society. You know, with their science and Mars landers and stuff. They’ll save us and be our heroes. All we have to do is say we support them and condemn the idiots, and our job is done.

“Five-time ultimate Smackdown champion, porn superstar and President of the United States.”

From what I’ve seen on the internet, it seems like people use this film as a security blanket to make themselves feel more intelligent. “Thank god someone hates this awful culture as much as I do!” they seem to say. “Mike Judge gets it! Everything’s so disposable and trashy, I’m glad he feels as lost as I do and takes the same pleasure in skewering those fools who watch reality tv and footbaaah!”

I sympathise, because although it made me a little uncomfortable on my first viewing, that’s what I thought the film was about, too. However, on a second viewing, I don’t think that’s quite what Mike Judge was aiming for.

The film’s greatest failing is that it could’ve done more to drive its point home. Instead, it’s squeezed it into a single line, where Joe says “I think maybe the world got like this because of people like me”. Not because of ‘idiots breeding’, not because of shitty television, advertising, or a sustained campaign of anti-intellectualism, but because of average people, like the viewers (ie you and I), who had endless opportunities to improve themselves and didn’t. Because they were too busy looking at everyone else and thinking “well, at least I’m smarter than you.”

So Idiocracy is one of my favourite films, not because it criticises others, but because it criticises me. It’s not just poking fun at our the trashier aspects of society with Mike Judge’s trademark clever-dumb sense of humour (really, any film that contains an energy drink called ‘Brawndo’ is a winner in my book), but poking fun at the arrogant, superior attitudes of average people who might agree. And it’s done so subtly that most people don’t seem to get it. I didn’t get it until last night either.

I guess we’re not as smart as we thought we were.


199 Comments on “Why Idiocracy is just a little bit misunderstood”

  1. Fart Nigger says:

    Nice but you’re entirely wrong.

    • Victor says:

      No he isn’t.

      • It’s just the writer’s opinion, but I think he’s got it wrong as well. He’s just trying to stand out from the crowd and get a little attention. Irony in there, somewhere…

      • Doug says:

        This is what Mike Judge has to say:

        “I remember just answering a question in class, I dont know, like in math class or something and saying, you know, oh I know, the – raise my hand, I know the answer and its a blah, blah, blah, and, you know, being articulate and saying it, you know, and just hearing someone behind me go: fag.

        And you know, like I was also thinking, okay, all those people in junior high who wanted to beat me up because I got answers right on quizzes and stuff, what if they were just all running the world, you know? What if thats all you had? And yeah, thats why I had stuff like just seeing airplanes crashing in the background and, you know

        So yeah, it was a – I guess its a – I guess its kind of a dark vision but its, I dont know. I thought it was pretty funny.”

        So I guess he *is* wrong.

    • rational human being says:

      I agree with fart nigger

    • Randy Marsh says:

      I also agree with Fart Nigger. The author is trying to read too deeply into this. If it wasn’t Mike Judge, I would probably agree with the author, but I know and love Mike Judge’s humor.

      • BMoney says:

        I really can’t tell if the Randy Marsh name is part of the joke, or mere happenstance of pop culture, but I will pretend you are serious. I think the author is reading in it deeply enough, but we would have to ask Mike Judge what he wanted, and sometimes it isn’t anything so specific as we ever expect.

        Technology has surpassed the layman, and we have people who pay someone $20,000 a year to check their e-mail running some of our nations. Complacency has been achieved, and a lot of it was meant to provoke questions of what does happen when we become efficient enough for us to get lazy. Now, it is dramatized as a comedy, but it is still meant to be read, unless I have enjoyed Mike Judge’s humor for the wrong reasons.

    • R.L. says:

      Agree. You’re wrong, English. Did you not even watch the first 4 minutes?

    • Aron Sabaj says:

      I think it’s a perfectly sensible interpretation but I don’t think anyone can say what point Mike Judge was trying to make, except for Mike Judge.

      • flrod says:

        Precisely. Just because the author doesn’t agree with an INTERPRETATION doesn’t make it wrong. It just means the author’s original intent is different.

    • ThinkMore says:

      Your ‘handle’ (Fart Nigger) is offensive but your statement is correct.

  2. jason says:

    Well put!

  3. gofuckurself says:

    Congratulations on posting your Into to Cinema paper you wrote in college. Dear Lord that was a terrible, self indulging read. Do us all a favor and refrain from writing. Ever.

    • jleclair says:

      You’re an asshole. Is your dick bigger yet? Has the scathing commentary filled the void in your life, or gotten you laid? How’s friday goin for ya?

      • Now reread what you said and think of a reason how you are any different from the person whose post you’re responding to.

      • Diet Brawndo says:

        This is why I love internet. So much troll, so much seriousness, so much hate, love, and profanity!

      • Ben Calhoun says:

        He may be an asshole, but the man understands good writing. This was bad, self-indulgent dreck, and the whole thesis of his argument is absurd, since the only person who could concoct such a contrived absurdity is one of the people that is in the “intended audience.”

        Dude you replied to is probably banging instead of reading badly written blog posts from film majors at B tier schools now anyway, and I think I’m going to follow suit.

    • You should take some advice from your own username

    • Gay Liotta says:

      Congratulations on being a troll. Also, spellcheck.

    • PerhapsI'llGetBanned says:

      What a fucking douche-bag this fella is. Let’s see you write better you useless wad of previously chewed bubble gum. This article probably went way over you’re tiny little non- egg shaped head, you alienated little pile of excrement. Do us all a favor and laboriously climb the tallest structure in a 300 mile radius (no elevators, you don’t deserve that much), and accidentally fall off of it, so that impact will be your death, and your impotent words never again infect the society of the internet in such a way. The cancer I’ve come across on the world wide web has got nothing on the poisonous stupidity you spew.

      • Really Amazed says:

        Wow.. your comment has to be the most beautiful paragraph of insults I’ve ever seen anywhere.

      • mrmoll says:

        well, that’s like your opinion man.

      • Doug says:

        You try way too hard. And gofuckyourself is right on.

      • > over you’re tiny little

        *your

      • You talk like a fag and your shit’s all retarded

      • I really wish there was an option to upvote comments, your comment most certainly deserves a quite a copious amount of them.

      • Kristy says:

        I wish I was as talented as you, no joke. What a hilarious paragraph of inspiring insults.

      • Ben Calhoun says:

        It could not be possible for this blog post (this is not an article) to go over anyone’s head, no matter how tiny. The thesis is just. . . weak. Just look at all the things that are absurd about it.

        As “proof” he gives Mike Judge’s credentials (none of these are sophisticated works; they are artful silly comedy), he notes that the protagonist is ordinary (without considering that it defeats the whole point if he is remarkable), and then he rambles on the movie is a social commentary about how we expect egg heads and intellectuals to save us when the entire point of the god damn film is that society is drowning because they have forsaken these people.

        And then, in a stroke of incompetence I could not have conceived of, he compares himself to Joe, who claims “I think maybe the world got like this because of people like me.” Well, chuckles, that’s the point: Joe is a loser. He is the antecedent of all these morons. And I would never trust someone unremarkable chump to come up with a brilliant, fresh take on a dead obvious movie like Idiocracy.

      • Jabulaya says:

        Lol reading Calhoun’s posts is pretty funny after reading this article..he’s the epitome of the “smart people” who think they know it all and have to put stupid people in there place..
        “I would never trust someone unremarkable chump to come up with a brilliant, fresh take on a dead obvious movie like Idiocracy.”
        you’re either trolling, which would be sad; or you’re serious, which would be even worse..

      • Ben Calhoun says:

        No Jabulaya, that would be you. You’re a moron, and the author is speaking right to you. Why would you trust someone who admits that he is an ordinary regular moron to come up with something so revolutionary? I mean, it isn’t revolutionary, it’s stupid, but you get the gist of what I’m talking about.

        Idiocracy is a silly, fun movie. That’s it. That’s all.

        I’m sorry my logic confused you. Feel free to admit you’re a moron at any time.

      • Whatevs says:

        That scathing and condescending stream of insults is ruined by the fact that you confused your and you’re. Good job, sport.

      • ThinkMore says:

        That’s a lot of venom directed at someone who might have been rude in his post but doesn’t deserve that kind of response. Plus his comments, while a bit overreaching, are not far from what many of were already thinking.

    • Ryan says:

      Self-Indulgent*

    • Smokin' D says:

      Ah. I see we have an intellectual within our midst. The proper spelling of Intro was what first tipped me off. Then, of course, then incredibly witty pseudonym “gofuckurself”, really brought it home. Do us all a favor, “gofuckurself”, and refrain from tainting the internet with your disappointing attempt at insulting someone who’s written what is, at the least, an intriguing read from a new view point.

      • Ben Calhoun says:

        He made a typographical error. If that tips you off to stupidity, then I should point out that you added an “n” to the word “the” that you intended in your third sentence (I’m not counting “Ah”), you smarmy, hypocritical retard.

        He’s a smart guy who doesn’t have time to mince words. You’re a dumb guy with lots of it.

        Anyhow, Smokin’D, gofuckurself.

      • ThinkMore says:

        “an intriguing read from a new view point”?

        I’m sorry, Smokin’D, but if you found the author’s view point “intriguing” then you are one of the people that the movie is about. This “new view point” was baseless and utterly inane.

    • Yamutha says:

      Thank you for adding to the conversation.

    • golden_god says:

      INTO TO CINEMA….DERP

    • Bob McPoopin'pants says:

      Ehhh…he’s a dick, but he’s kind of right, it isn’t a very well written piece and it visibly enjoys the point it’s trying to make

      • Mister Sid says:

        Hey Ryan! First off you’re an asshole! So am I so that’s ok. Secondly, you’re right, the idiots can’t help but be idiots, it’s us douchebags and assholes who sit around all day blogging about bullshit when we could be out there doing something important (or at least meaningful) are to blame. You’re and asshole for pointing that out and I’m an asshole for agreeing with you, the rest of you are douchebags.

      • Ben Calhoun says:

        Where’d you get Ryan?

        I mean, calling me Ben is kind of logical, but Bob McPoopin’pants to Ryan?

        Second, your grammar needs work son.

        Third, I don’t see anything douchey at all about what “Ryan” has written. It’s a bad blog post. It really is.

      • flrod says:

        Oh great and wise Ben Calhoun, could you find it in your heart to forgive us for trying to defend this so obviously shitty blog post?

        I mean, I originally thought I enjoyed it and appreciated the fact it presented me with a point of view I had previously not considered, regardless of whether Mike Judge agrees with it or not, but then you said “It’s a bad blog post. It really is.”. It was at this moment I remembered you are the one and only absolute authority when it comes to judging any form of writing and subsequently realized this blog post is actually complete and utter bullshit.

        On a serious note though, I would like to ask you to get off your high horse which obviously leads you to think you’re some kind of hot shit, because while you are perfectly entitled not to agree with the thesis of the blog post, you are not entitled to act like a completely obnoxious, arrogant ‘I’m-always-right’ asshole, spewing all kinds of shit to both the author of the blog post and anyone who so much as appears not to agree with your “this sucks because it’s obviously bullshit” opinion.

        Frankly I don’t care if you think you’re being an internet badass, trolling or just trying to pretend that you don’t care that daddy never loved you. You are coming off as a completely stuck-up loudmouth who urgently needs to remove a very long stick from his ass. It is with this in mind that I would like to politely ask you to fuck off and never come back.

    • Doug says:

      Agreed. This is masturbatory.

      • l250668@rtrtr.com says:

        First time visiting a blog?

      • Ben Calhoun says:

        This is masturbatory, and it also makes a risibly idiotic argument with laughably tenuous supporting points.*

        While this is still pretty standard in blog posts, I feel like this makes it worthy of our condescension even if it is par for the course.

    • You seem very upset by this little write up. Would you like to talk about it?

    • mark anthony says:

      This was brilliantly written and spot-on. Hope you got AIDS since your reply, then were cured, then got it again. Now you have it, and you feel terrible about yourself and don’t understand where and how it was contracted. Then you find out and you’re all “oh, shit thats right. Cant believe I did that. Now I’m gonna die! because of it.” But then you were cured again.

    • notbob says:

      Like the author did with the movie, maybe you should have a look at this article twice and give yourself a chance at a second opinion. Or you can reflect on your username as a piece of personal advice. :D Suck my balls.

      • Ben Calhoun says:

        It does not take a second opinion to realise that this is crap writing.

        Nevertheless, since I am a charitable dude I gave it another go, and I am relieved to say that a second glance gave me the same impression: this is just plain old fashioned self indulgent noise.

    • Frank, bro says:

      Says the guy who cannot spell “intro” correctly.

      • Ben Calhoun says:

        It blows my mind that people are still commenting on this. He made a typographical error. I mean, if someone as dumb as you knows how to spell one of the easiest phonetic words in the English language, what are the odds that anyone else doesn’t?

        Spellcheck wouldn’t pick that up, since “into” is a word, and he probably doesn’t have time to bother with crafting a carefully worded and delicately edited reply to a blog post that was so obviously slapped together in some sort of imagined eureka moment.

        And if we’re harping on typographical errors as a means of discrediting something, then an awful lot of the people who agree with you have voided their opinions on the matter.

    • Squiggly says:

      Congratulations on posting yet another pointless negative comment on the internet. It’s not like we don’t already have enough of those. It’s not as though you could have simply not read it and closed the tab. No, you felt like you needed to let everyone know how bad you think it is, because surely your opinion matters to us. Do us all a favor and refrain from commenting on the internet. Ever.

    • Sinkers McTotes says:

      Agreed. Lol. Op is a faggggggg

    • April Pettit says:

      Sometimes I think the biggest problem people have with learning is an inability to express themselves (which is a necessary aspect of the progression and evolution of ideas and the thought process) without some jerk throwing around his or her ego. Tell me, did it quell the insecurity that feeds your intellectual overcompensation?

      • Ben Calhoun says:

        I would say the author is pretty egregiously guilty of this as well. If you’re going to take this tack with your rebuke of “gofuckurself,” then you really aught to pay the author of the post itself his dues too.

        I would suggest the basic human niceness appeal instead.

      • April Pettit says:

        Calhoun, that is a really good point. It also brings up the question of where the line between expressing ideas and intellectually jerking yourself off actually exists.

    • jud says:

      basically… this was a huge over reach.

    • hilarityensues says:

      So brave.

  4. Marianne says:

    Awesome post, thanks for writing!

  5. Viewer says:

    actually when I first saw it, that’s the exact impression I got. People like him didn’t do enough to make the world better when it mattered and now he decided to do something when there was no other choice.

    • Mister Sid says:

      Wow you had to go hipster didn’t ya? “I’ve been saying that about this movie since it came out” BLA BLA FUCKING BLA! You sat there with a friggin joint in one hand and your dick in the other thinking about fucking Maya Rudolph in the ass and wishing you had some sushi. You sir, are a dickhead.

      • Drone says:

        I didn’t see any of that in the post, not a “I’ve been saying” or anything even remotely similar to that… they wrote “That’s the impression I got when I first saw it.” You’re one of these pretentious assholes who obviously disagrees with the original article, but feel the need to talk shit to others throughout the comments. “Hurr durr, hipster.”

  6. Shaun says:

    I loved this movie and never thought of it as criticizing me, but you’re totally right. Awesome read.

  7. negro teats says:

    aren’t you that faggot from SA?

  8. Fred says:

    Exactly how I feel about people watching shows like ‘the Jersey Shore’: people look at idiots so they can feel satisfied about themselves, because at least they’re not as idiotic as the (portrayed) characters on those shows.

    It’s not the show or the characters in it that shows the decline of society, it’s that shows like that have an audience to begin with that’s the problem with society.

    • Stew says:

      Yeah, I’m pretty sure thats why Judge uses Reality TV shows, Wrestling, Football and Pornography as examples. They are all cases where there is a certain amount of pleasure in pretending you are an educated spectator, weather its taking the role of armchair quaterback or “amateur sociologist”. Every friend of mine that tells me they “enjoy watching the train crash” of RealityTV shows, I’ve always wondered why they were so convinced they wouldn’t crash the train themselves at some point. I think part of it is offloading your dissatisfaction with your own life by via a really loose moral relativism that doesn’t hold water in the absolute. Which is why people stay enmeshed in them.

  9. Imhotep says:

    Woah.. all you guys are from the future! My clock only says 1:21 pm

  10. NotMyRealName says:

    I don’t think so, Tim. You are no expert in film or literary criticism, clearly, and to quote Freud: “Sometimes a cigar is just a cigar.” The movie is doing exactly what people think it’s doing, and that is namely to bash on anti-intellectualism and fast-food starbucks-coffee-swilling culture. Try not to think so hard about every movie you see, you’re clearly not very good at it.

    • It'smyrealname says:

      You are correct, good sir. It’s like he posted his ‘B-’ Intro to Film final.

    • He got it absolutely right:

      00:59:55 I think maybe the world got like this because of people like me.

      00:59:59 I never did anything with my life. At least you were an artist, you know?

      Also, weak ad hominem. Are you saying that unless someone is “an expert in film or literary criticism” they should not have an opinion?

      • Squide says:

        Wrong fallacy. What you’re thinking of is probably appeal to authority.

        You got the wrong fallacy because you’re an idiot. This was an example of ad hominem.

        Lastly, an argument can be fallacious and still be true, Pointing a fallacy is not an argument.

      • JustMe says:

        At least you were an artist? Now we get to the crux of the point (with which I disagree completely, btw. The movie is about ijuts outbreeding everyone and our collective impotence to stop them. Look how it ends, just like it started), that Mike Judge (the artist) is better than his main character (the audience).

    • btyrer says:

      Movies can only have one intended meaning? What about the idea that art is subjective?

      Check out this book: http://www.amazon.co.uk/You-Talk-About-Fight-Club/dp/1933771526

    • Lazlo Toth says:

      You… do realize that in the middle of your torrent of insults you forgot to make an actual argument for your case, right? I have a Master’s in English. I’m not exactly what I’d call an expert myself, but I’m *pretty* sure that in order to do academic-level literary or cinematic criticism, you have to do more than question your opponent’s credentials, quote one thought-terminating cliche, and confidently assert you are correct.

      There should probably be some actual reference to the content of the work in question and, ideally, some kind of logical process connecting it to your premise. (Again, don’t quote me on that!) Additionally, finishing your criticism by telling your debate partner to “think less hard” might not be a boon to your credibility.

    • Mister Sid says:

      You can’t quote Freud unless you have a psychology degree so your entire post is now moot.

    • Notmyrealnameeither says:

      You don’t have to be an expert in anything, particularly literature, if you gain some insight and have the evidence to back it up. You can reduce any story down its most basic plot line, but you wouldn’t think any new thoughts, or come to realize any truths with that habit. Don’t criticize others, particularly when employing condescension, as it makes you look like a pretentious ass, and ruins intellectual discourse on the matter. This author brought up some good points, no matter if its what the original director of the movie intended or not. Thats the whole point of fiction anyways.

    • Victor says:

      Looks like you fall into the target audience, and now that you realize the movie you thought was on your side is a criticism against you. So instead of take it to heart, and contributing to the world, you’re much too comfortable sitting at home scoffing at how clearly stupid everyone else is.

    • jud says:

      couldn’t have said it better.

    • Ben Calhoun says:

      Good on you. I read the “article” and was. . . bemused. . .

      To say nothing of the fact that Joe does indeed triumph in the face of advertisy, does have a moment of personal triumph, and there is an emotional payoff, his whole thesis is predicated on a bunch of things that just aren’t true.

      If I could describe this in one word, it would be “risible.”

    • MyRealName says:

      Or it could be doing both. The line: “I think maybe the world got like this because of people like me”, is a clear indication the film took a stab at the idea the author is stating. He says the film failed in that it didn’t drive this point home; but maybe it wasn’t meant to. Maybe it was only to serve as a reminder that you [watching] are the ones who let it get this way. More of a post script. I don’t think even someone as smug and opinionated as you can argue that, huh, Sigmund? Plus every artistic creation if subjective; so why the scathing tone? Get off your high horse, d-bag.

  11. Yuri Walkiw says:

    Great post! I love the movie, and I think it’s funnier than you give it credit for.

  12. 4minIwontgetback says:

    Wow. I think the author here is the epitome of average in a sea of bumbling idiots. If people actually watch this movie and feel better about themselves, and the author feels the need to call these people out, then he must not see the obvious and significant parallels between life and art.

    • btyrer says:

      So then you call the author out? Comment-ception.

    • Mister Sid says:

      Yeah art is such a mirror into life. What a load of crap, art is pseudo-intellectual masturbation for people who are too lazy to get a real job.

      • Tap says:

        lol, dude just wrote off ALL of art. No movies, books, music, nothing. so boring.

      • Ben Calhoun says:

        A) Art is not a mirror into life. It is pseudo-intellectual masturbation for people who are too lazy to get a real job.

        B) The OP’s article about how art is a mirror into life has some deep hidden meaning only accessible to those who truly understand art, rather than a waste of keystrokes from some moron in a chair.

        Pick one. You can’t have both.

    • youmissedthepoint says:

      So we should never criticize things that make people feel better about themselves? Think about all of the repercussions of what you just wrote, and let us know when you finally realize the author is right in calling out people who feel good about themselves for all the wrong reasons; especially when that “feeling good” results in conformity and mediocrity.

  13. LOL, I love that this guy gives his opinion on the movie, and to maintain the feelings of superiority that the guy is talking about in his blurb, people start chiming in with “oh, that is exactly what I thought when I watched it, too” “look at me, I’m superior like you” “I recognized his commentary on average people not doing enough and therefore I avoided being part of the group being commented on, go me!”

    This is an opinion piece, agree or disagree, but this is one of the worst opinion pieces you could possibly choose to be a sheep for.

    Personally, I consider the movie a great satirical commentary on what the future could be like. And it isn’t just because only stupid people are breeding. It is because corporations cherish mindless consumers and will do everything they can to keep it going in that direction. You think that city sized Costco was created by a bunch of idiots that can’t tie their shoes? No, there are still smart people around, they are just hiding in a corporate headquarters somewhere profiting off of the world that they created.

  14. William Hershel Walker says:

    i donno, i thought this movie was basically typical white liberal hipster racism:
    average white guy is good, even idiot white guys like the lawyer are generally good at heart,
    meanwhile the latino woman is a prostitute and the black president is dangerous and threatening.
    that’s racist.

    • liberal hipster? these words have absolutely nothing to do with the matter at hand. good job showing everyone what a dumbfuck you are though.

    • Ben Calhoun says:

      I’m not sure I totally agree, but I see where you’re coming from.

      Regardless, the thing we agree on is that OP is talking out of his asshole.

  15. daru says:

    I think you interpreted it as how you wanted to interpret it. Films are art and a good artist makes his work open to interpretation.

    Joe was said to be intellectually average, but in truth he was above average but highly unmotivated. This movie was criticizing modern culture and mass stupidity in general. Like the film said “I wondered if Einstein felt like everyone else was retarded”, or something like that.

  16. HalfPriceLattes says:

    The first time I watched this movie the biggest thought that kept running through my head the whole time was “how possible could this really be?”.

    I know it was pretty hokey, maybe even nearly-retarded in its humorous mocking. But really, if you look at where the world has headed even in the last decade, is it so hard to think that this entire plot is completely plausible over a 500 year stretch?

    We used to dream about going to the moon, now all we care about is the latest generation of iPhone with a few new perks that trick us into believing that today’s technology is actually advancing. Instead of figuring out how to cure cancer, solve debt crises or alleviating world hunger, we’ve made pills to make rock hard cocks, we’re more concerned about a xombie apocalypse than a real financial meltdown, and somehow have even unconvinced ourselves of things such as climate change. We’ve forgotten about evolution, instead all we care about is convenience and instant gratification. /endrant

    I love this movie more every time I watch it. And believe me when I say the first time I watched it, I was almost revolted by it.

    • Ben Calhoun says:

      So what you’re saying is that you don’t agree with the OP at all and believe his thesis is retarded?

      Because the shitty blog post he wrote suggests that people who have your experience of the movie “just, don’t, like, get it, man.”

  17. Dorky says:

    You talk like a fag and your shit’s all retarded…

    • Ben Calhoun says:

      You are a god damn genius.

      There it was, staying us in the face the whole time, and it took until you came along for someone to say it.

      I laughed when I read that.

  18. Absolutely says:

    You are totally entitled to your opinion of what you think the movie was about. In that sense you are right, it is a criticism of you.

    The movie is based upon “The Marching Morons” and IS about how we are breeding down, lowering the “common denominator”.

  19. Patrick Ory says:

    It was necessary for the protagonist to be average by modern standards. This serves to highlight the decline in intelligence between current and future times.

    • Ben Calhoun says:

      I thought this was one of the most spurious points he made. If we send back a super commando billionare playboy astronaut wizard, that defeats the entire point of the movie. Of course he looks superior to them. He looks superior to EVERYONE.

      Good on you for being one of the people to notice this.

  20. Zhico says:

    Some fags and retards talks. http://youtu.be/_ccv4J7EDzY

    (In this episode of Navigating Netflix, the team looks at the brilliant comedic satire, “Idiocracy” and examine its plot of a future humanity that has been dumbed down to the point of near-uselessness.) quite interesting

  21. Max Beaulieu says:

    This is some nice literary criticism. The theory is interesting an a bit provocative. I can see the film operating on multiple levels, balancing crude humor, self righteous smug, and a criticism on both.

    I would have liked a few more examples supporting the theory, and I think a bit more digging into the movie, possibly re-watching certain scenes would help solidify your argument.

    • jud says:

      No. It really wasn’t interesting or provocative. It was a poor attempt to connect the author’s feelings of superiority with his own lack luster writing skills.

      • Ben Calhoun says:

        It was certainly provocative.

        It’s obnoxious dismissal of sensible people provoked me into calling the OP a colossal moron in the comments.

        It wasn’t “nice,” or “interesting,” and it definitely showcased some choppy prose and some weak thinking skills.

    • Ben Calhoun says:

      It’s provocative.

      Unfortunately to make something nice literary criticism, it must have other qualities than just being “provocative,” and it has to be a book.

      We’ll skip that niggling little detail and focus on the crux of the matter: he talks like a fag and his shit is all retarded, which is to say, it’s a dumb thesis predicated on a bunch of nonsense.

  22. SmarterThanYou says:

    80% of the population thinks they’re smarter than the average person.

    • Ben Calhoun says:

      Since there are 7 billion people, which means that the “intelligence” distribution is probably normal, I feel like it’s important to note that 62.5% of those people are right.

  23. Bryan says:

    “At least I’m smarter than you – I’ve seen the real meaning of Idiocracy.” LOL

  24. youallarebeingtrolled says:

    how mad are you right now bro?

  25. so.. says:

    is anyone else aware of how ironic the comments are in context to the film? to the review?
    seriously, if that shit were gold coins scrooge mcduck would be swimming in here.

    • Ben Calhoun says:

      Not at all.

      The blog post is dumbfoundingly ironic in this sense, but I feel like it is fair and reasonable to call the OP an imbecile, and the particular diction you use to do it does not reflect on your intelligence.

  26. freehugs says:

    Why is this article is garnering such a negative emotional response? It only supports the main argument where there is no credible criticism to mask the boiling vitriol.

    • Ben Calhoun says:

      I would wager it’s because it is so bleedingly pompous, yet simultaneously moronic.

      He uses as evidence that there is no emotional payoff, personal victory, or triumph in the face of adversity (all of which are present and direct), that the main character is average (which is absolutely critical to the whole point of a future populated by idiots), and that no geniuses are able to save society despite the fact that the whole point of the movie is that we misspent our talent today and created a stupider future tomorrow.

      That alone would make people scoff. It’s a pretty dumb thesis altogether, and the evidence is bad enough that he should’ve read what he was writing and wondered about it.

      But then he paints a caricature of the people who enjoyed the film for what it was and had a good laugh at our impending doom as being incompetents who have no capability for self evaluation. That’s where it’s from.

      So, in short, he mixes a health dose of stupid with a strong helping of smug, and people don’t care for that.

  27. Mike says:

    Some people really are above average. This movie is full of inaccuracies (particularly regarding intellectual pedigree), but it’s a way for those people whose minds are sharper than average to stroke their egos.
    If you eliminated the most accomplished 10% of humanity, progress in mathematics and science would be crippled. If you thought those subjects boring or exceedingly difficult, then you’re probably average. There’s also a good chance you made someone’s social life difficult because they were above average. Regardless of Mr. Judge’s intent, please let this remain a social accolade for intellectuals; we get few enough.

  28. Bubbles says:

    People complain that their politicians are crappy, that its a choice between dumb and dumber and use that as an excuse to return to doing nothing. Sorry, the answer is not do nothing, its do something as in get involved… Get involved in the candidate selection or be a candidate yourself. Educate yourself and hold people to account so you are not fooled by the simplest of lies… Otherwise, before you know it “ASS!” and “Ow my Balls” will be the only things on TV.
    I agree, the film was not a knee slapper, but I am reminded of it a little too much sometimes.

  29. Kristy says:

    Hyocrites,hypocrites everywhere!

  30. I like money says:

    Brawndo has electrolytes…

  31. Idiot says:

    This whole thread of comments is probably DVRing “Ow! My Balls!”

  32. Grammar Yahtzee says:

    Grammar: “this makes him far more like you or I than” should be “this makes him far more like you or me than”

    • Grammar Taxi says:

      Nope. “this makes him far more like you or I than…” is short for “this makes him far more like you or I [are/am] than”. Thus, the pronouns are the subject of a subordinate clause, and must be in the nominative case. Using the objective case “me” is not correct.

      • Ben Calhoun says:

        I can’t help but feel like it should be “alike,” rather than “like,” but I suppose that’s really a stylistic thing. But I doubt I’d have structured that sentence quite the way OP did anyway. You know, on account of the fact that he writes poorly.

  33. DNA says:

    If you spend you free time watching tv/porn/internet, eat nothing but shitty processed food and never read books, then this film is *about you*.

  34. Gaz says:

    I think the movie was about some of these comments.

    also, “I like money.”

    • Ben Calhoun says:

      Whatever it was about, it was not about what the OP is suggesting.

      OP isn’t quite stupid enough to fit the bill either.

  35. mancko says:

    Makes perfect sense: reveling in the idea that you are better means that you never feel the need to be better. As long as someone is worse than you, you don’t need to aspire to anything. I don’t see how this is a very controversial thesis. The first scene in the movie: Do you think Mike Judge deems the “intellectual” couple admirable for not breeding? They’re just feeding into the zeitgeist. It’s scathing on several sides, and while not an overtly impressive movie, it does make some good points.

    “All that is necessary for evil to triumph is for good men to do nothing” – Burke

    Replace “evil” with “stupid” and “good” with “people with potential” and you’ve got it. The quote isn’t quite as pithy, but it works.

    • Ben Calhoun says:

      The caricature he paints of people who disagree is probably what’s drawn a lot of the scorn. Justifiably so. Even if his thesis was sound (I have to insist that it is not), OP is a dick about it.

      A few of his points are also patently, risibly idiotic. He goes to pains to point out that Joe is average, but he obviously fails to consider that if we sent back Einstein Phelps Bolt Newton the Third, then we lose the whole point of the movie: now our protagonist seems superior because he is.

      Moreover, the idea that there is no emotional payoff (Joe saves the world), triumphs in the face of adversity (avoids death at the hands of X, Y, or Z), or moment of personal victory (he is made special advisor to the president or something like that and shacks up with his stripper/prostitute girlfriend) is. . . sort of a peculiar notion, given all of these things are front and center during the final minutes of the movie.

      The bit about the egg heads not saving society is his one cogent point, and he actually borks that by failing to mention the scientists at the start, and how Joe came up with the solution using good old fashioned common sense. Of course, this is actually strong support for the basic interpretation of the movie, which is the idea that stupid people incapable of common sense came to dominate the world. But he could have spun it.

      Overall, I would say this is a pretty out and out failure on OP’s part. He makes a moronic series of arguments, which is fine, because we all make mistakes, but he does it in such a mewling, graceless fashion, and this is why everyone wants to punch him in the teeth.

  36. I feel stupider for having read this says:

    Intriguing I always wondered what a MFA in film led too. Here is a script idea for you, it’s about a world in the future populated entirely by morons who believe they are intelligent and artsy. Now drop an average Joe into that universe, imagine all hijinks that would ensue.

    I would love to see you produce this script but something tells me this blog’s last entry will detail your tragic demise due autoerotic asphyxiation… while masturbating.

  37. leslie says:

    the best part of the film is that it is styled/disguised as a typical mainstream comedy. Subversive!

  38. SoulPatch says:

    I understood the “deeper meaning” of this movie. The fim’s biggest problem is that it just wasn’t funny, and it repeated the same joke for 90 minutes. Anybody can make a satirical comedy, it’s another to actually make interesting and funny. I understood the point of the movie in the first 10 minutes, which I laughed at. And then I never laughed again since the same joke (albeit in different ways) were repeated ad nauseum.

    The issue of the movie is that wasn’t funny, not that it’s “misunderstood”.

    On a side note, is this truly a “cult classic”? I don’t know anybody who enjoyed this movie, or even bothered with it after it came out on video…

  39. Peddit says:

    I love how the comments completely back up what you believe to be Judge’s critique: “u suck at writing, u must go to a b tier school”..”fuck u, fagwad, u’re a dig bc u’re overcompensating for a small penis” “oh yeah, well he’s prob getting laid and u aren’t” “yeah, well, u’re just not as smart as i am so this blurb just went over your head”…. is it possible to comment on an article without trolling? (myself included)

    • Ben Calhoun says:

      Based on the totally oafish way he painted a caricature of people who had the basic interpretation of the film, I think that there was no one the comments for this article were ever going to be anything but a battleground.

  40. 9gagarmy says:

    You’re so stupid you can’t even remove the WordPress favicon from your blog fuckin retard.

  41. schizopolis says:

    The producers were clever enough to get permission from Costco, Starbucks, Fudruckers, Carl’s Junior, Fox News, etc. for the movie to ridicule their brands. Even though those corporations probably prevented the movie from getting a wide release, it will live forever on DVD/Blu-ray, cable and streaming.

  42. Mr10001 says:

    I believe what you’re attempting to describe is the “Dunning-Kruger Effect”. But you probably already knew that… =)

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dunning%E2%80%93Kruger_effect

  43. Some Guy says:

    I liked your article. Fuck the haters.

  44. Wow. Game changer. Insightful doesn’t begin to describe it.

    • Ben Calhoun says:

      Or describe it at all, actually.

    • norm says:

      May I just say this string of comments is insane! All of u were that pissed at one persons (op )opinions about idiocracy? Rarrr you suck for having an opinion different than mine blah blah blah. Just take a step back and calm down….Ridiculous… just ridiculous…. ridiculous.

  45. Drummond45 says:

    This article came off as very amateur. Feels like a Williamsburg hipster must have written this shit. You realize your argument collapses in on itself, right? Arrogance and stupidity combined sometimes creates the illusion of intelligence. The author obviously is suffering from this ailment. Lame.

  46. comments are full of niggers

  47. envirosport says:

    Cool take on a movie I now need to rewatch!

  48. marxmith says:

    I simply saw the movie as prophecy. I didn’t think about it as being critical of society or myself. I was just like, “Oh, so that’s what it’s going to be like.”

  49. A4man says:

    You find in life situations when you think to yourself ‘man, this is something right out of Idiocracy!’ Sadly, adverts surrounding your T.V and going to see an ass in the cinema is probably the future.

  50. The movie was about as subtle as Jonathan Swift. They lay out the premise almost wholesale with the dual montage of the wealthy, educated couple v. the white trash lineage. If the movie had done more to make this point more obvious, it would have been only gilding the lily.

    • Caleb Johnsen says:

      Yeah, but I still say that’s more on the “smart” couple for putting things off constantly so that ONLY stupid people ever actually did anything, including each other, leaving the hillbilly families as our only hope for the future of humanity.

      Honestly, it’s the same thing as what the article said, which was not to be some lazy, impotent person and do something, goddamnit.

  51. Great point thanks for giving me something to think on.

    I enjoyed the movie as well.

  52. Caleb Johnsen says:

    You know what, I don’t care what the author originally intended, I care if I can apply the interpretation I take away from it in a meaningful way to my reality. This article introduced an interpretation that made sense and is a total game-changer as far as how I think about this movie in general, and I’m sticking to it.

    Still, good luck with all the armchair critiquing. I hope you guys get the ball rolling soon. It’d be pretty boring if it just sat there after all.

  53. BamaJohn251 says:

    Anything with something called a dildozer in it cannot be that high brow.

  54. You're fucking retarded says:

    pretty fucking stupid overanalysis. reeks of trying-too-hard. sorry you wasted your college career in film studies to write conspiracy theories

  55. Really? says:

    Reading the replies and most of the usernames… This film isn’t far off the mark.

  56. Tipsy says:

    There’s that fag talk we talked about.

  57. njk006 says:

    There’s that fag talk we talked about. Don’t worry, scrote. There are plenty of ‘tards out there living really kick-ass lives. My first wife was ‘tarded. She’s a pilot now.

  58. Ed Ruiz says:

    I eat a lot of fiber, I also admire Mr Calhoun’s writing style, I have a thing about naming my turds, and coming up with names is challenging, on account of all that fiber, from now on, I will call all my turds Bell Calhoun… Now, if you excuse me, I must go pinch a Calhoun.

  59. dogtrot says:

    C’mon. The movie was an awesome concept that was one of the most hilarious prologues in movie history, then was funny for a while, then beaten to death. It wasn’t too subtle for people to grasp. There just wasn’t enough there to make a good movie. Woulda been a, all-time classic skit or short film, but the premise was taxing for the last half of the movie, same joke, over and over…

  60. It took me three minutes to read this. To cite a cliche: I’d like it back please.

  61. T.A.B. says:

    Clearly, OP, you have hit a nerve. Don’t worry about it. I’ve seen Idiocracy a number of times and I never really thought of it like this, but you’ve given me a new idea to chew on (regardless of all the little criticisms people are throwing at you in the comments). I love movies and I think it’s important that every audience member brings their own perspective to light. Thank you for sharing; keep writing!

  62. T.A.B. says:

    Oh! And for what it’s worth I just shared this with another friend who does agree with you. He points out that Luke Wilson, at the start of the film, is just like Fredo is shown later on. Sitting on his ass, watching TV. Just like all of us are sitting at our computers, throwing useless comments into space. :)

  63. Dannington says:

    I can’t help but think the that OP and Ben Calhoun are one in the same and this is an elaborate trolling session. How else can one account for the latter being such a douché?

  64. J says:

    I think pulling a “Ben Calhoun” should be the name of something… Maybe psychotically commenting until your original point is lost in a sea of vitriolic bullshit.

  65. Whether you got the movie wrong, or right, you’re right. We tend to think smart people are going are save us, but generally they don’t. The United States has been successful because it unleashed the creative energy of average people, not intellectuals nor the aristocratic. Countries where these two groups (often the same people) have held power tend to have troubles, like the current European crisis. There’s too much going on for the smart people to manage or design a system that can handle all the flux and churn. I wouldn’t be surprised if Mike Judge agrees with you!

  66. President Ben says:

    Sooo… Mike Judge wrote a movie that would mock anyone who enjoyed it?

    I agree with everything Ben says here.

  67. Richard says:

    When I laugh at this movie, I’m not laughing at the dirty jokes or the stupidity of the characters, or that the average Joe doesn’t get the point of it. I laugh at this movie because it scares me to think that it could ever get that bad, it makes me feel physically uncomfortable to think that such a society could exist.

    It isn’t schadenfreude. I laugh to keep myself from getting depressed.

  68. Jason says:

    You are over thinking and incorrect.

  69. Haywood U. Jablome. says:

    I think we may have just reached the ‘Idiocracy’ threshold described in the movie.

  70. Auston says:

    Dude, I think you’re right – and I think everyone who’s hating on you for posting this… doesn’t like the idea that you’re right.

    So basically fuck the haters, and keep writing dude.

  71. Professor Turner says:

    Whoever did write this doesn’t know the first thing about Kurt Vonnegut.

  72. hohmeisw says:

    Interesting article. I think the same thing is true of “God Bless America”. It’s a movie that, on the surface, seems to condemn the culture around the main characters. And while what we see is shallow and stupid, the main characters aren’t any better – one’s a teenage sociopath, and the other is a middle-aged loser determined to be right in a “sea of wrong”. The reaction from the audience – in both cases being something like, “Yes! Finally, someone sees how stupid EVERYONE ELSE is,” – says far worse things about the audience than the terrible culture in each movie.

  73. the best effin movie ever …. i lol’d when i watched this but so true if things go the way they do now

  74. Movie says:

    That’s an interesting point. All of us have chance to make a difference. We generally don’t act upon those.

  75. megankillian says:

    You’re spot on! This is a great post. Thanks for articulating it so well. Be more, do more! Don’t make excuses, and don’t be a lazy piece of shit.

  76. sharpestool says:

    ah. you guys are all dumb and im the smartest guy here cause i can decipher all your motives and also out insult all of you without even using my brain.
    the article was way stupid as well.

  77. Mayville says:

    For a while there, I thought that posts I especially enjoyed reading only *seemed* to get a lot of negative attention.
    Now I know.
    Thank you, trolls.
    And, thank you Ryan, for yet another opinion that I couldn’t agree more with :)

  78. Toby says:

    As far as I can see, all you noticed was the same thing anyone who watched the movie should have noticed. Given Luke Wilsons character literally said in the film exactly what you are trying to say was misunderstood by most of the films viewers. It more seems that you were late to pick up on that context in the movie, or simply talk to all the wrong fans of the movie. This article is pointless.

  79. Alex says:

    Wrong or right? Who cares? He’s entitled to his opinion, and I enjoyed reading it and it made me think.

    Isn’t that the point.

  80. Ben Brung says:

    This is the first time I’m hearing it wasn’t a documentary. Since Reagan started gutting education in 1980, then de-funding and legislating toward the worst possible path in terms of ed. research. Any sense of superiority I might have had due to access to better education is now submersed in sadness and defeat. Since I called out Reagan, it’s only fair to point out that I think Obama has continued to make it worse at a pretty fair clip.

  81. Castor says:

    Excellent read! Surprised by the amount of trolling in the comments.

  82. Your paper is bad and you should feel bad too says:

    “The hero is, by our standards, a completely average person who does absolutely nothing remarkable. He doesn’t triumph in the face of adversity, there’s no great emotional payoff, no personal victory.”

    This sentence is horrible, I don’t know what your standard of hero is, but this is not mine; if you are implying that the standard of the hero does nothing remarkable in the movie you are wrong as well. He solves a problem which had the potential to destroy the world of the movie; then becomes president and sets in motion events that have the probability of restoring the world to its former glory all the while learning some very important philosophical lessons for himself. Granted you might think that noticing using brawndo rather than water for crops is idiotically foolish, but in the context of the movie making that realization is a grand realization.

    There are more feats accomplished by Joe as well; such as surviving the arena scene.

    Seriously this paper seaches to far, and your grand point based on Joe’s personal insight “i think the world got this way b/c of people like me.” may certainly apply you, but does not to me; perhaps your life is like Joe’s where you waste time at a job where you do nothing, but my life sure as hell is not like that. SO speak for yourself on this.

    Furthermore you fail to analyze on of the most important parts of the movie which is towards the beginning and shows the family tree of the idiot vs the smart couple and demostrates the importanec of biological fitness (fitness refers to the number of offspring a person has) intelligence does not make you fit, and in american society the retards have the most children are the fittest and being as such they push human evolution away from intelligence and toward ignorance..

    Kindly go fuck yourself.

  83. Graverainbow says:

    Benny Calhoun repeatedly calls this article self-indulgent and hypocritical. Yet, Benny has posted 31 times on this. Besides the copious number of logical fallacies he commits throughout his responses, he also fails to support most of his own arguments, yet condemns other posters for the exact same lack of support. What Ben clearly misses in his rantings is the author’s critique of the subtext of the film. Thankfully, as with any art medium, such interpretations are wholly up to the independent audience member. Such critical theories that offer cultural critique of artwork are common elements learned in any higher education setting past the freshman year. The author has provided both a new historical and viewer reader-response to his film analysis. To attack it based on the quality of the writing and on its content, and to ignore the course purpose of all art, is not only cowardly, but becomes the epitome of the message Judge injects into “Idiocracy”. As are the barren, superfluous polemic posts of fag, go fuck yourself, and other ad hominem attacks.

  84. Chris says:

    People keep addressing this piece of writing as if it was written in college, or was made to be examined by some educational board. It’s just a guy expressing his own opinion about a film he enjoyed and thought it might be interesting to write about. He posted it online and doesn’t deserve to be crucified by a group of people thriving in their anonymity with serious anger issues. If you have to disagree with such vitriol, don’t just take it out on the OP, turn it into an opposing argument and post that up somewhere, and then he can flame you all he wants, although something tells me he won’t because he probably isn’t an immature fool.

    I didn’t really like Idiocracy that much but I did enjoy this article and it made me appreciate the film a little more. For that I’m happy.

    Trolling makes me unhappy though, at some point someone decided that rage and insults were cool on the internet, well I don’t think they ever were. They are the tools of a heartless child that never learned to be kind.

  85. Beavis says:

    Don’t ask an American citizen to explain this film. The phrase “can’t see the wood for the trees” springs to mind.
    Huh huh, yeah…dumb asses!! huh huh.

    • jere80 says:

      Stupid thing to say. There are plenty of us Americans who love this movie and see how stupid people are all around us. Don’t lump us in with the fucking morons this movie brilliantly makes fun of.

  86. [...] I’d spend as little as 30 minutes writing something, anything to maintain the schedule. The Idiocracy rumination, which caused a minor furor on the Internet and garnered 350,000 hits last August, is one of these. [...]

  87. I think you you are trying to hard to be ‘clever’. Interesting take but 100% wrong. Not my opinion, Mike Judge the author & producer, has stated as much. It is a satirical movie lampooning the dumbing down of our society / culture. No more complicated than that.

    So, I think “you talk like a fag & your shit’s all retarded.” Just kidding scro! Really. Rock on, nobody’s perfect..


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