Category Archives: dumb stuff

Milo at UC Berkeley: The Death Knell of the Free Speech Left

​I can barely express the deep sadness and disappointment I feel watching this footage. I have family members who attended UC Berkeley and wax nostalgically about the heady days of the Vietnam War protests and the free speech movement.

What a monstrous and grotesque inversion of that movement the modern Left has become. Mindless hordes chanting their slogans of hatred all cloaked in a phony veneer of “resistance” and “protecting the marginalized”. Marxism has always been the ideological core of the Left throughout the 20th century, and now it has apparently reached its inevitable apotheosis. Full on ideological conformity paired with a naked thirst for power. All they’ve done is update the formula with a few pride flags and a pepper it with a dash of Islamophilia.

News flash, progressives. You’ve become what you profess to abhor. You are the totalitarians. You officially forfeit any claim to the term “liberal”. You are a bunch of pathetic zombies. You are hastening the destruction of everything that’s decent and civilized.

You don’t get to call speech with which you disagree “violence” only to use that idiotic reasoning as a moral rationale for ACTUAL violence in order to prevent someone from exercising his right to free speech.

And lest you believe that local politicians would hastily denounce this mayhem, banish the thought.  The first words uttered by the mayor of the #TOLERANT paradise of the People’s Republic of Berkeley considered Milo’s alleged “hate speech” the greater threat than the Antifa rioters.  That should tell you everything you need to know about the Left’s priorities when it comes to the exercise of violence in service of advancing its political goals.

To say that the celebrity Twittersphere was throwing gasoline on the fire is an understatement.


If you can’t compete honestly in the arena of debate and you justify VIOLENCE in order to silence your opponents, your ideas are terrible. 

What I Learned From the 2017 Womyn’s March

Hundreds of thousands of #STRONG womyn and their obedient m*le allies marched in several major cities on Saturday to protest President Literally Hitler. This display of #BRAVERY included some dumb pink hats, lots of selfies with besties, signs emblazoned with idiotic clichés, plenty of references to female genitalia, and lots of yoga pants that are cute but not objectifying. Of course, it was an occasion to collectively whinge about living under the bootheel of white supremacist, capitalist patriarchy. Or something. 

This is the overarching message I received from all of this posturing:

1. Though it was called a Womyn’s March, it was really about feminism. Since feminism is a political agenda almost exclusively aligned with the political Left, we’re going to call it a Womyn’s March because we want people to equate women with feminism in their minds.  Since women are virtuous, wonderful and oppressed and m*n are violent PYGS, we want to advertise to everyone that we are the ones who support womyn. Not like those sexist #ReTHUGliKKKans.  

2. Since feminism presents itself as a liberation ideology which is aligned with Women’s Suffrage and we believe perfectly analogous to the Civil Rights movement and the abolition of slavery, everything for which we currently advocate is Virtuous and Good by definition and proves that we are on the Right Side of #Hxstory. Feminism is the Correct Ideological Position to take if you actually care about the entire spectrum of beleaguered groups suffering under the oppression of the Trumpocalypse and white supremacy in general. Feminism stands for all races, cultures, sexual orientations and gender identities that aren’t white, European or Christian. Everyone who opposes us is a misogynist and a Nazi.  

3. Though we carry signs which virtue signal how “kind” and “loving” we are, what this is really about is ensuring the survival of the feminist (i.e. Democrat) legislative agenda and promoting the idea that the only people fit to govern are Democrats. Womyn are only truly empowered when the taxpayer subsidies are flowing towards our preferred institutions and causes. If it doesn’t, it’s fascism. Everyone who opposes even one piece of the agenda is a racist, sexist #BIGOT.  

4. Our advocacy for this legislative agenda proves that we are Good People® who are #WOKE.  If you make even one attempt to suggest otherwise, you’re a hateful, sexist #BIGOT and a white supremacist. 

5. In feminist media and academia, we will rail against biological gender dimorphism and gender signifiers like the color pink, but in the March, we’ll jettison all of that and wear pink pussy hats, wear lots of makeup, and carry signs proudly advertising female anatomy all while insisting that we are not determined by gender and expect to be taken seriously as individuals. After the March, we will resume calling opponents of gender construction theory transphobic #BIGOTS. 

6. We will happily don an American flag hijab to show our #SOLIDARITY with Muslims, but we will actively ignore the oppression of women in Islamic countries.  Besides, it makes us look like the Shepard Fairey painting and it looks super cute with Snapchat filters and we’ll get lots of likes on Instagram.  Most importantly, we’ll completely disregard Hillary Clinton’s ties to Saudi Arabia, her active support for the invasions of Libya and Iraq and the incalculable damage each caused, as well as Linda Sarsour’s open advocacy of Sharia Law in America.  #StayWoke, SYSTERS!

7. “Reproductive rights” means taxpayer subsidies for abortion and contraception. We’ll remind all of the #TROGLODYTES and #RePYGliKKKans that taxpayer funding doesn’t fund abortion cuz Hyde Amendment and shit and condescend to you for being an ill informed luddite who listens to Fake News. Any and all opposition to any taxpayer funding for either abortion or contraception means you are a hateful misogynist. It’s HEALTHCARE! WHY DO YOU HATE WOMYN?! And we’re talking to you, pro-life “feminists”. 

8. Disagreement with any aspect of our agenda is bigotry, hate and fascism. We’re Tolerant® people, after all.  

Consider that patriarchy SMASHED, feminists!

Hollywood Proselytizes for the Cult of Obama to the Bitter End


If Meryl Streep’s steaming pile of smug and the generally ignominious and partisan tone of the Golden Globes weren’t a sufficient reminder that Hollywood is a de facto propaganda arm for the Democrats and all things Obama, I present this towering feat of kiss ass.

This creepy, outrageously obsequious and idolatrous ode to the Obama Cult of Personality comes courtesy of celebrity sycophants, and a Diverse© pool of Marginalized P*rsxns engaged in a breathless and vacuous recitation of talking points. This is virtue signalling that would make Kim Jong Il jealous. Obama is obviously concerned about the demolition of his legacy so the self-congratulatory vibe is cranked to 11.

In the Soviet Union, artists were required to glorify the State.  In America, it’s a way to telegraph that you’re a Good P*rsxn and totally #WOKE while indulging a fantasy that you’re being edgy and contrarian despite being in a bubble of near perfect ideological conformity.

Positively loathsome. 

Le Tigre and Feminism’s Cult of Government Worship


In case you still harbored the delusion that feminism was some kind of edgy, contrarian ideology, the original purveyors of 90’s Riot Grrrl feminist electroclash, Le Tigre, have returned from the dead to destroy all doubt. In this sad attempt at cultural relevance, these would-be “rebels” become full throated propagandists for corporatist, neocon-approved Hillary Clinton. 

That’s right. Apparently, cheerleading for the woman who has voted for wars which have killed tens of thousands, taken money from Islamic regimes, and actively undermined her husband’s rape accusers is super feminist and like totally empowering. She’s a Democrat, she has a vagina, and she’ll be the first womyn in the Oval Office, so set aside all those petty right-wing conspiracy theories, PYGS!

If you can even make it past the knife-to-the-skull intro, the song is nothing more than a moronic and childish pander-fest. Filled to the brim with idiotic clichés, feminist straw men, obligatory talking points, and canned Trump hate, the song achieves new heights in cringe.  

Apparently, neither Le Tigre or Pitchfork are all that interested in feedback on this song because the voting buttons and comments have been disabled.  

Way to stand behind those feminist convictions, SYSTERS.  

Laurie Penny Goes Full Retard Over Brexit

Not that it’s a particularly new phenomenon or is somehow different from any occasion in which she opens her mouth to speak, Laurie Penny goes full retard in her latest New Statesman piece over the Brexit vote. 
As expected, it’s another annoyingly predictable slab of collectivist guilt tripping and preachy recriminations leveled at the allegedly racist, xenophobic, “neofascist” Neanderthal Right. She is indignant over how they are hopelessly stuck in the past and just won’t atone for Britain’s colonial repressions by accepting the arbitrary rule of globalist technocrats in Brussels.

Mx. Penny seems to believe that you can legislate kindness and decency, but Britain’s exit from the goatfuck known as the EU will not prevent a single individual from cultivating those virtues in the social sphere. Mx. Penny also seems to be asserting that moral virtue is tied to the ballot box and this is simply not the case. Trade, tariff and immigration policy are in no way shape or form tied to how individuals behave towards one another. She bemoans the Right’s supposed absence of #Tolerance© while failing to recognize that the Western world, including Great Britain, has been blazing trails by ensuring rights for LGBT communities. Despite a noticeable absence of reciprocal behavior in the Islamic world, the West has been bending over backwards to make accommodations for Muslim minorities and refugees. One can certainly advocate for tolerance towards different sexual preferences, lifestyles or religious beliefs, but people are going to formulate judgments regardless of which laws are passed. Calling conservatives bigots achieves little other than to confirm the smug elitism of her readership. It’s patently obvious that her reproach is solely directed at her conservative, white countrymen.  I’m willing to wager she wouldn’t dare lecture Muslims about their attitudes towards gays or utter a peep of skepticism towards the advent of Sharia courts in the UK.

Her invocations of Britain’s imperial past seem little more than a dumb and pathetic attempt to instill guilt and shame.  Britain ceased to be any kind of imperial power after WW2. She whinges away over the diminished prospects for the young people she insists have been deprived of opportunity as a result of this vote. This is the country and the descendants of the people who rebuilt London after being reduced to ashes after the Blitz, and this petty, elitist pillock has the gall to whine about colonialism. Equally contemptible is her blathering over the supposed dashed hopes of the “millions” of downtrodden millennials who’ve never even faced a fraction of the hardships of their forebears. She presently enjoys the freedom for which her ancestors bled and died.  She’s part of one of the oldest and proudest civilizations in the history of the world, but all she focuses on are Britain’s conquests while simultaneously ignoring the actual achievements of the British. According to Laurie Penny, you should disregard the contributions of Sir Isaac Newton, Samuel Johnson, Augustus Pugin, Alan Turing, Jethro Tull, Jane Austen, Samuel Taylor Coleridge, John Locke, Francis Bacon, Charles Darwin, William Shakespeare, Michael Faraday, CS Lewis, Francis Fowke, Margaret Thatcher, Henry Fox Talbot, Geoffrey Chaucer, John Stuart Mill, Mary Shelley, JRR Tolkien, Sir Walter Scott, Jimmy Page or John Lennon, and focus solely on all of the colonial repressions and things Brits appropriated from other cultures during its years of imperial expansion. Just feel guilty and hang your head in shame, you stupid degenerates. Someone with white skin and a British accent did something bad in the past and you should feel bad about it. Penny is either unaware or unwilling to acknowledge that there isn’t a single advanced culture in the world that hasn’t cracked a few skulls in order to establish some semblance of order. And in the case of Muhammad (PBUH), tens of millions of skulls cracked and enslaved over the course of many centuries.  But never mind all that.  Focus on the bad, imperialist British white man.

The West has been reasonably successful in having a pluralistic society with a multiplicity of opinions and beliefs.  It’s imperfect, but who would expect it to be anything other than imperfect? 

How many multicultural paradises are there in the Islamic world?  Perhaps Mx. Penny would prefer it there over the jackbooted oppression of Great Britain. 

All of her ridiculous and hyperbolic invocations of the rise of a fascist British state are just laughable. If anything, the idea of a globalist super state trying to manage a disparate collection of countries with different cultural traditions is an ill conceived idea from the start.  It is also one that is likely to destroy any vestiges of national identity and uniqueness. She claims to want the country of JK Rowling and David Bowie, but the successes of these artists was only possible within the context of free market capitalism; a system she openly wishes to dismantle.  It is also a system that would be increasingly constrained within the UK by Eurocrats. She wants a world of increased “kindness”, but spends an entire article branding the Leave contingent the racist, xenophobic, “frightened, parochial lizard-brain” of Britain. The country she apparently wants back is a monolith of uniform political opinion which is ultimately subordinate to socialists and globalist technocrats. It’s a country of Us versus Them, and Them is anyone who opposes the Leftist globalist agenda. It’s sounds every bit like the thinking and demagoguery of a totalitarian.

Her insistence that Britain submit to an Orwellian, globalist One World Democracy super state seems counterintuitive if what she really wants is “her country back”. Maybe the neofascist you’re looking for is the one in the mirror, Laurie.

The Latest Idiotic Apologia for Marx

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Yet another annoying, idiotic glorification of the Western world’s most overrated parasite.  It’s more than a little ironic that the person who is canonized as this great prophet of capitalism and “The Worker” never actually did much work and relied on the benevolence and cash of his industrialist benefactor, Engels.

Anyway.

This is very straightforward.

Hedges is actually honest in his analysis of the state capitalist regime in which we live, but his fundamental dishonesty is that he absolves the role of the government in allowing for these conditions.

The final stages of what we call capitalism, as Marx grasped, is not capitalism at all. Corporations gobble down government expenditures, in essence taxpayer money, like pigs at a trough.

He takes the standard line that the world is nothing but evil, rapacious capitalist predators and we are completely at the effect of these predations. And the last bastion of human munificence, the nation state, is embattled and in danger of being rendered completely helpless. Like the entire Marxist canon and everything that borrows from this ideology (Keynesianism, etc),  it is designed to inculcate fear and reaffirm total deference to democracy.

He refers to capitalist pigs, but what about the government pigs who benefit handsomely from the campaign contributions, extortionate fines extracted by the regulatory state, usurious bailout schemes, and a seemingly endless appetite for increasing taxes?

What about the government pigs who hold the power to dispense favors like this in the first place?

He correctly references the absence of economic value in leveraged speculation, but conveniently ignores the artificially suppressed interest rate regime by the Federal Reserve which allows firms to take on that leverage in the first place.

He makes a startlingly casual reference to the Federal Reserve’s utterly unprecedented expansionary monetary policy, and doesn’t even give a single mention of the possibility that this might be contributing to disproportionate wealth redistribution, depressed wages, trade deficits, and outsourcing.

He laments the 2008 bailouts, but conveniently ignores the role the government and the Fed played in manufacturing the crisis in the first place.  He makes no mention of GSE’s, housing policy and of course, the so-called Greenspan Put, the implicit guarantee that the Fed would lower interest rates if stock values dropped by 20%.

In short, it is another sad, tired piece of shit which seems geared towards enshrining a permanent state of cynicism, antipathy and fear towards the so-called 1%.  Just like the toxic rants of Marx, it attributes completely malevolent intent to market actors and pure benevolence to the nation state.  And worst of all, he leads you to believe that those who hold seats of power in the government actually represent you and have your interests at heart.

Transformers: Age of Extinction

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Yes, I saw it and yes, I enjoyed it.

Yes, it was dumb, but I suspect my reasons for calling it dumb differ from yours. And just because it’s dumb doesn’t mean it isn’t entertaining on its own terms. More importantly, it doesn’t mean that the film is devoid of ideas worth discussing. Yeah, you read that correctly.  I said IDEAS.

Many seem content to simply dismiss it on the grounds of it being another Big, Dumb and Loud Hollywood Movie, but are either ignoring or missing out on the ramifications of what is being said and the more subversive moments presented. Don’t get me wrong. This film ultimately defaults to standard tropes of American collectivism, (i.e. nationalism, loyalty over individual agency, deference toward paternalistic leaders and the state, freedom as a non-natural right, fighting for a “greater good”, vengeance as a rationale for violence, etc), but despite its cop outs, there are some pretty potent portrayals of rogue government agents seeking power for its own sake, the perils of contemporary intellectual property law, and the poisonous nature of the relationship between state power and corporate power and the latter’s ultimate subservience to the former.

For those of you who don’t like apocalyptic sci-fi destructothons involving giant robots in the first place, I’m doubtful this film will make you a convert. However, for those of you who can dig that concept, this film represents another high water mark for sheer visual excess and a pretty cool story to boot. The last hour of the film is such a relentless orgy of demolition, combat, and CGI driven epicness, it is nothing short of awe inspiring.

I saw the first film and its blatant glorification of American militarism left me uninspired. I skipped the two sequels which followed, so I entered this one with very low expectations. Those who believe these films offer no narrative simply aren’t giving them enough credit.

Apparently, in the third installment the Autobots teamed up with the US military to kick ass on the Decepticons. Chicago was levelled, but we won!  This time around a CIA black ops guy (Kelsey Grammer) decides that all Autobots are enemies of the state. As it turns out, he’s working with a Cybertronic bounty hunter who is out to return Optimus Prime to his creators.  Meanwhile, the government has harvested the remains of the Decepticons and a corporate entity called KSI is using the technology to create a man-made army of Transformers, thus rendering actual Transformers obsolete. A Texan inventor and his daughter and boyfriend team up with Optimus and the Autobots to recover “The Seed” which produces Transformium, the metal from which Autobots are made and the substance sought by the government for military purposes. Much mayhem ensues and the fate of civilization hangs in the balance once again.

On the plus side:

1. Portrayal of unchecked government power.

Ultimately, the US government is the real villain in the film.

When we are introduced to Cade (Mark Wahlberg), he is a struggling mechanic/inventor trying to make ends meet with his teenage daughter, Tessa. The Feds have targeted him for giving refuge to an Autobot enemy of the state. The federal goons arrive in black SUV’s armed to the teeth and proceed immediately to put a gun to Tessa’s head. Cade asks for a warrant, but the head goon spits back “My face is my warrant”. Because this was a “Transformers” film, the impact of this scene was probably completely lost on many. Besides being a perfect visual metaphor for the nature of state power all by itself, this was also a pitch perfect portrayal of the obscene overreach currently carried out by the federal, state and local government on a daily basis.

When we are introduced to Attinger (Grammer), he basically tells the White House to fuck off.  He says that he is answerable to no one, he’s protecting God and country and don’t let the door hit you on the way out.  Furthermore, his alliance with the Cybertronic bounty hunter, Lockdown is a perfect metaphor for the various proxy wars being waged throughout world by the US government.

In one particularly funny scene, he is able to forestall a full scale military assault on an alien spacecraft, because alas, he has an “asset” on board.

Attinger displays the narcissistic, entitled, venal and power hungry mentality that is intrinsic to agents of the state. At one point he says, “Innocent people will die.  This has been happening for thousands of years”.

Remarkable honesty for a giant robot film if you ask me.

2. The problem of intellectual property

There are numerous references to intellectual property in the film and this is arguably one of its central themes.

In a heated moment, Cade tells his partner that “he owns him”.

Upon acquiring an alien weapon, Cade declares that he’s “totally going to patent this thing”.

Stanley Tucci’s corporate mogul, Joshua Joyce, tells Optimus that “What we do here is science. Because if we don’t do it, somebody else will. Because you cannot stop technology.”

To which Optimus replies, “We are NOT your technology!”

This scene reveals one of the film’s subtly clever conceits. By humanizing robots, the film humanizes technology itself and asks us to reconsider the motivations and the very right of an individual to create whatever they please, let alone call it “their technology”.

Undoubtedly, the filmmakers were simply plying the simplistic dichotomy of technology wielded by “good people versus bad people” and the dehumanizing quandaries presented by contemporary IP law. Whether or not the filmmakers intended it, what it actually reveals is the poisonous attitudes of statism itself which intellectual property confers to individuals and to society in general.

The very idea of a monopoly power so great that it would allow you to own others or to call upon the power of state to exert control over others is only possible because the state makes it possible. Unfortunately, the film tries to have it both ways. It trades in on the popular cliché of corporate power and intellectual property as its own form of totalitarianism instead of making a sharper distinction between the pursuit of economic freedom and the power of the state. Through Cade’s character they make an attempt at the former though the collectivist themes ultimately prevail.

The mass proliferation of so many films based off games, toys, and comic books which reinforce similar themes of nationalism, militarism and other forms of state sanctioned violence is by itself a byproduct of the confluence of corporate military state power.

Speaking of corporate military state power…

3. The unholy alliance of corporate power and state power and the former’s subservience to the latter

This is, for me at least, one of the film’s biggest wins.

When the shit really hits the fan, Attinger completely overrides Joyce’s authority by pulling the state card.

In yet another scene, Attinger goes one further and makes his intention even more explicit by pulling a gun on Joyce and telling him point blank that he regards him as a meal ticket and a golden parachute.

I couldn’t really ask for a more honest portrayal of state power.

Admittedly, the film trades in on numerous dumb clichés.

Worst of all, it flogs the insipid and poisonous notion of freedom that is bestowed by leaders as opposed to a natural right.

In order to win the allegiance of the Dinobots, Optimus reminds them that “We’re giving you freedom!”

Oh, that’s great.  You can be free by swearing allegiance to some clown who is commanding you to enter into a military conflict.

It is at least offset somewhat by a flash of honesty uttered by one of the subordinate Autobots as they mobilize for war.

“Ugh, you just want to die for the guy. That’s leadership. Or brainwashing, or something. ”

The characters are paper thin and are doing the best with what they’re given.

A lot of ink has been spilled over the sexualized portrayal of the Tessa character.  I’ll leave those discussions to the Puritans. What I found infinitely more troubling was the suffocating and domineering paternalism of Cade.  If you can’t trust your 17 year old daughter to make good choices and handle herself then you’ve blown it as a parent, pal.

Again, for spectacle value alone, this film is hard to beat.  They spent $210 million and it looks like they spent twice that amount.  If you can’t enjoy slick, Hollywood excess like this, then by all means, watch something else.

Sure, it’s ultimately little more than glorified militarism and nationalism. But scratch the surface a little, and there are rewards to be found.

Transformers. More than meets the eye, indeed.

Fuck You, Yanis Varoufakis

 A while back, a friend asked me why the invocation of Marx made me want to fight.

In order to capture everything I had to say, I considered writing an essay but honestly, Yanis Varoufakis sums it up really nicely in this editorial.

Simply put, Marx articulated the single most powerful delusion of the modern age.  As Varoufakis says it himself, his writing suggested “the possibility of salvation and authentic spirituality.”

I suggest that this statement contains the root of Marx’ seemingly undying appeal. Marx simultaneously appeals to intellectual vanity, the atavistic urge towards collectivism and secular spirituality, and despite all evidence to the contrary, the unfailing belief in the state to Serve the Greater Good.

It’s all here.

The elusive promise of an “alternative” to capitalism.  A complete absolution of the state of any excess or abuse while attributing all evil to capitalism. The false antagonism between capital and labor. The pretense of Marxism as a contrarian and relevant vein of thought. The masturbatory obsession with dialectic and the accompanying delusion that it reveals some profound insight that no one has considered.

Furthermore, Varoufakis is peddling some outright falsehoods here.

He is misrepresenting Marx’ Labor Theory of Value and attempting to attribute the theory of Relative Value, the theory which demolished Marx, to Marx!

But his most egregious lie is that he considers Marx “the scholar who elevated radical indeterminacy to its rightful place within political economics”!  What utter bullshit! Marx was the asshole who said that economic life needed to subordinated to a “settled plan”!

And despite his token concessions that Marx must be resisted, he expresses a hope that a more “radical agenda” will be implemented eventually.
   
Pathetic.  

Battlefield Earth

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Yes, yes. It’s a stupid piece of shit.

But I’m going to write about it anyway because I want to emphasize exactly why I think it’s a stupid piece of shit.  

I’m going to forego any Scientology based analysis because L. Ron Hubbard was writing for a mass audience and the editorial is just as moronic and muddled when you map it to the modern world. Furthermore, many of the mistakes and mixed messages in this film can be found in other blockbusters.  

Though it amounts to a standard liberty versus tyranny yarn, it still manages to pollute and pervert this basic idea in some impossibly dumb ways.  

First off, the premise is pretty stupid. The Psychlos are an alien race who possess interstellar teleportation technology and have invaded and enslaved humanity for the express purpose of mining gold. Hubbard deserves a smidgen of credit for presenting space exploration as an economic venture, but it strains the imagination that occupying Earth was really worth the effort. The fact that the Psychlos somehow determined that there was enough gold in the earth’s crust to warrant an interstellar military operation and occupation beggars belief. There’s no way that an operation that extensive was profitable. As a footnote, one can only assume the Psychlo government uses a currency pegged to gold and haven’t resorted to fiat currency. So chalk one up for the Psychlos for having a stable monetary policy. Why else would there be such demand for gold?

John Travolta plays Terl, the Machiavellian tyrant who leads the mining camp gulag. The Psychlo operation is portrayed as a corporate for-profit endeavor, but he is ultimately receiving and obeying orders from Psychlo politicians.  One could just as easily view the Psychlo occupation as a metaphor for the government. Viewed through this lens, this interpretation is where the film succeeds in scoring a couple points.  They’re racist, manipulative, entitled, and self-serving. They benefit from a subservient population and are more than willing to enforce obedience through violence.  

The Psychlo occupation embodies the toxic marriage of a military-police state, crony capitalism, and full-on authoritarianism. In short, it’s a dramatized and stylized portrait of the US government. 

In one particularly revealing scene, Terl and his fellow goons are discussing raising wages for the human labor force. They reach the conclusion that raising wages would cut into the bottom line and that a mandatory wage floor had to be established. In other words, mandatory minimum wage for human workers. I’m sure that it’s intended to be some kind of commentary on “greed”, but viewed through the lens of Psychlos as a proxy for the State, it produces a different outcome. It’s a strange scene because the labor seems completely coerced and involuntary, but it speaks to the mentality of today’s bureaucrats.  Politicians are far more invested in peddling the belief that a “living wage” is possible if the right law is passed. The net result is still the same: enslavement.

Beyond that, the movie descends far and falls fast.  

Barry Pepper plays the hero, Jonnie Goodboy Tyler. A name whose stupidity is surpassed only by the idiotic nonsense that comes out of his mouth for the entire film. Though Barry Pepper gives it his all, the writing is just so bad and the emotions so overblown, there’s simply no redemption to be found in this performance.  

The fatal flaw of this character is that he ends up reinforcing the dumbest clichés of atavistic deference towards a Great Leader.  When conflict breaks out in the prison over the food supply, Jonnie beats his opponent into submission and mandates that the rest of the proles “eat together” in order to maintain civility. Unity, dammit! And thus, the seeds of resistance are sown with Jonnie anointed as the de facto leader.

Jonnie is ultimately captured by Terl and is trained to seek gold beyond the confines of the Psychlo gulag.

Since humanity has been rendered illiterate and stripped of any memory of its past, it is Jonnie’s acquisition of knowledge which is turns the tide. Knowledge which is acquired not through work and study, but by a Psychlo knowledge ray gun. Awesome. 

Terl allows Jonnie to view the last remains of human civilization, and SURPRISE! He’s taken to Washington DC to peruse what one assumes is the Library of Congress. Naturally, he is profoundly reconnected to the spirit of freedom by reading the Declaration of Independence. Don’t get me wrong. There’s some good stuff there.  But making a visual and thematic connection to human freedom as an expression of government is a predictable groaner. 

Another big howler of a scene takes place in a prison while he attempts to explain the basics of Euclidean geometry to his comrades.  Enraptured but befuddled by his explanation of an isosceles triangle, he pronounces in utmost earnestness, “This will save us”.  Yes, Jonnie. Math is essential for modern society, but it’s not going to solve the immediate problem of Psychlo occupation. 

Despite Terl’s claim that the Psychlos had completely destroyed mankind’s technology in one fell swoop, there is plenty of untouched and completely functional military hardware at Fort Hood.

Thanks to Jonnie’s Psychlo knowledge download, he is able to teach his comrades to use government arms and pilot military vehicles. So from basic geometry to military expertise in a matter of days! Because after all, nothing creates freedom quite like multi-trillions of dollars of military hardware.  

Even more implausibly, the Psychlos were unaware of vast stores of gold in Fort Knox despite 1000 of occupation! How they managed to miss out on this detail when they possessed such superior knowledge and technology is a bit of a mystery, but whatever.  

The film’s message on guns and the application of violent force is just as incoherent as everything else.  

In one particularly inexplicable scene, Jonnie gains control of Terl’s weapon, but hands it back to him as some gesture of trust or something.  When push comes to shove, the shooting commences and they vanquish the Psychlos. The humans manage to use the Psychlo teleportation technology to nuke the Psychlo home world. Unfortunately, it only serves to reinforce the myth of freedom as the product of violent struggle and leadership as the application of violent force.  

So yeah. It’s an incoherent, risible piece of shit. But some of these ideas are more prevalent than you might think. Hollywood films generally provide a window of insight into what passes for mainstream morality. It’s little wonder that an SF story written by a charismatic figure which transmits the values of his insular, secretive cult got translated into a major motion picture.  

The punchline is that they don’t differ too radically from that other cult that gets accorded a lot of legitimacy despite being built off similarly absurd values: the US government.