There’s a certain movie that has been making the rounds on the cable channels here.. it’s John Carpenter’s low-budget flick “They Live”.
Yes, the one starring “Rowdy” Roddy Piper and Keith David, where Piper gives his memorable quote “I have come here to chew bubblegum and kick ass... and I’m all out of bubblegum.”
But it’s not the clichéd zingers or the weird alien theme that makes this movie so memorable and hits so close to home.
It’s what happens while all of this is going on.
The basic theme here is that we have all been lulled into this state of semi-sleep, being fed mindless minutia telling us to consume and obey. Television is full of mindless junk with subliminal messages reinforcing simple messages such as “consume”, “obey”, “marry and reproduce”, and of course “sleep”.
And while all of this is going on the great economic gap gets wider and wider. The rich are getting richer and the poor are getting poorer, only there are getting to be more and more poor people than rich ones. And if they start to figure out what is going on, the police show up ready to kill without question, and sometimes without an apparent reason.
Of course it’s all part of a larger plan… and that plan is the rest of the story for the movie, so I won’t let you know what that is if you haven’t seen it yet.
Yes we tell ourselves that this is just a movie. It’s just a story being told by actors and special effects.
And yet at the same time, we are seeing the rich getting richer and the poor getting poorer… just like in the movie.
We see the return of tent cities thanks to all of the people displaced by foreclosures… just like in the movie.
We are seeing unemployment going up and up… just like in the movie.
We are watching people who believe in playing fair and putting in a hard day’s work get screwed over time and time again… just like in the movie.
We are having our heads filled with mindless minutia on TV and radio and in the magazines, with very subtle messages telling us to “consume”, “obey”, “watch”, “marry and reproduce”, and “sleep”… just like in the movie.
And we are seeing a more militant police force abusing its power more blatantly and without fear of reprisals… just like in the movie.
Coincidence? In all likelihood, sure. No doubt the only true ulterior motive for the events happening in the here and now are greed and an unrestrained lust for power.
Grand overall conspiracy? You sometimes have to wonder.