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It’s so hard to find a new satire these days. Jon Stewart — years ago, decades ago — peeled back a new hypocrisy and error to be exploited and laughed at, and also spawned an army of discerning young bitter liberal arts majors, rolling their eyes, rolling their eyes at others rolling their eyes, laps upon laps round the edges of grad-school-bound eyelids. There are only so many jokes you can make about the mass stupidity of humanity, too, so, uh, I’m gonna talk about something much different but also less redundant. Because someone already wrote that fucking Gawker article thrice this week.
Idiocracy, for all intents and purposes, was a funny movie, but shitty satire, and probably borne directly out of the then still-new and original skewers of Stewart. People are lazy. People are stupid. People just want to fuck. These parts are universal, and will always be fun of to make fun, but Judge’s big misfire is predicting that gullibility would once more return. Today, the spirit of gullibility is expending its last breaths in mainstream America. The only reason for it to return would be related to the public’s desire for a change of scenery in the zeitgeist. But gullibility is so not fucking appealing, and unlike other attitudes, so difficult to spin into something more admirable than it actually is, that, no, gullibility is dying, and good fucking riddance, now watch me roll my eyes.
Twain did right in picking the past to expose gullibility. This is the one thing he harps on more than in any other part of this husky novel. Lies are the things that keep the narrator surviving and thriving. One must con on the micro to impose any change on the macro. Isn’t that the rationale we always try to fight against? Well, arguing against such an attitude makes more sense now than it did back then, when men were revered for their lineage and not their intelligence.
The focus on the brutishness and stupidity of people in this book makes death humorous, and makes feeling bad for people a little more difficult, and makes understanding what Hobbes was talking about more believable. When people are not given chances to learn and be something other than nothing, they adapt and become the wretched they are expected to become, and it then becomes easier to hang them and torture them. And that is probably the shitty ouroboros of the dark ages.
Not to say the narrator doesn’t make some foolish moves himself. He is cunning, but also vainglorious, which sometimes puts him into more shit than is necessary. But really altogether a very enjoyable character, who takes knights, the dark ages version of bullies and brutes, and turns them into walking billboards. Such little details of humor throughout are made even funnier when remembering this shit was written over 100 years ago.
It’s fucking Mark Twain, what do you expect, of course it’s good.