To Germany’s Taste-Makers: Idiocracy!

Kleine_bruderLike most countries, Germany has an inferiority complex towards the crass, bumbling, super-rich hyperpower America. Take, for example the 1997 book Der Kleine Bruder. Deutschland und das Modell USA (‘The Little Brother: Germany and the Model of America’), in which two young journalists warn Germans that, when it comes to prevailing in global competition, America has "already done its homework" and Germany lags far behind, so that Germany will usually be "sitting in the classroom, not teaching at the podium." But I think you got all that from the front cover photo already, no?

To compensate for this nagging feeling of inferiority, Germans travel through the U.S. obsessively documenting the "dark side" of American culture, read books by obscure left-wing authors predicting America’s imminent collapse, and consume American pop culture products that portray Americans as obese, gun-toting, TV-obsessed morons (‘Bowling for Columbine’ and Michael Moore’s entire written output, ‘The Simpsons,’ ‘Beavis and Butt-head’, etc.).

German taste brokers, working in large entertainment conglomerates, scan American culture for movies or books that make Americans look like idiots. For these people, I have one word of advice: Idiocracy. It’s the new movie by Mike Judge, the creator of Beavis and Butt-head and the ingenious film satire ‘Office Space‘ (which inexplicably has not yet been released in Germany). The plot of Idiocracy is pretty simple:

[S]oldier Joe Bowers (Luke Wilson) wakes up 500 years in the future, the result of a botched hibernation experiment, [and] finds the country hopelessly dense and incapable of solving the most basic problems. Buildings are teetering and collapsing. Garbage towers high in the streets. Farm fields are barren because a sponsor pumps salty energy drink into every place water used to be — including the irrigation systems.

Most everyone in 2505 is a mouth-breathing lout, barely capable of forming a sentence. They’ve elected as president the guy who seems cool to them, a loudmouthed porn-star wrestler…. They pass their days consuming, defecating, fornicating and gawking at anything that goes boom. Then consuming some more. And because they don’t know any better, they’ve let themselves be co-opted by corporate marketers, taking brands ("Frito") for names and wearing disposable clothes covered with ads.

They say the movie is funny, but its American distributor, 20th-Century Fox, thought it would bomb, and hasn’t given it a broad release in the U.S. You know, O taste broker, that this movie is just right for the German market. All I ask, O taste-maker, is a small cut of the profits, or perhaps a job as "cultural consultant" during the creation of the dubbed German version…

3 thoughts on “To Germany’s Taste-Makers: Idiocracy!

  1. I’m afraid I don’t miss those days even a little, Sebastian. We also had an inferiority complex toward Germany in the late 70’s. That was when Germany had (relatively) low inflation and a lot of big industrial plants were closing in the US. But not in Japan or Germany.

    Idiocracy sounds like an elaborate satire to me. He’s projecting Michael Moore’s ‘vision’ of the US 500 years into the future.


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