Seeing Cinema in a New Light: Criticism, Essays and Observations about Classic Cinema

2000s Movies, Comedy, Dystopia, Editorials, Film Criticism and Analysis, Overrated, Science Fiction

No, Idiocracy (2006) is Not a Documentary–It’s a Socially Irresponsible Movie

Dax Shepherd in Idiocracy (2006)

Dax Shepherd in Idiocracy (2006)

Idiocracy About the Dumbing Down of America? Mmm, NO!

When Idiocracy was made, the United States was about two decades into a moral panic about Americans getting dumbed down by mass entertainment that pandered to the so-called “lowest common denominator.” Although many people complained and complained about this issue, it was Carl Sagan who gave the definitive take on it in his book, The Demon-Haunted World: Science as a Candle in the Dark:

“The dumbing down of American is most evident in the slow decay of substantive content in the enormously influential media, the 30 second sound bites (now down to 10 seconds or less), lowest common denominator programming, credulous presentations on pseudoscience and superstition, but especially a kind of celebration of ignorance.”

Carl Sagan, The Demon-Haunted World: Science as a Candle in the Dark
Carl Sagan, Dumbing Down of America
Carl Sagan, Dumbing Down of America

What kickstarted this moral panic about, exactly? Hadn’t Americans landed a man on the moon? Made leaps in medical science? Invented things like telecommunications, personal computers and smartphones? Yes. However, in spite of all this, there was good reason to worry that the same nation behind so many medical and scientific marvels was getting dumbed down. Starting in the 1960s, Americans became deeply fascinated with occultism, pseudo-science and fringe theory, thanks to infamous books like Chariots of the Gods and a few countercultural trends (cough, cough, drug culture, cough cough). This fascination reached critical mass by the early 1980s as ESP, seances, psychic mediums and UFOs entered the mainstream, the most egregious examples being the TV series In Search Of, which claimed to investigate bullshit “mysteries” such as Bigfoot, The Bermuda Triangle and the Loch Ness Monster.

By the mid-1980s, this “dumbing down of America” only seemed to get worse with the explosion of trashy talk shows like The Morton Downey, Jr. Show, The Richard Bey Show and Jerry Springer. Then came the 1990s with the TV reality show, Jackass; Adam Sandler movies; Rob Schneider films; dumb comedies like Dumb and Dumber; and Oscar bait like Forrest Gump (1994) and Nell (1994), which both came out in a year when Hollywood pushed out many movies extolling ignorance as a virtue.

Forrest Gump, Snowflake


In the midst of all this insanity came the movie, Idiocracy (2006). Although it wasn’t a hit at the time, it eventually became a cult film and was embraced as a brilliant satire that perfectly captured what social critics like Carl Sagan was talking about. What we see in the movie is an America that–thanks to shows like America’s Funniest Videos, the WWE and crap advertising–has become a land completely overrun by morons.

However, what viewers saw was misleading. Although Idiocracy seems to be referencing Carl Sagan’s famous complaint, it’s actually using him in service of a sinister agenda–eugenics theory. Ironically, eugenics itself may have been pushed for an entirely different reason having nothing to do with the theory itself. This may not make sense at first, but I’m going to explain, as best as possible, how this is the case.


  1. Carl

    How big is the mirror that you jerk off in front of?

    • Comment by post author

      I normally don’t allow comments like these, but I allowed this for a reason. All of the most abusive comments on this blog have come from foreign nationals like Carl, who hails from Australia. Other abusive commenters like him have come from all over the world, the two most recent ones from Jamaica and Asia, in which the last one issued a death threat to me and my family.

      Understand, Carl, that rather than angering me, you’ve helped me make an important decision in terms of this blog. So, thanks for your comment. I would also strongly suggest you post using a VPN if you want to go around trolling people. I would never doxx you but some other blogger would in a heartbeat. You’re not as anonymous as you think you are.

Leave a Reply

%d bloggers like this: