I can’t help but comment on the collective portrait offered Americans over the last year by their film industry. To put it mildly it amounts to a depiction of a society composed almost entirely of narcissistic, greedy, sadistically brutal, infantile, techno-obsessed morons.
I can’t recall another year that has featured such grimly revealing fare, but perhaps my memory is just shot from having so much drivel thrown in my face on a daily basis by the mass media.
Just a few of the highlights:
American Hustle, Wolf of Wall Street, and Blue Jasmine: Americans as amoral liars and self-infatuated charlatans ready to sell each other out the minute they find a better opportunity at enriching themselves or beating the rap.
Dallas Buyers Club: The entire American medical system, including regulatory agencies, are devoted to one thing and one thing alone… corporate profit. If it means killing their patients by using them as medical guinea pigs, who cares? All that counts is the bottom line.
The Bling Ring: Self-obsessed teens thieving consumer goods from the homes of rich celebrities.
Her: The American future.. totally isolated techno-buffoons whose only means of self-gratification (sexual and emotional) is obtained through interacting with their computer operating system.
12 Years a Slave: The Ante-Bellum South, home to brutally sadistic money-grubbing thugs. The single person in the South (as portrayed in the film) with an iota of sympathy for the slave population turns out to be a Canadian.
Nebraska: “There’s a sucker born every minute.”
And so on.
Of course these films, many of them garnering Academy Award nominations, aren’t the films that drive the average American in droves to the theaters. Below are the highest grossing films for 2013, childish fantasies and spectacular smashfests. :
1. Iron Man 3
2. Despicable Me 2
3. The Hunger Games: Catching Fire
4. The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug
5. Fast & Furious 6
7. Monsters University
9. Man of Steel
10. Thor: The Dark World
When viewing the output of our popular culture these days, I’m reminded of what the physicist Robert Oppenheimer said seeing the mushroom cloud rise above the Jornada del Muerto desert near the Trinity test site “Now I am become Death, the destroyer of worlds.”