America takes pause on a big holiday weekend requiring little in the way of real devotions beyond the barbeque deck with two profoundly stupid movie entertainments that epitomize our estrangement from the troubles of the present day.
First there’s Mad Max: Fury Road, which depicts the collapse of civilization as a monster car rally. They managed to get it exactly wrong. The present is the monster car show. Houston. Los Angeles. New Jersey, Beijing, Mumbai, etc. In the future, there will be no cars, gasoline-powered, electric, driverless, or otherwise. Mad Max: Fury Road is actually a perverse exercise in nostalgia, as if we’re going to miss being a nation of savages in the driver’s seat, acting out an endless and pointless competition for our little place on the highway.
The other holiday blockbuster is Disney’s Tomorrowland, another exercise in nostalgia for the present, where the idealized human life is a matrix of phone apps, robots, and holograms. Of course, anybody who had been to Disneyland back in the day remembers the old Tomorrowland installation, which eventually had to be dismantled because its vision of the future had become such a joke – starting with the idea that the human project’s most pressing task was space travel. Now, at this late date, the monster Disney corporation – a truly evil empire – sees that more money can be winkled out of the sore-beset public by persuading them that techno-utopia is at hand, if only we click our heels hard enough.