Don't Look Up

Don't Look Up ★★★½

Not sure I understand what people don’t like about this movie. It’s not subtle, but…I mean…it’s a farcical satire…it’s not supposed to be. Everything is supposed to be exaggerated and obvious in a movie like this. I mean, you don’t watch Idiocracy to discover nuanced insights into human nature. I’ve heard some criticizing McKay for thinking he’s the smartest person in the room, which…I mean…fair enough, that’s a legitimate critique and, honestly, it does usually bother me a bit when I see this kind of arrogance in a film, but, at the same time, isn’t everybody like this now-a-days? Everyone thinks everyone who doesn’t agree with oneself must be a complete moron. I don’t see how this film was particularly egregious in this sense. I find this especially interesting as, I take it that the vast majority of McKay’s critics tend to side with his views. I’m actually much further to McKay’s right than most and I found it a fairly effective satire. 

Two more things: 1. The satire is particularly farcical, yet almost completely realistic and believable…which just underscores how crazy our culture is. 2. The dinner at the end of the movie was the most level headed, humane, optimistic answer that I could’ve imagined and is, I think, the only rational answer to any kind of apocalyptic doom that we find ourselves facing and incapable of controlling. And we will, eventually, find one that is absolutely and entirely out of humanity’s control by the way, even as we find that although most we’ve encountered thus far might be manageable by the human race as a whole, they all are out of the control of any single one of us. 

It all reminds me of what CS Lewis wrote when asked his thoughts on how we should respond to the ever present possibility of nuclear holocaust: 

“In one way we think a great deal too much of the atomic bomb. ‘How are we to live in an atomic age?’ I am tempted to reply: ‘Why, as you would have lived in the sixteenth century when the plague visited London almost every year, or as you would have lived in a Viking age when raiders from Scandinavia might land and cut your throat any night; or indeed, as you are already living in an age of cancer, an age of syphilis, an age of paralysis, an age of air raids, an age of railway accidents, an age of motor accidents.’

In other words, do not let us begin by exaggerating the novelty of our situation. Believe me, dear sir or madam, you and all whom you love were already sentenced to death before the atomic bomb was invented: and quite a high percentage of us were going to die in unpleasant ways. We had, indeed, one very great advantage over our ancestors—anesthetics; but we have that still. It is perfectly ridiculous to go about whimpering and drawing long faces because the scientists have added one more chance of painful and premature death to a world which already bristled with such chances and in which death itself was not a chance at all, but a certainty.

This is the first point to be made: and the first action to be taken is to pull ourselves together. If we are all going to be destroyed by an atomic bomb, let that bomb when it comes find us doing sensible and human things—praying, working, teaching, reading, listening to music, bathing the children, playing tennis, chatting to our friends over a pint and a game of darts—not huddled together like frightened sheep and thinking about bombs. They may break our bodies (a microbe can do that) but they need not dominate our minds.”

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