Last time out we had a bit of fun poking holes in the Matrix as a misunderstood gender bender blender SkyNet derivative called Who and What Are THEY? This time we examine this same question through another Hollywood film vehicle called They Live!
by O Society July 22, 2019
They Live is a 1988 film by John Carpenter starring “Rowdy” Roddy Piper, a member of the WWF Wrasslin’ Hall of Fame.
At first glance, being a WWF HOFer may not sound like much of a qualification. Yet we remember the times in which We (and They) live. One can grow up to be POTUS one day with no more qualifications for office than this. Please see exhibit D:
Therefore, as we saw last time, the name “Jeff Bezos” belongs in our group of people who are THEY. Now we add Donald “Duck” Trump to the ring of THEY as well.
On to more important matters, what is They Live about?
Here’s a 5-minute summary of its philosophical, economical, and horrible theme:
As with the Matrix, there’s a population of viewers who consider They Live to be a documentary rather than a Hollywood movie. Ahem. Thus, our same fineprint disclaimer applies:
It must be said here at the outset, They Live is a movie, so let’s not get too carried away using this (or any) Hollywood metaphor as a substitute for reality. It isn’t Plato or Buddha talking in these movies; it’s John Carpenter of Michael Myers Halloween fame.
Jamie Lee comes by her terrific terror talents naturally; as you may remember, her mother is the original shower scene scream queen in Alfred Hitchcock’s Psycho:
But aren’t we talking about They Live, you ask? What’s Halloween and Psycho got to do with it?
Yes, fearless true believers, we are setting the scene. Giving context. This is one of the fundamental errors of our time: everything moves too fast for anyone to have proper context about what is being said and done right now. Deer in the headlights look requires slowing back down… to black… and white… speed.
To wit, remember the butterfly twins? The Wachowskis’ dream is the context for the Matrix. Not realizing this leads to errors of judgement. For example, many folks take the red pill / blue pill scene in the Matrix to be a finger pointing to a political choice we apparently all must make:
Red jellybean gets you Ronald Reagan Republican
Blue bill gets you HillBillary Clinton Democrat
By now, even the starving Sally Struthers Christian Children’s Fund kids with flies in their eyes and swollen bellies in Africa received letters from Morpheus with this meme. Ubiquitous? Try universal. The meaning is the message. The message is clear:
Choose carefully. It’s a binary choice:
Truth/ Matrix. Yes/ No. Reality/ Simulacra.
“What if I told you ________?” it’s a phrase now used so often, even the clichés call it a trite platitude of epicly hackneyed proportions. Totally and gianormously monumental! Totally tubular even!! Awesomesauce!!! Ready?
Ready to pick a button, a color, to join a party with Ronnie Reagan and the Red Reactionaries or HillBillary Clinton and the Blue Limousine Liberals?
Go! Go! Go! Do it! Do! It! Doit! (That’s called “peer pressure.)
Well hell’s bells Morphy, they’ll still tell y’all to push one button or the other anyway, won’t they?
Have a jellybean…
You told me I have to choose the red girl or the blue girl. What if I told you I want plaid or purple, which is blue and red at the same time? What if I told you I’m non-binary? What if I told you I can’t count to two, but I can count to three?
That’s correct, Senator. I did not have sex with that woman! I had the purple pills. WTF? Try it on Facebook. I did. People have no idea what the phuck you mean when you tell ’em, “Why no thank you, sir. I won’t choose the lesser of two evils because I believe there’s a better way, the highway…”
Did you notice your choices being managed for you? Did you notice instead of real dialogue – you know, back and forth in words of your own choosing – they make you use their medium with their rules, their choice of pictures, their colors, their memes, their Facebook, their ___________ ?
If you don’t conform to their format – color in between their lines – they make you feel like a dick, don’t they? Philip K Dick. BADick.
I choose to be a dick. A dick with a shiny pill purple helmet. Which happens now
Curious George has a point here. Do we know what it is yet?
I already told you last time. Yes, we’ve been speaking in memes. Do you know what a meme is? It’s a term coined by evolutionary biologist Richard Dawkins in his book the Blind Watchmaker.
All the kids are doing it now. Like this one!
So here’s a Matrix for us. This false dichotomy of choices presented. A duopoly which effectively functions as a monopoly. That’s some meta-structure there for us, isn’t it?
blue elephants red donkeys Demublicans Repocrats
See it now, do you? The point is the Matrix isn’t a political movie, and it is a political movie. See, it isn’t about red pills being Republicans and blue pills being Democrats and any of that one pill makes you larger and one pill makes you small. It’s the ones Mother gives you, that don’t do anything at all!
So Amazing Grace, how sweet the sound. The Matrix isn’t about straight D & R politics, it is about identity politics, remember? Are you male or female? Hetero- or homo-? Bi- or tri-? Well, there are other options. You could be both! A trisexual will try anything once. Don’t believe it? Go ask Morpheus. I think he’ll know…
What does Morpheus mean? I mean his name itself. Morph = ?
Depends on the game we’re playing, doesn’t it?
When we play the biology game, which is like playing Doctor, only wilder!
Morph = Form as in the shape of a cat, a bird, or a horse, of course, when his name is Mr. Chuang Tzu:
“To use an attribute to show that attributes are not attributes is not as good as using a non-attribute to show that attributes are not attributes. To use a horse to show that a horse is not a horse is not as good as using a non-horse to show that a horse is not a horse, Heaven and earth are one attribute; the ten thousand things are one horse.”
What the Tartarus does ^ that ^ mean?
Well, it is very difficult to define exactly what a horse is in such a way as our definition distinctly separates it cleanly and decisively from all other things, isn’t it?
No, you say? You think it’s easy? Go ahead. We’ll wait…
We could say a leopard can’t change its spots, but can’t it?
We could say a horse has hooves, but so do cows, don’t they? That’s not a unique feature of horses which separates it from all other living things now is it? We’re looking for things pathognomonic. That which we call a rose would still smell as sweet if called by any other name, yet still we are looking for the distinct smell which tells us the difference between horseshit and bullshit. What is it?
You can keep going with this kind of thing as long as you wish, but lemme tell you from years of experience, what you’ll wind up with is a bunch of cocktail napkins what look like this:
Which is a bit confusing, isn’t it? So perhaps the best we can do is say something along the lines of, “Well, I don’t know how to exactly precisely define what a horse is in such a way everybody will agree makes it different than all the other things. But I do know something! A horse ain’t a cow. I know a not-horse because a cow is one.”
And this may be as far as we can get on our cocktail napkins. Who can say?
“What’s love got to do with it?” you may ask. Or you might ask how any of this explains They Live and/or the Matrix and/or who/what THEY are…
Well, see animals come in different shapes. Different forms. Just lookit animal crackers. Or lookit Morpheus. His name tells us something. What the hell’s a morph in Computerland? On the last train to Matrixville? Can you tell me how to get to GeekSpeak?
Glad you asked. Let’s play the computer game now.
A morph is “a special effect in motion pictures and animations that changes (or morphs) one image or shape into another through a seamless transition. Traditionally, such a depiction would be achieved through cross-fading techniques on film. Since the early 1990s, this has been replaced by computer software to create more realistic transitions.”
Picture’s worth a thousand words, so here 9,000 words to illustrate a morphing from ape to Ham:
And this is where we’ll leave Ronald Reagan with our Ham sandwich as a bookmark for now. Bedtime for Rongo.
Yes, it is confusing as a spaghetti pinata in a bedspring symphony, but we’ll tie up all the loose ends. Promise. There will be more out-of-the-boxcars on this train of thought connecting the Matrix, They Live, and explaining just who and what THEY are.
Until then, I’m all out of bubblegum, so go kick ass….