By John Kass
Americans love to be afraid, don’t we? And we gladly pay for our fears to be stoked.
And just for fun there’s always a new roller coaster being offered at those theme parks, promising to scare the pants off us. It might even cancel grandpa if he has high blood pressure.
The legacy news media understands this too. And so, they shovel “fear porn” at us 24/7, the better to stampede the herd into the waiting chutes at the stockyards.
Scary movies also scratch our itch for fear, and so, Betty and I left our safe space to bravely venture forth like Americans, maskless and unafraid, to watch “A Quiet Place II” at the theater.
The “Quiet Place” films are about terrifying aliens from outer space who kill all humans who dare open their mouths to speak. The aliens hear everything, but are blind and clearly oblivious to nuance. They’ll kill anything that squeaks.
The dead includes those Americans who once believed in Freedom of Speech and that they could say anything, any time, even out loud, if they so wished. But in the “Quiet Place” world, even a whisper can get you killed.
All good sci-fi is about crafting a future where we can safely examine dangerous truths about the present.
For example, the classic “The Day the Earth Stood Still”—made during the Cold War and nuclear build-up—offered us Michel Rennie as the alien authoritarian progressive with a clipped British accent.
In the cold voice of scientific reason, Rennie threatened to kill all humans with his laser-eyed robots if the arms race continued. He also had with him his gift to the world:
A cool silver pen containing scientific miracles that would have solved our ignorant world’s problems. Sadly, a frightened, ignorant soldier (or was it a cop?) shot him and the cool silver pen by mistake, enraging the killer robot.
But in his farewell speech to humankind—delivered, naturally, in Washington—Rennie, the authoritarian progressive said firmly, yet in a suave and sophisticated manner that elites are wont to employ, the following:
“Your choice is simple. Join us and live in peace. Or pursue your present course and face obliteration. We shall be waiting for your answer. The decision rests with you.”
Klaatu Barada Nikto.
Which means, I think, submit and be happy, you fleshy little insects.
What makes some sci-fi popular and enduring tells us a great deal about where our culture is going.
And the garbage lost to the dusty bins of failed video cassettes, like the forgettable “Battlefield Earth” with the sad, fat John Travolta in dreadlocks?
That proves we can still make a bunch of crap, too.
The popular “Quiet Place” franchise is, of course, a metaphor, allowing for a safe space (your couch, or theater seat) to examine the relentless mindlessness of cancel culture.
Those who dare open their mouths to express themselves are hunted down and destroyed.
The sequel sets the story in a small town, vaguely a part of red state America. Nuclear families live in and around the town. Moms, dads, kids, remember them?
Some are farmers. They’re centered on their homes, localities and their children. They watch the kids, not international big-league stars, play the game.
Then the avatars of cancel culture arrive to devour them all. And the story it tells is not abstract, but of a family trying to survive on its own with no help.
The “Quiet Place” movies are somewhat devious though. They subtly run afoul of Hollywood woke culture, and yet remain successful, so they deserve a tip my hat, if I wore hats.
But there is also another movie about killer aliens out now. And it too, illuminates our culture.
“The Tomorrow War.”
You’ll find it on the Amazon Prime streaming service owned by Jeff Bezos, the wealthiest man in the world.
Before he planned to fly to outer space, Bezos bought a vanity project here on earth:
The Washington Post, the voice of the Washington political establishment, the handmaiden of the bi-partisan combine, with its insufferable slogan, “Democracy Dies in Darkness.”
The Post doesn’t dare examine Hunter Biden’s foreign business deals that benefited from Hunter’s relationship with “Big Daddy,” nor does it bother examining the root of Big Tech/Legacy Media suppression of those stories or the perpetuation of numerous other false narratives that dominate the news.
Hello darkness, my old friend.
“The Tomorrow War” is slick and entertaining and has an intriguing time travel issue, but then you start thinking about it and realize how you’ve been herded.
Unlike “A Quiet Place,” “The Tomorrow War” begins in a planned suburban development.
It could be Loudoun County, Va., or some such place. A blue place, full of technocrati, Chardonay ANTIFA and American Kemalists who make their living on laptops.
The future Americans arrive in the present, and land on the field during a World Cup soccer match—the globalist sports pastime par excellence.
And once they land on the field, frightening the players, they explain over TV screens to all blue-place dwellers dutifully watching, that they need us now:
They need us all to leap unafraid into the future and fight the aliens who will destroy all of humankind. The future warriors describe their political agenda in the abstract terms favored by elites the world over.
And without requiring much explanation from the governments of the world, the humans join up, have a controlling plastic sleeve fused onto their arms, and happily go forth to die as the bureaucrats instruct them.
It turns out that the aliens have been here for millennia, buried under the polar ice. But in the future, the polar ice melts, releasing the alien apocalypse from within.
Our destruction is all our own fault, dammit.
The aliens had been suppressed by nature, but then are unleashed by the hot breath of capitalistic greed that melted the ice caps.
It all becomes a blue suburban nightmare about “the other” that should have been kept in check by the state and wise policy offered by the Dr. Faucis and the Michael Rennies. But nobody listened!
When the “white spikes” attacked, I only wish there could have been at least a passing reference to young Greta Thunberg, the environmentalist Joan of Arc, who once said:
“How dare you! You have stolen my dreams and my childhood with your empty words. Yet I am one of the lucky ones. People are suffering. People are dying. Entire ecosystems are collapsing. We are in the beginning of a mass extinction, and all you can talk about is money and fairy tales of eternal economic growth. How dare you!”
While clearly Greta’s spirit animates the movie, she isn’t in this one directly. And in the blue suburb, I didn’t see a single “hate-has-no-home-here” sign. That might have been seen as overkill.
One more thing to note, movie aliens, like most movie anything, are unfortunately derivative.
The aliens in both movies are lizard-bugs, with those alien mouths that open sideways, like crabs, like those in “Predator.”
But their motivations are different. The question is, for you, which film speaks to you?
One set of aliens is all about visiting Greta Thunberg’s perfect justice upon us. Why? Because we deserve it. That’s why.
And the other set of aliens gets really, really mad and triggered if you open your mouth to say what’s on your mind.
(Copyright 2021 John Kass)