August 20, 2016

The problem of using material from "Idiocracy" in an anti-Trump ad.

Yes, the Donald Trump phenomenon feels like "Idiocracy" to a lot of people, but who owns that material? Not Etan Cohen, who wrote it, or his collaborator Mike Judge, and not Terry Crews, the actor who plays the President in the movie, but 20th Century Fox.

If you were the decisionmaker at 20th Century Fox, would you agree to letting that material be used in a partisan political ad? Even if you were opposed to Trump, it's not a good idea. Who are the continuing fans of that movie? I'll bet a lot of them are Trump supporters. And the movie stands on its own as a timeless critique of American culture and politics. It's bad to capture that value and channel it into something transitory and partisan.

Anyway, The Daily Beast quotes Mike Judge complaining:
“It kind of fell apart.... It was announced that [the ads] were anti-Trump, and I would’ve preferred to make them and then have the people decide. Terry Crews had wanted to just make some funny Camacho ads, and Etan [Cohen] and I had written a few that I thought were pretty funny, and it just fell apart. I wanted to put them out a little more quietly and let them go viral, rather than people announcing we’re making anti-Trump ads. Just let them be funny first. Doing something satirical like that is better if you just don’t say, ‘Here we come with the anti-Trump ads!’ Also, when Terry heard that announcement he wasn’t happy about it."
Of course, talking to The Daily Beast is creating virality. This ad is available there. I've watched it.

By the way, the text at The Daily Beast does not support its headline: "‘Idiocracy’ Director Mike Judge: Fox Killed Our Anti-Trump Camacho Ads." Judge doesn't say that! And Fox — the movie division (not even Fox News) — didn't nix the ads.

Judge is only saying they gave up when the viral approach was blown by an open announcement that they are anti-Trump. I wonder what really happened. He seems to still be trying to get the ad in circulation, so respect for rights owned by 20th Century Fox doesn't seem to be such a big consideration. Talking about the rights may be a device to give 20th Century Fox separation from the ad project. And that announcement Judge purports to be upset about: Maybe he chose to do that to make sure no one would misread it as pro-Trump. Once that's nailed down, it's time to send this thing out into the world with Judge, Cohen, and Crews sort of posing as victims — or so I suspect.

The fact is that the ad isn't really that good. What does it really say about Trump? If you don't know the movie too well, the use of a very buffoonish black man to make a statement is open to all sorts of interpretation and the potential for offense is great. Are they trying to say Trump is bad because he reminds them of a clownish, hyper-masculine black man? And why is the black man getting used as a means to an end?

44 comments:

Michael Owens said...

Democrats are now the more racist party, just like they have been since Andy Jackson, famous racist, started the party. No further explanation is needed.

AprilApple said...

Idiocracy could just as easily be used against Hillary.

The heath care system in the movie IS government controlled single payer.

Renee said...

Idiocracy, we are already there.

The movie isn't even funny now, just really sad.

David Begley said...

Big legal controversy. Can this anti-Trump Hollywood guy confiscate the IP of the owner in order to make a political point?

I'm no expert on IP, but the 8th Circuit Mutant of Omaha case says no.

Althouse may well be right that this ad might backfire. More likely just preaching to the choir.

The larger point is that the Left has nothing on substance. Just remind how great Hillary was on foreign affairs. Her new commercial says she will get equal pay for women. Why didn't Obama's DOL fix that seven years ago?

PB said...

In Idiocracy, the people of the future were happy idiots. While democrat/liberal/progressive policies will take us to the same place, I don't think the people of their future will be happy at all, unless they're idiots.

Renee said...

We have individuals getting all excited about a naked Trump statue in public, that says more about the public than it does about Trump.

EDH said...

Mike Judge invited Alex Jones to his house for a interview that revealed his political instincts.

Cued to Judge's opinion of using one's art to putt out a political message.

Watching the whole thing.

Mike Judge invited Alex Jones to his Austin Tx home for a one on one interview. Mike covered the current IRS scandal, Alex's epic interview on Piers Morgan, and The 2nd Amendment Debate. He gave insights into his groundbreaking animation, movies and style of satire that is now proving to be prophetic. He discloses the origins of Beavis and Butthead, Dale Gribble, and behind the scenes of the movie that Hollywood tried to kill Idiocracy.

HoodlumDoodlum said...

I would prefer to hear what Hank Hill would say about this election, I tell you what.

HoodlumDoodlum said...

We aren't "there" and the "real" Idiiocracy future will look a bit different--way too many white people in the movie! Low IQ white people might have more kids than high IQ white people, but non-white people (never mind the IQ) worldwide have so many more kids than western white people do that that effect swamps the intra-white IQ effect.

See: Steyn, Mark. Probably also Derbyshire, John.

David Begley said...

HD

NPR piece up now about the Left's movement to not have children because of CAGW. Quotable quote, "Maybe the way to save our children is not to have them." Me, citing Vietnam, "We had to destroy the village in order to save it."

EDH said...

Here's the part of the Alex Jones interview of Mike Judge on "Idiocracy".

damikesc said...

Don't quite get how Trump is "Idiocracy"? Wouldn't voting for a well-known untrustworthy, inept criminal because she wields a barely-used vagina more of a case for "Idiocracy"?

damikesc said...

Her new commercial says she will get equal pay for women. Why didn't Obama's DOL fix that seven years ago?

Better questions:

Why doesn't the Clinton Foundation pay women as much as they pay men?
Why doesn't Hillary pay her women staffers as much as she pays her male ones?

She is going to get equal pay for women --- but she won't actually do it herself.

traditionalguy said...

Idiot means a foreign person who does not know our culture. To use a reverse image requires making it seem as if Trump is the one who does not know our culture because ....???

That just doesn't work.

HT said...

One of my favorite movies of all time. But I'm not sure Trump fans think it's all that.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kn200lvmTZc

Remind you of anything?

n.n said...

So much negativity. Is anyone pro-something? Well, other than Pro-Choice (i.e. selective, opportunistic). Principles (i.e. content of character) matter.

Reconcile moral, natural, and personal imperatives.

Anglelyne said...

HoodlumDoodlum: We aren't "there" and the "real" Idiiocracy future will look a bit different--way too many white people in the movie! Low IQ white people might have more kids than high IQ white people, but non-white people (never mind the IQ) worldwide have so many more kids than western white people do that that effect swamps the intra-white IQ effect.

I liked the movie, but Judge really pulled his punches on that score. It isn't dumb white people making the U.S. more idiocratic.

Though it is really hilarious that Idiocracy could be perceived as having a pro-Hillary message.

rhhardin said...

The black community will flower with the application of the electrolyte of entitlements.

rhhardin said...

Idiocracy was a little too idiotic. Humor that will leave you in stitches doesn't.

It took three tries to finish it.

It has cultural references you need nevertheless to know.

Paul Snively said...

HoodlumDoodlum: I would prefer to hear what Hank Hill would say about this election, I tell you what.

Hank would probably build a proper bunker in his back yard, ensuring it was stocked with adequate clean, safe, efficient propane, and propane accessories.

Paul Snively said...

David Begley: NPR piece up now about the Left's movement to not have children because of CAGW.

It would suit me just fine if the left went the way of the Shakers.

As a bumper sticker in my tax guy's office reminds us, "Celibacy is not hereditary." (From, IIRC, Robert A. Heinlein's "Lazarus Long" character.)

See also St. Augustine: "Grant me chastity and continence, but not yet."

exiledonmainstreet said...

"David Begley: NPR piece up now about the Left's movement to not have children because of CAGW.

It would suit me just fine if the left went the way of the Shakers."

The escape hatch for the Left: open borders and amnesty and control of the educational system. I will not be surprised to see more and more restrictions on homeschooling. Your children will not be allowed to escape the Borg.

walter said...

Pretty lame "ad". Reminds me of something ole Jon "Mugshot" Stewart's staff would hack together.
Further..the juxtaposition here isn't really specific to Trump.
If there's anything to it..this "schtick" works on every pres candidate there ever was.

Where/how is this bit being distributed?

cubanbob said...

Mike Judge ought to enlighten us rubes on why it would the smart thing to do to vote for the champagne fascist grifter criminal traitor.

rcocean said...

Most attacks on Trump are thinly disguised class warfare.

The subtext is: "Hey, you don't want to be with the losers - the peasants -do you? The "smart" people aren't hurt by internationalism, open borders, and bad trade deals. Caring about your fellow Americans is icky."

It works on a lot of people. Especially women and men with Aspbergers.

walter said...

Burr in the bonnet..

Paul Zrimsek said...

Though it is really hilarious that Idiocracy could be perceived as having a pro-Hillary message.

"Ow, my balls!" -- Bill Clinton

walter said...

I wish he would create an ad with Peggy Hill saying:
"It's high time. She wants it."

walter said...

hot sauce is weak tea

HoodlumDoodlum said...

Let's see: in Idiocracy the only memorable Latinx character is a lowish-IQ prostitute, most people in positions of power (all the Cabinet, the lawyers, judges, prison guards, etc) are white, none of the major characters are portrayed as gay, lesbian, or transgender and in fact accusations of homosexuality are used as insults and played for laughs repeatedly...etc. The whole movie is problematic and triggering, and that's not even mentioning that the primary target FOR this movie, just like most of Judge's other work (Office Space, Beavis & Butthead) is (dun dun dun) straight white men! No right-thinking person can support Idiocracy.

It's so f*cking easy to be a SJW.

TML said...

It's starting to feel very much like all the smug "Bien Pensant" piety and moaning and faux cleverness is gonna backfire deliciously on them. I'm a McMullin voter so I don't care. But trying elevate HRC to some lofty plane is howlingly risible horseshit.

Amadeus 48 said...

Camacho kinda reminds me of Obama. Is that the problem?

Michael Fitzgerald said...

Surprised to see Mike Judge is a democrat party member. Shocked, actually. I thought idiocracy was a critique of democrat party progressivism. The guy who created King of the Hill supports Hillary Clinton. Well I'll be dipped in shit.

rcocean said...

The guy who created King of the Hill supports Hillary Clinton. Well I'll be dipped in shit.

Yeah, well, if he wasn't a liberal democrat, the Hollywood Bosses wouldn't have given him a job.

Or maybe, he's just pretending to love Comrade Stalin. You need to look at the details.

Unknown said...

Plenty of poor judgement out there. For example, everytime I see the "I'm with her" ad I think of the t-shirt "I'm with stupid"

Mike said...

My name is Mike Judge and I support Donald Trump.

Big Mike said...

If this forces Hillary to work to keep Black voters then she's going to have trouble keeping together the rest of her coalition. So this is good.

If Trump wins and keeps his promise, it will be even better for the Black community.

John said...

Oh goody, an election campaign that also provides some lessons in intellectual property rights and their management.

So the owner of an intellectual property can forbid or permit its use as they see fit? In these days of wholesale ripoff on the web it is nice to see the point made here.

OTOH, I find it endlessly amusing to hear these whiny artists whine about Trump's use of their music for his bumpers. They sold the rights or otherwise licensed them to anyone who wants to pay to use them. Trump wants to channel his inner Freddy Mercury? Great. He pays the license fee to ASCAP, BMI or whoever and can do so to his heart's content.

To those who are upset about this? Suck it. If you want to control who uses your music, keep control of the rights.

Better call the Waahmbulance.

John Henry

HoodlumDoodlum said...

Now that I think about it, the framing of Idiocracy is problematic--the focus is on the choices present day white people make and how that affects future white people in the US. Through the eyes of a man, of course, and focusing mostly on the kinds of problems men care about...so it ignores the non-white people in the US, ignores the rest of the world, focuses on men (and still assumes men are in charge/men are who we should care about), and is so patriarchal that it makes a WHITE MAN the smartest person in the world (and, of course, the world's great white paternalistic savior)!

Xenophobic, sexist, racist...

narciso said...

but idiocracy, is about genetic devolution, leading to the lowest public denominator thinking, reality tv, which began with the real world hadn't demonstrated the level of societal decay, we saw with honey boo boo, or jersey shore, and of course the kardashians at this time, all big democratic supporters, the spew was just starting around that time,

tola'at sfarim said...

" And why is the black man getting used as a means to an end?"
Probably the same reason that hillary blamed her email use on a black man

narciso said...

not to mention, our esteemed leader, spent some time campaigning on 'bubba the love sponge's atrocity of a program, and he seems to focus a great deal on ellen, letterman, and other ephemera, of low intellectual development,

EMD said...

I would prefer to hear what Hank Hill would say about this election, I tell you what.

KIng of the Hill is simply one of the best television shows ever made. It respected a Texan family man with basic conservative principles. Even though it was animated, it was more realistic than thousands of other sitcoms.

EDH said...

HT said...
Remind you of anything?

The guy imprisoned for a year after he made the "disgusting and reprehensible" anti-Muslim video that result resulted in the Benghazi attack?