I’m fairly certain that most of you won’t know who Mike Judge is, but in the future he will probably be recognised as a genius and a visionary.
In 2006 he made a movie called Idiocracy and it’s basically about the downfall of mankind due to its stupidity. It’s set in the not-so-near future, but recent events lead me to believe that we may meet our demise sooner than Mike anticipated.
I can already see it in the stuff we regard as entertainment on television. In the movie, the people are enchanted by a TV show called Ouch, my Balls. The half-hour show is mainly about men being kicked in the testicles, and in Mike Judge’s fictional universe, it has the highest ratings of any show on television.
It sounds silly, of course, and unthinkable that a programme like this would get any sort of attention, but on Friday nights on MTV you can already watch a show called Ridiculousness. It doesn’t place as much emphasis on the scrotum as the fictional TV show in Idiocracy, but it is half-an-hour of people falling down, getting hit in the face and generally doing the kind of things that end up in the emergency ward.
The other indication that we are in a state of steady decline is the recent spate of road rage incidents.
I sympathise with the frustration that a person may feel when life is slowly ticking away and there’s nothing you can do about it, but imagine the embarrassment you are going to feel when you inevitably end up looking like a fool when the footage of your idiotic and inexcusable behaviour goes viral.
I don’t know this for a fact, but I bet there is a Porsche Cayman driver and a companion with a very rude vocabulary in Pretoria who can attest to this.
But the event that confirmed my fears of mankind’s steady decline into a world of idiocracy was the incident involving the giraffes on the N1. You no doubt saw the pictures: a truck with two giraffes on the back was travelling down the highway, being transported to a new home. The driver went underneath the Garsfontein Bridge, the giraffes struck their heads on the bridge, and one of them died shortly afterwards. What did the driver think the giraffes would do — duck?
Colleague GG van Rooyen and I actually saw the truck carrying the lofty giraffes on the road a few minutes before the dreadful but inevitable outcome. We recalled the scene in Hangover 3, in which the dumbest character, Allen, buys himself a pet giraffe and takes it home on a trailer hitched to his cabriolet. That giraffe meets exactly same fate as the giraffe on the N1. The difference was that Allen’s giraffe was fictional and the one on the N1 was not. It seems we have finally got to a point where an absurd scene from a comedy movie becomes reality and a top item on the news.
People have been asking why I didn’t phone the police, or the SPCA when I saw the truck and to be honest, the thought never crossed my mind. I was under the mistaken impression that this was the correct way to transport a giraffe and that the owners had taken every precaution to protect the animals on the way. If I had to get a giraffe from point A to point B, I’d plan the route beforehand to ensure that there were no obstructions, such as overhead bridges. After all, the average giraffe is much taller than a goat, cow or pig, so obviously this would be a major consideration.
Earlier we’d had a good laugh at our seemingly witty cinematic reference, and went about our day. It was only later that night, when I received the link to the article, that I realised my faith in humanity was seriously misplaced.
At first I thought the giraffe must have died from natural causes, but the article soon confirmed the worst. An innocent animal had died simply because someone hadn’t thought that it might not be possible to drive a truck transporting a 12m giraffe under an 8m-high bridge.
Stories like these make me fear for the future of humanity, but luckily I’m a South African. We deal with stuff like this every day, and while the news may be bad most times, there are a few golden moments in between that give Mike’s vision of our so-called future the middle finger.