Day Late and a Dollar Short

When Mike Judge’s satire “Idiocracy” was released in 2006, it didn’t make much of a mark on the landscape of cinema. Possibly just a little more than a blip of actual recognition. The film was a fairly ludicrous tongue-in-cheek poke at where our society will end up in 500 years if ignorance prevails. It was worth a few chuckles. Sadly, with each new year, more and more signs that “Idiocracy” is actually a documentary rather than a work of fiction, creep up. The latest has me shaking my head not just at law enforcement, but the education system.

You’re probably not going to believe me when I tell you this, but there are people—MANY people apparently —that don’t know that a $2 bill is a real thing. They’ve never heard of it, never seen it, pretty much think it’s the same thing as bajillion dollar bill. Don’t believe me? Seem a bit too, dare I say, idiotic? Unfortunately, I am shamefully stating a fact and the link to the story is here.  Have at it.

To sum up, in case you can’t open the link for some reason (or don’t feel like reading about utter stupidity), this poor eighth grade student tried to pay for her school lunch with at $2 bill given to her by her grandmother and was denied. The people working in the school cafeteria (did you catch that key word “school”? You know, a place where kids go to learn) thought she was passing off a fake bill. That’s embarrassing enough, right? That in an environment of academics and scholastics, the people working as an appendage of an educational institute didn’t recognize United States currency. However, sadly, it doesn’t end there.

So appalled were the cafeteria workers that this conniving middle schooler was trying to put one over on them that the police, yes the POLICE, were called in to investigate. Now, you’re probably thinking, “Well, they’ll nip this problem in the bud right away and set everyone straight.” Well, you would be wrong. So wrong. They didn’t know what a $2 bill was either. To repeat, a police officer for the Fort Bend Independent School District did recognize what a $2 bill was. What did he do in the face of this brand new, obviously fabricated bill coming from the pockets of a charlatan-in-training? He threatened her by telling her she could be in “big trouble” for trying to use the fake bill.  Cause you know. Counterfeiting and such.

Where does the ridiculousness end, you may be asking yourself? Not much longer, but still a trail of bread crumbs far too long. First the student’s grandmother confirmed that she gave her granddaughter the bill. THEN the police went to the convenience store who supplied the grandmother with the bill in the first place to make sure they backed up her alibi. THEN, they took the bill to a bank where bank officials confirmed that, yes, $2 bills do exist and what they had in their hot little hands was one of them.

I’m sorry but as much as I would love to find a way to reason with the school workers and police department, I just can’t figure out how to give them the benefit of the doubt. Sure, it’s not like we see $2 bills every day, but it’s still in circulation and was even deemed somewhat popular up until 1966. It’s not like this kid was trying to pass off dinars. It was legal US currency being used in the US and it fooled multiple levels of “educated” professionals.

If this isn’t a harbinger that “Idiocracy” is getting closer, I don’t want to know what is.

here you go...you know, in case you're wondering what one looks like

here you go…you know, in case you’re wondering what one looks like

 

 

Future Plans

When you watch movies or read books about the future it normally falls into one of two categories. Either a) everything’s awesome and we’ve mastered technology to make life a carefree playground (e.g.: The Jetsons) or b) everything sucks because we’ve depleted all of our natural resources and are forced to regress back to Neanderthalic aggression for our survival. That’s all our entertaining prophecies seem to come up with: amazing or horrible.

Unfortunately, I think we’re veering more and more towards that unsavory post-apocalyptic Mad Max, Book of Eli, Terminator: Salvation sort of scenario. Sometimes I get a glimpse of something super cool, like it jumped out of a Doctor Who episode (for example, the driver-less car Google is testing on real highways, cell phones that track your eye movements so it can pause YouTube videos when it knows you’re not looking at the screen, TVs that respond to voice commands, and freakin’ Siri). Those are great and tell me that we have the minds to create things that can positively influence the progress of society.

But those are just glimpses. More often than not when I involuntarily think of the future I’m just reminded of Masters of Horrors: Dance of the Dead or Blade Runner. The greyness, the polluted rain, the morbidity as everyone on the planet knows that they got screwed by their ancestors. Or worse yet, and probably more accurately, Idiocracy. The fact that the Jackass movies always earn the top spot on their opening weekend is evidence enough of that.