Old movies foretell the future

By Joe Rector

I am a movie fan. If I could, I’d go every week to see a new one. A “film,” as it’s called in the production world, is one of the few things that can keep me in my seat for longer than half an hour.

What I like even better are old movies. What I’m talking about are the ones that came out in the 80’s-90’s, ones like “Lethal Weapon” and “Die Hard.” Just last night, I surfed stations and found “Demolition Man.” The movie came out in 1993 and it was set in the future where Big Brother was everywhere. Who would have ever guessed that such an old movie could speak to us in the present?

I’m not “woke,’ nor do I care to be. Change for change’s sake, shaming for not thinking like the crowd, and tongue lashing for using incorrect words irritate me. Most of all, the failure to use any common sense drives me into apoplectic fits. “Demolition Man” is a movie that revels in making fun of all the “cool” things of today. Every curse word is assessed a ticket by listening stations throughout the city. Two characters from the 20th century who have been placed in frozen states while their brains are taught new ways to act are arch enemies who curse, take tickets, and wad them up. The vocabulary of this new world excludes any words that might hurt another person’s feelings. Their conversations lack life and emotion.

The entire society is a nonviolent one. Even the police are nonviolent in their arrests. They explain to suspects why they are being arrested, and then violators submit and go with the officers. What a wonderful world that might be, but only if people give up crimes altogether, something that is not going to happen. Freedom of choice automatically comes with the knowledge that some will opt to do the wrong thing. A well-trained, but compassionate, police force is vital for a successful society.

Food in this futuristic movie takes a funny twist. Fast food chains battle for supremacy, and Taco Bell won. In a satiric twist, the use of salt is bad for people; therefore, it is banned. I’m not sure how they managed to make tacos and burritos without that secret ingredient, and I’m glad I don’t have to eat the stuff.

All sorts of people are telling us about the terrible things that we eat and instructing us to cut out so many of them. I like vegetables, but my diet also consists of red meat, processed foods, and dairy products. Sometimes, I over-indulge, but I try to practice moderation. My parents used to ban certain foods because they weren’t good for us boys, but I’m not living in a society that tells me what I can and can’t eat.

Many other scenes in “Demolition Man” remind me of the goofy things our world sometimes tries to pull on us. I know that the future will bring changes that will be for the good of others. I suppose I’m too much like the two characters who are unfrozen and dropped into that alternate universe. Now is what I have, and I like it fine, warts and all. If others want to be woke or prejudice or elitist, so be it. I’ll settle for waking up in the morning without aching everywhere.

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