Monday, March 14, 2011

Back to Whose Future?

I’ve never heard of David Sirota, and already I don’t want to read his new book.

It’s not because he took on Back to the Future as an Islamophobic, jingoistic film that idealized the 1950s as a fuzzy cocoon of all-that-was-niceness-about-America.

It’s not because he regards Dr. Pete Venkman’s baiting of Walter Peck in Ghostbusters as anti-government.

Used under the fair use doctrine for commentary purposes.

And it’s not even because he looks at the “Family Ties” sitcom as a propaganda machine for Reaganesque business policies.

Used under the fair use doctrine for commentary purposes. 

It’s because he makes these assertions in “Back to Our Future: How the 1980s Explain the World We Live in Now – Our Culture, Our Politics, Our Everything,” thus exposing himself as a “neoliberal” slash progressive boob who obviously is out of touch with American culture, appears ignorant of satire and overly prone to contemplating the emanations from his own navel.

Has he ever seen “Back to the Future,” and realized that the fuzzy-wuzzy image we’re getting of the 1950s is of a mother who appeared to be as oversexed as an alley cat and a father who was a complete nerd and sold out his desire to write science fiction stories because “what if someone read them and told me I was no good?”

Or seen this video of actual Libyans at an actual mall in an actual VW microbus wielding an actual AK-47 and laughing their assess off at the portrayal in the film?

Used under the fair use doctrine for commentary purposes. 

Has he ever considered that, for dramatic and comic effect, “Ghostbusters” needed a foil in Walter Peck, and that making him a government official just made sense?

Has he ever sat and considered the satire that is “Family Ties,” in that because his parents were liberals, naturally, in teenage rebellion, Alex P. Keaton is going to be conservative? And yet he still decides on a cooperative management team, involving the minority kid?

And I could go on. But apparently Sirota is too busy filming “The Egret’s Regret” for PBS. (In case you’re as unschooled as Sirota, that’s the film Alex’s Dad was constantly working on for his PBS station. Don’t know if it ever got produced.)

I don’t mind that he pokes fun at conservatives. They deserve it. So do the Democrats:

Used under the fair use doctrine for commentary purposes. 

Of course, the premise of his book seems primarily to set himself up to sell books to fellow neoliberals/progressives, not to set himself up as a great cultural thinker. His premise makes as much sense as saying that violence against children in the future can be tracked back to the "Angry Birds" mobile games of today, where you're encouraged to kill little pig-children -- I assume that's what the small ones are -- in order to recover your own eggs.See? I can sound as culturally important and as culturally silly as he does.

I just wish he’d get that satire thing figured out.

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