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Reply To: Don’t Look Up: The Doomsday Dilettante,” with mythologist Norland Téllez”

#74525

Janet,

I especially appreciate this observation of yours:

If the work creates waves of response on different levels than the artist intended then the artist has touched some collective fibre, deliberately or not.”

Norland does a wonderful job of seconding your thought and expanding on this theme in his reply (post #6826, which for some reason appears out of the order in which it was posted).

What also stands out for me in your remarks is your characterization of Elon Musk, whom you associate with billionaire and BASH founder Peter Isherwell in Don’t Look Up, as “a symbol of a far darker mystery, the human gift of rationality without the brakes of human feeling . . .”

That really strikes a chord for me; though Isherwell and Musk appear to share similar traits, in my mind this applies not just to Musk, but to all of Silicon Valley. For many, there is an assumption that technology will ultimately save the day (even as that technology is evermore driven by impersonal AI logarithms impervious to human feeling). I can’t help but see the figure of Isherwell (and Musk) as the inevitable end-product of our “off-tilt capitalism.”

A work of art often serves as a Rohrshach inkblot test that reveals more about the the viewer than its creator. For what it’s worth, I experience this satire as a compelling commentary on our post-factual society, a lampooning of elites across the board (whether politicians, the media, “woke” celebrities, MAGA partisans and their more liberal critics, etc.), with a focus on widespread selective denial of evidence in favor of pre-conceived beliefs (e.g., even with the comet clearly in view, a significant swath of the public follows the advice to “don’t look up”).

Others experience this as a harsh, heavy handed, self-righteous attack on conservative beliefs and values (true, up to a point – but that reaction ignores the implicit criticism of Hollywood liberals and pundits on the left as well as the right). At the same time, a great many who fall into that camp have not actually seen the movie (ironically, they don’t look up Don’t Look Up, but base their opinions on what others say).

What I do find intriguing is that the film raises questions, but does provides no solution, which reflects where we find ourselves in “the real world” today. There is no rallying of the troops, no deus ex machina at the end to make everything right. Pessimism carries the day – a dark comedy indeed!

I’d like to think it’s not prophetic, but . . .