Days of Change

Arrogance | July 9, 2015

Last night, I watched 2014 movie “Predestination.” This is a time travel plot based on a short story by Robert Heinlein. Unlike other luminaries in science fiction, I never read much of Heinlein’s work directly. One of his stories was the inspiration for “Starship Troopers,” which I found to be thoughtful for an action movie. In Predestination, one of his short stories (“All You Zombies”) was expanded and directed by the same team with the same star (Ethan Hawke) as “Daybreakers,” a movie I thought put a new spin on vampire movies.

So, what does this have to do with a blog about what’s wrong with this country’s leadership? I’ll explain in the next paragraph. Watch the trailer for Predestination first, because I’m going to spoil the hell out of the movie. If you have an interest in watching, I suggest you stop there.

No one ever stops there.

Heinlein wrote a story in 1959 about a barkeep, an unmarried mother, a dime store writer and a missing baby who all ended up being the same person. The unlikely tale “starts” with a baby dropped off in an orphanage, involves a coupling between two halves of a “perfect” hermaphrodite (or intersex and it’s called these days) brought together by time travel and an unrecognizable man from the future whose original body was burned beyond recognition. The story itself was amazing science fiction, using new concepts like human hermaphrodites and sexual reassignment surgery.

Much like “12 Monkeys” and other high-concept science fiction, “All You Zombies” had a crime procedural plot added to the story to pad it for a 90 minute movie. In terms of mise en scene or “feel,” Predestination is interesting and neatly lays the original story into the larger plot. Where it suffers is in the way it compares “Jane” to the rest of humanity (the zombies).

Jane supposedly exists out of time as a predestination paradox. She was her own mother and father. She was transported back in time as her baby to become her instead. The person to move the baby through time was her future self and an even later future self is the enemy the time traveler has chased for 7 years. Who came first, the chicken or the egg? Their answer is the rooster.

The funniest part to me is that every iteration of Jane (or John) is supposedly the only one who can make a real choice because they don’t have a past or a future. They are also arrogant in that belief. “John” chooses to have a relationship with Jane, knowing all the pain that will cause her. Jane used her perceived superiority to isolate herself from everyone. The barkeep used his grand destiny as an excuse to become the bomber he ended up killing. A special asshole is still and asshole.

That’s the problem with society now and I think Predestination accidentally fell into it. People think their (self-diagnosed) intellectual superiority gives them the right and duty to abuse everyone else. They think everyone else is closed-minded and set in their ways. The reality is their arrogance is what makes them unable to think or grow or truly understand.

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3 Comments

  1. Well said. Heinlein was amazing. I read him quite a bit and often find myself applying many of his themes to the world we live in today. Human nature really doesn’t change much, but it’s a bit disturbing to now find oneself living in their sci/fi.

    Comment by insanitybytes22 — July 9, 2015 @ 9:38 pm

    • All science fiction is about the real world. It just highlights parts of it. Maybe except for Harlan Ellison, whose work mostly exists in a film noir.

      Remember The Crying Game? The plot is supposed to explore Ireland during the troubles, but instead everyone remembers the “that was a dude!” part. I like that Heinlein created a story where almost all the principles were the same person. Unfortunately, Predestination seemed to make more out of transexuality in the movie.

      From what I read, Heinlein was sort of a pro-military liberal. That kind of shows in something like Starship Troopers where war is the only solution. Sadly, aspects of that happened with 9/11.

      Comment by 1539days — July 9, 2015 @ 10:37 pm

  2. The concluding paragraph of the post certainly mirror libtards, the inflexible self-styled elitists who continue to destroy this country.

    Comment by Mary — July 10, 2015 @ 12:25 am


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