THE THING FROM OUTER SPACE. Yes it does. It bears an uncanny resemblance. It really does. And it had a compulsive need to attack the Star Ship Enterprise. And here’s the thing about the THING: It starts out as a relatively innocuous, even innocent THING and in some Treck-episodes it even starts out looking like a benign and reasonable THING. But as these things go, pretty soon it’s growing and multiplying in a nasty, aggressive way. Down boy, Bad THING! Inevitably as the story unfolds the crew has it’s moment of stark realization and it goes like this: if we don’t stop this THING pretty soon we are going to all be dead or turned into robotic slaves or . . . choose your scary deep space variation. Hmmmm. Is it really neccesary dear reader to point out that the THING is really not very nice? It’s scary, it’s weird and it does nasty things to people who get in its way or try to stop it.
Yes folks the THING FROM OUTER SPACE bears an uncanny resemblance to American style capitalism and its narcissistic projection The American Dream. Now please . . . I am not a communist (But I’ve been to bed with a few) My God i mean . . . that whole capitalist/communist thing just seems so last century doesn’t it? But it’s become increasingly clear lately that for most of the 20th Century Uncle Sam wanted YOU . . .er, to become a psychopathic looney. Huh?
Well think about it for a moment. Here’s you sitting at home eating ice cream in your pyjamas while some very serious people on the other side of the world are dropping napalm on children in an Asian village. ON YOUR BEHALF. Or in another version of this nightmare you’re driving over to the Piggly Wiggly in your gas guzzling, oversized V8 pick up to pick up a six pack and some ammo and ice while the hitmen over at the agency are taking care of some uncooperative South American President. Sonofabitch just wouldn’t cooperate with the freedom agenda. . .and let us have their oil for next to nothing.
Uncle Sam was a monster waving an American flag and mugging for the TV cameras. An A-bomb masquerading as apple pie. Oh Uncle Sam how could you? Well, i suppose the biggest justification for your wicked, wicked ways was that if you didn’t do it someone else would have. I mean the Japanese, or the Chinese, the Arabs, the Africans. Hmph. There is no particular reassuring sense that any of the other world players would have behaved particularly any better. Maybe even worse. Nazi world domination anyone? Uncle Sam you did the World domination thing admittedly with more good grace than most throughout recorded history. Oh you big cuddly new-age psychopathic lunatic how i do love you so. But your karma just ran over your dogma. Check out my James Dean. Coooool. Dominating the world with Coca-Cola and Google is cute. Hey, the bubbles tickle your nose right?! Anyway back at the space ranch the THING FROM OUTER SPACE is about to shut down the Starship’s main warp drive and zombify the entire crew for an excruciating eternity. But we know that between ad breaks and before the end of the episode Mr Spock or Commander Data or Captain Janeway will save the day again and the Enterprise will continue to boldly go . . .where there are ridiculosuy cheap cheesbergers and hideously overpriced houses. Ah, um I mean towards the continued enlightenment of the Space-time journey and human decency and the nobility of the spirit. Yeah that’s it nobility, enlightenment freedom, discovery. Almost forgot.
Now if we haven’t noticed that something has been going horribly wrong with the American dream lately then we simply haven’t been paying attention. The wheels have been falling off the American/capitalist dream in spectacular style. And while those who would encourage us to strike up the band and and clamber back up on that old band-wagon are indeed legion, we have been given an invaluable glimpse beneath the surface, beneath the slick facade. A glimpse that reveals to all who would look – what deep dysfunction and mysery lies beneath. The heroic egoic facade of Captain America and his band of marching men and dancing girls is really just that . . .it’s a sham, a facade. HOLD THE FRONT PAGE. Crikey, this is BIG news. Ahem . . .for some.
The Thing from Outer Space that was always attacking the Starship enterprise is a neat symbolic representation of the darkness that threatens to utterly corrupt real free enterprise. I reckon that real free-enterprise is one of the greatest things the world has going for it. The whole world has attempted to emulate the American model. Just think of all those passionately striving Chinese, Indians and so many others around the world. They all want upward mobility. And maybe that’s not such a bad thing at all. But if they just reproduce the ugliness that has been, then we really will all be well and truly. Up the creek so to speak. So what’s the answer.
I reckon two things. Thing number one. Americans (and all who are now in the developed world who have enjoyed the fruits of the rape of the world) must get on the couch about what has been. Admit the truth to yourself. You did it. Fess up . . .to yourself if no one else. Thing number two. It’s time to start showing some real leadership. Like how? Well, if you thought it was great being the leader when that meant puffing out your chest and bragging about how America is the greatest country on earth, blah blah blah (and guys . . .all the poor countries are really sick of hearing that one) try to maintain your leadership now, when that means firstly doing thing number one and then creating a vision of how the world can really be. All together now. If you want a world where all six billion, seven billion, eight billion people, NINE BILLION! can live and prosper together then I have an idea. This is so radical you’re going to be amazed. Try re-defining development. Huh? Not in terms of what you have and own, so much as who you can be and become. Let the development agenda become the self-improvemnt agenda. I can see it now. Just as all those other ridiculously materialistic tasteless cowboys in other countries are about to destroy themselves in an orgy of resource depleting utter stupidity and narcissistic self confabulation, they will look over to America for one last shot of Elvis Presley, Marilyn Monroe, James Dean inspired coolness and they will see . . . .hundreds of millions of little Obamas that were cleverly cloned by Commander Data and sent back in time to save America. And just in time for the episode to end. In this version of how it goes the world is safe for free enterrpise once more. You just know don’t you? That all those little Obamas are going to play fairly, share the toys and allocate a sizeable sum to the education and development of the underprivileged. The little Obamas are going to resepect the right to self detirmination of other countires. And perhaps most important of all – the little Obamas are going to know how to dance to hip cool beats without looking totally dorky. Let’s hope Commander Data is able to send all the little Obamas back in time and save the Enterprise from certain destruction before the Borg find out how to disable him.