“God is dead. God remains dead. And we have killed him.” – Fredrich Nietzsche
The word immediately procures imagery of the small, overly flamboyant, bespectacled creatures from the depressingly popular Despicable Me series. Granted independent franchise liberation in 2015, the Minions movie drew in over $1 Billion dollars and became the 13th highest grossing film of all time. Think about that. Out of the 500,000 films that have been made since the Lumier Brothers brought moving pictures to the awed audiences of France… Minions makes the short list.
But beyond its (shudder) cinematic impact, Minions have engrained themselves deep in the consumer culture of our rapidly decaying capitalist system. Challenge yourself to walk in to any store, even a gas station mini-mart, and not find a Minions-related or branded item. It simply can’t be done.
Curiously absent are the critiques of the Minions-nouveau moderne. Historically, undemocratic seizing of power has always led to revolt or dissent – And don’t fool yourself in believing that this is anything short of an invasion.
“Oh but Anne, an invasion of what? Cute cartoon characters?”
Of a pathological distortion of our morals and perception, duh. If I were to pitch you a movie and told you only that it would be centered around the homoerotic relationship of an enslaved race of people whose only purpose was to provide sadomasochistic entertainment and service to their authoritarian crime lord Master, would you rush to throw your children in that theater?
I don’t believe you would. But dress that plot up with some colourful characters and comical CGI and suddenly you have a market driving force that has accumulated billions. Children go to school with lunch boxes and t-shirts portraying the faces of the enslaved, and soccer moms on Facebook eagerly share memes of those slaves making some reliable quip about wine. We become what propaganda we allow to penetrate our society and castrate our insight – And while that isn’t a quote from Hitler or Goebbels, it sure as heck could be. The obelisk of the Minions is built upon the grave of critical analysis and media resistance. The obelisk of the Minions stands afoot on the bodies of those who said “NO” to the corporate manufacturing of apathy and the mass production of big government friendly values.
In John Carpenter’s classic dystopian film, They Live, the protagonist had to put on a pair of special glasses in order see things how they really were – Billboards that innocuously advertised a product were instantaneously transformed into gruesome propaganda pieces demanding submission… In our modern society, we don’t even need a special pair of glasses to see the banana-yellow signage dangling omnipotent just inches away from our face. It’s there. It’s always been there. And we pointedly refuse to resist it.
What does that say about us?