Elevator Pitch

I like dumb movies that embrace how dumb they are.

It's not as easy a conceit as you might imagine to pull off. I mean let's face it, even some of the greatest movies ever made have lots of dumb shit in them.

What I'm talking about is when a movie comes out and announces itself with a ridiculous premise, commits to it, and follows through to the end -- where all the actors and production designers and costumers have committed themselves to the effort to create a world for us as viewers to visit and explore, characters for us to root for, and a goal we want them to achieve -- there's nothing better than sinking into it and enjoying the ride.

I think the reason for this is that is that I enjoy being inspired.

I like the experience that comes from embracing ideas and getting swept up into a cause (especially if the cause can be shown as a parallel to something in my own life). Even if it's something as simple as two unrelated people needing to make a neural connection so that the giant robot they are driving can effectively punch the sea monster threatening their city in the face -- if you can fill your presentation with rich detail and a rousing story -- I'm more than happy to get on board.

Like most people, I prefer stories that appeal to my sensibilities and preferences -- but I'm not totally opposed to trying different things, exploring different ideas or themes that might challenge my outlook on the world or offer me a different perspective on things I might have felt I already understood in a certain way. Sometimes having my eyes opened to something new can actually be more rewarding than retreading ground I've already covered and become comfortable with.

But like I was talking about the other day, I think we're in a headspace lately as a culture where doing just that is becoming more and more difficult.

Look, I know the last thing you probably want to slog through is yet another political thinkpiece diatribe -- and anyone who's read this blog is well aware of where I sit on the political spectrum, but I just gotta say just for the record:

I really, really hate the fact that that the president is stupid.

Let's set aside for a moment the policy and party reasons I disagree with him (and believe me, there are many) -- and just focus on these bothersome facts that keep swirling around the guy. He doesn't like to (or can't or won't) read, he has barely any patience for meetings or information sessions, he walks out of meetings, he gets lots of his news from social networks or news commentary shows with clear biases and all the rest of the little details that we discover either through interviews with people around him or his own revelations through twitter or media interviews -- the guy is not that sharp.

Shrewd, perhaps.
But painfully, painfully dumb.

More and more this picture is forming of this guy who is sitting at the most powerful desk in the world who can't work the phones or find the light switches.

It bothers me. It's disappointing. It flies in the face of every parent and teacher I've ever had who demanded that I work hard in school and try to do better.

I know being rich enables people to skip over a lot of the struggles other people go through, but usually when some rich asshole starts waving his money around and suggests he should be in charge of everything -- people of all stripes tend to rise up and ask for some qualifications first. From Nelson Rockefeller to Mitt Romney, Americans have tended to reject rich jerks in presidential elections. We also tend to shun idiots from being in charge.

But here we are, with the richest jerkiest idiot we could find, and it just makes my stomach turn.

It's almost like you're watching a movie and the main character is just an asshole. Not an antihero who you find yourself rooting for because he is driven to accomplish the right goal, even if his methods might be questionable.

I feel like we're being asked to root for the Wolf of Wall Street. You know -- the bad guy?

And yet I know a lot of people do root for those ideas. You go on Linkedin or other social networks and you'll see quotes from the movie presented as inspirational memes. Not like "Don't be like this guy, he ripped everybody off and then went to jail" but honest to goodness "Be like this if you want to succeed" things.

I guess I'm coming off sounding naive. I know there are sharks out there. We live in a competitive, capitalistic society. People use others, they take advantage, they cut in lines. If you want to accomplish your dreams, you have to fight for it -- and sometimes that means fighting other people who want the same thing.

But is it naive to think that when it comes to something like being the President of the United States -- where you're fighting against other people to win the support and votes of people in the country -- that the weapons you use to fight should be your ability to impress that you're the very best, most qualified person for the job?

That your intelligence and compassion elevate you beyond your competitors?

I know people had issues with Hillary Clinton, our election results confirmed that. But is this really better? This dangerous colicky toddler flinging insults at people from his phone and actively supporting alleged child molesters in Senate races?

This isn't a dumb movie with a lead character we don't like or a plot we can't buy into. This is a bad movie we can't find a way to walk out of. This is like a movie about the Titanic where the hero character is the Iceberg.

I'm ready to close this book. I'm ready to exit out of this Netflix selection.

But a lot of people aren't. A lot of folks are all in on this -- and more and more I feel like walking out of the theater without them just isn't the answer. More and more I feel like I have a good idea how Iceberg the movie is going to end, and it's hard not to see it being bad for everyone. Like nuclear bad.

But how do you enlighten them? How do you convince the metaphoric equivalent of movie twitter that instead of ranting on youtube about plot holes, we literally need to shut the projector off and switch theaters?

How can we find a way to inspire people to embrace a different story?

[Now Playing:  Bruno Mars [feat Cardi B.] "Finesse (Remix)" ]