Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Age of Stupid

Allow me to be naive about this; the idea of watching a crowdfunded independent movie -with a doomsday theme to boot- in a fringe movie hall that doesn't serve 100-Rupee popcorn pushes so many of my buttons that my enjoyment of the movie was almost fait accompli.

"Age of Stupid" is a collection of montages all on the theme of how we are being irresponsible with the planet's resources. There is one intriguing story that runs throughout the movie and that's an account of the launch of Go Air, a low-cost airline that sought to make air travel affordable to the average indian. It's a fascinating example because it shows how many of our values and rational choices are at loggerheads with what is responsible at this moment in history. With your normal spectacles it's impossible to find fault with someone launching a low-cost air service. There's no culture that would find it ethical to dictate limits to the entrepreneurial spirit let alone completely discourage it. There are very few individuals, and I'm definitely not one of them, who would voluntarily eschew an opportunity to travel the world conveniently. Yet it takes us one step closer to getting fucked and that much harder to wind it back. It got me thinking of the enormity of the solution. Nothing less than dismantling our value system and recalibrating it would do.

The owner of GoAir, Jeh Wadia, honestly believes that his efforts are guided by his deeper purpose of eradicating poverty. You have to already believe "peak-oil", "imminent ecological collapse" and "overcrowding" to catch the irony in that example. Therein lies the movie's biggest fault. It rams its lessons hard into the converted. Most people will probably dismiss the whole gig as fear-mongering by the leftist nuts. I still say everybody should watch it.

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