March 26, 2006

My new VDARE column: "Mike Judge -- King of the Hill."

Here's an excerpt from

One of the lesser known but more interesting figures in American pop culture is Mike Judge. He's the man behind the increasingly impressive animated television series King of the Hill, which will broadcast its 200th episode in May.

When it first premiered on Fox, King of the Hill was derided as a slow-paced imitation of the frenetically brilliant The Simpsons because it features less than half as many jokes per episode. But once King of the Hill matured, the insightful and unusual quality of its low-key humor became evident. It now must rank among the finest sit-coms in television history.

Judge also created Beavis and Butt-Head, which was a controversial sensation on MTV in the mid-1990s. And he wrote and directed the 1999 live action comedy movie Office Space, which flopped at the box office but has since attained cult status on DVD.

Judge, who lives in Texas, is that rarity in the entertainment business: an unabashed populist conservative. Most strikingly, he has demonstrated a deep, sympathetic interest in the welfare of the white American blue-collar man.

Hank Hill, hero of King of the Hill, exemplifies the traditional American male virtues in an age that holds them in contempt. Much of the comedy stems from Hank (who wistfully remarks of Ronald Reagan, "I miss voting for that man") doing battle with the pretensions of Northeastern liberalism and the rapacity of globalized corporatism. Judge says of Hank, "He's probably the most like me of all my characters."

Judge's upcoming film Idiocracy, which sounds as if it's inspired by C.M. Kornbluth's famous 1951 science fiction short story The Marching Morons, makes his IQ interest explicit.

In Idiocracy, Luke Wilson (Old School) plays the most dispensable private in the U.S. Army. He is chosen to be a guinea pig in a "Human Hibernation Project", but due to a bureaucratic snafu, he's not awoken for hundreds of years. He discovers, to his horror, that's he's now the smartest man in America.

Dysgenic breeding and rampant commercial degradation of the culture have made real life in America as mindless as a World Wrestling Entertainment Smackdown...

Judge's plot is explicitly eugenic. A review of an early draft of his screenplay with Etan Cohen says:

"There's also a hilarious opening scene of the script that perfectly sets up the eventual future in the film. It deals with a conservative, smart, and well-to-do yuppie couple who plans and over-analyzes every aspect of their life, mainly that of the decision of when to have a child. Simultaneously, on the right side of the screen appears a 'white trash' couple who has lots of sex without protection, and over generations and generations, produce more and more dumbasses, 'multiplying like rabbits, drowning out the yuppie couple.'"

NARRATOR: "Evolution does not necessarily reward that which is good or beautiful. It simply rewards those who reproduce the most."

This initial draft sounds funny but crass. Judge's views of intelligence are more complex than this suggests, so I suspect that Idiocracy will turn out to be more humanely insightful when it finally gets to the screen, probably this October.

My published articles are archived at -- Steve Sailer

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