Friday, April 10, 2009

Laughing Matter?

I really enjoyed watching Robocop. The violence could have definitely been toned down in my opinion, and I always wonder why there has to be cussing, but the movie was otherwise fun to watch. I think I enjoyed it so much because of the satire. Just as a reminder, satire is the use of irony, sarcasm, ridicule, or the like, in exposing, denouncing, or deriding vice or folly. Basically, through the seriousness of the movie; ideas are actually being made fun of or warned against. There were a few satirical points that really got me thinking, but on that really got my attention was the focus on overpowering.

Throughout Robocop, there is a show everyone watches with a catch-phrase, “I’ll buy that for a dollar.” It is an idiotic, sexual, demeaning, and without any meaning. The main character always seems to have birthday parties thrown for him by “Hooter’s” girls who always end up having cake on their persons. Out comes his line, “I’ll buy that for a dollar.” This side of the movie reminded me of Idiocracy, a futuristic movie showing how humanity is getting dumber and dumber. In this movie, the favorite show is called “Ouch, My Balls”, and it is precisely about how the title sounds, a man constantly being abused by hits to the groin. These two shows cause the characters of the movies to crack up and be purely entertained. But what is so funny about these shows? Nothing. The “I’ll buy that…” show melts the audience’s brain and also replaces that brain mush with abusive and demoralizing ideals. Women are nothing but dumb toys to “buy for a dollar” and men should just use them like props. Sex is the shallow drive of life and humor; it is the model to follow. Anything deeper than that is not entertaining, therefore not worth entertaining. The news follows this line as well. While not sexual, it is filled with violence and tragedy juxtaposed with pointless news. It gets your attention, but what does it teach you? If you think these are examples made specifically for the movies and not a reality yet, think about these shows: "Jackass" and any of the “love” shows on MTV.

All of this is a warning against the power of the media. This Robocop’s media is telling you to be destructive, women are sex toys and cheap, and to “get [your enemies] before they get you”. As we watch the movie, the audience can see these ideals overtaking the characters’ lives. Crime is going up as morals and society’s standards plummet. The people are desensitized to the junk in the media, and this flows into their real lives. During class, we discussed the effectiveness of coupling the robotic features with the human flickers in Robocop. I think this was very effective and pertinent to the meaning behind the meaningless media and ideas of the movie. The people are basically made into robotic, greedy, villainous pigs that are very effective in destroying what is in front of them. But, there is hope, the human side. This is the side that seems like the memory of a memory; we may simply feel it like Robocop feels his previous life’s memories, but it is there. It drives us to set things right and question what we are meant to do. Instead of following the media’s destructive ideals, we can turn that program off.


  1. With all the sex that is in the media of the movie, there is very little in the rest of the movie. Do you think that this contrast was intentional on Paul Verhoeven's part, and why?

  2. women are sex toys and cheap!? come on!!! Boys like sex toys too!