I always liked to point to the 1984 movie "Ghostbusters" as one of my favorite anti-statist movies of all time. No only is the bad guy a bureaucrat from the EPA, but Dan Ackroid delivers one of the all time immortal lines when Bill Murray proposes going into the private sector. Ackroid, in a worried tone: "The private sector! I’ve worked in the private sector. They expect results!"
Well today Ghostbusters has been overtaken by The Simpsons Movie. For once I’m beating Jonah Goldberg to the punch at least by a few hours, since as of this writing he hasn’t seen it yet. But I agree with his G-File today that although The Simpsons is an equal opportunity offender, the left takes it worse from the show because there are so many more liberal pieties to be taken down these days.
This is my reading of The Simpsons Movie, which I took in at the first opportunity today. The bad guys are the EPA, and the portrayal is unintentionally accurate. The EPA’s decision to put a sealed glass dome over contaminated Springfield is not all that far removed from the EPA’s real decision in the 1980s to evacuate Times Beach, Missouri, even though the EPA later acknowledged that this was totally unnecessary and unjustified. The evil appointed head of the EPA refers to it as "the least successful government agency," and the ineffectuality of the EPA is overdramatized in the film in exactly the same way as the collective problem of pollution. Gore comes in for a pasting too, with Lisa Simpson’s documentary "An Irritating Truth."
There was more, but like the TV show, it goes by so fast that you miss things. An evil Hollywood plot to make you see the movie again or buy the DVD. Which I will.
You mean Dan Aykroyd.
Listen, it just wasn't that funny, and for that reason a bit tedious at movie length. The portrayal of the EPA as willing to wipe out whole cities was not the soft despotism Tocqueville described. Complex, textured characters like Ned Flanders, Mt. Burns, and Lisa were flattned out. There were good things about the focus on the "relationship" between Homer and Bart. The satire was, in its way, fair and balanced in the service of minimalist family-values libertarianism, as usual--Families flourish best in the middle of nowhere in Alaska! All in all, nothing like a return to the show at its best.