Replying to Universal Leader about “Tim and Eric’s Billion Dollar Movie”

Universal Leader writes: If you think their movie, which is mostly about poop, is some grand sociopolitical statement, then you’ve been trolled.

I reply: If you think their movie is mostly about poop then you’re a propagandist.

Since I’m probably being trolled (by you, not by the movie) I won’t explain your propaganda in great depth, but here’s a major problem with the “mostly about poop” theory:

There’s no reason to make a movie about poop. Noone has made a (serious) movie about poop – for example, South Park includes poop when applicable in whatever they are discussing – when it’s important to the subject matter. Likewise with Tim and Eric. It is fair to say that an 8 year old boy who picks up a video camera for the first time might actually make a movie about poop. Adults do not and to propose that artists such as Tim and Eric would do so is absurd.

For Tim and Eric, the poop in question is a metaphor for the degradation and humiliation of modern humans.

Let’s look at the larger issue here however in terms of why you are treating the movie as “about poop”.

By “about poop” what you are really saying is that the film is meaningless – that it has no meaning, that it’s simply nonsense, it’s absurd, no meaning can be attributed to it. Hence it’s “about poop” – about something with no worthwhile meaning.

This belief is ridiculous at face value (for example, why would Tim and Eric select the specific sequence of events they did, why would they look pointedly at the camera at the end of the film, etc. etc.). According to you, the seeming meaning is merely an illusion and the film has no meaning, or at least no meaning worth discussing. So for you Diamond Jim is merely being Mr. Meanie Pants toward Johnny Depp, or maybe the sparkly diamonds look cool, or whatever other juvenile meaning might be attributed to the scene.

This brings to mind Fukuyama’s “End of History”, a theory that states (with logical additions) that global capitalism might as well become totalitarian because there is no alternative now, capitalism has won the grand war for dominance over human history and humans might as well just bow down and drink the slop they are fed.

Since we’ve reached the “end of history”, so the theory goes, there is no longer any meaning in reality since meaning is created by a desire for change and tension – obviously there is no longer any desire for change or any tension, according to the theory.

So especially movies which are meaningful, which are transgressive and challenge the status quo, ESPECIALLY those movies must be made to be meaningless, must be “about poop” so to speak.

It is precisely movies like the one we are discussing, the most dangerous modern movies, which must be shrugged off and laughed off as meaningless, in order to convince everyone that they are.

During the Cold War the battle was not between ideologies as is commonly believed, but between two large economic powers vying for global dominance. The bigger fish ate the smaller fish and now there’s only the one fish, with everyone living in the belly (in a horrific hierarchy).

All of us to varying degrees want to cut open the belly, get out, and breathe fresh air for the first time in our lives. Some of us, like Tim Heidecker and Eric Wareheim, make art that expresses our desires.

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