Evolution, the 2001 movie, I mean, is good escapism. Thinking back on 2001, instead of a space oddessy, another piece of news—another national crisis, in fact, dominated. The film kind of slumbered in the background until we could sort out what it meant to live in, ironically, an unsafe world. That’s precisely what the movie was about. I wasn’t thinking that when I recently pulled it off the shelf. I was simply wanting some fantasy to relieve the daily pressure of living in stress mode. Besides, it has some of the best alien monsters you could hope for in a comedic setting. Soon, however, the parallels began to appear. A source of contamination from outside. A growing threat. A government that doesn’t know what to do and that can’t admit its mistakes. It all seemed eerily familiar. Dr. Allison Reed is even from the CDC.
Life isn’t constant crisis. Funnily enough, when Democrats are in office there seem to be far fewer of these large-scale troubles. “There will be signs,” I guess, “in the sun, moon, and stars.” The thing about signs is that we’ve left the reading of them up to Fundamentalists. And Fundamentalists don’t believe in evolution. Or science. Or modernity. Idealizing medieval thinking does come with a price tag. So I reach for the remote. While the government has lots of money that it spends on its own volition, the crisis grows. The alien menace is set to spread across the country. Although beginning in a different geographical location, all that red on the map sure looked familiar to me. How little has changed in the last two decades. Evolution came out before smartphones even evolved.
Meanwhile, practically unnoticed, the U.S. Navy has been saying UFOs are real. The story, muted and subdued—we’ve got more immediate concerns, such as getting reelected—has been on major reputable media. When they land on the White House lawn we’ll ask the aliens if they have respirators and masks aboard. Preferably the kind with face-shields. In the movie the monsters are aliens. They’re like an infection, and even hazmat suits can’t keep you safe. The solution, of course, isn’t fire-power, but a good shampooing. Now I know you still can’t go to the salon in lots of places, but washing up at home seems to be pretty good advice. We put the movie on for simple escapism, but there’s no escaping the fact that we now live in an alien environment.