I have been working on a film script to counter claims that the WAAGNFNP unfairly concentrates on nuclear destruction over other forms of apocalypse. A précis follows. [I have the idea pretty well fleshed out, but am looking for some help from readers on a few details.]
Working title: Triumph of the Snark.
The movie, set in the indeterminate future, starts with an unnamed narrator (later in the movie we hear him referred to as “Doc”) describing the cynical and barren life that he lives in a cramped underground city: What would you do if you were stuck in one place and every day was exactly the same, and nothing that you did mattered? That about sums it up for me. There is nothing of beauty in this city, the residents (who sarcastically refer to themselves as Morlocks, and the city itself as Turgidsonville) are mean, spiteful, rude and condescending. Most spend their days online, trading acerbic barbs and ridiculing anyone who advances any positive agenda for change. A great catastrophic event in the past is hinted at, and the viewer at first assumes that it refers to some manner of nuclear, ecological, or epidemiological disaster. Instead, it is revealed that people were merely driven underground by their own perverse thoughts, their insistence that anything “nice” or “cheery” was bad - a “New Nihilism” had swept the world, sapping people’s will to live and reproduce, and leaving a small embittered remnant ensconced in their digitally-enabled tombs.
Doc’s job as an electrical engineer takes him to the surface on occasion to look after the power grid. The surface is a pleasant enough place - though it is evident that Doc himself is utterly unimpressed with it. There are a smattering of automated farms and mines providing raw materials for factories producing mass quantities of Mountain Dew, junk food, electronic components and other essentials. Working on the surface one winter day, Doc is drawn away from the solar grid he is repairing by a vision of a giant rabbit who tells him that “death will come from the sky” in 28 days, 6 hours, 42 minutes and 12 seconds. Following the vision causes him to miss being crushed by a falling jet engine that lands precisely where he had been working. Nearby he finds an injured teenager lying in the snow, mumbling Schlachthof Fünf over and over again. Doc brings him home, and although the boy can only remember his name - Donnie McLightly - he has a relentlessly cheerful nature which proves infectious. Inspired by the song Mr. Blue Sky from a CD Donnie finds in his pocket, he convinces Doc to help him form a club which he calls Electric Light Orchestra Illuminati (ELOI) club. Tapping a hidden, seething vein of optimism in Turgidsonville, the club soon grows in number, despite what seem to be self-limiting set of rules.
The first rule of ELOI club is that you do not blog about ELOI club.
The second rule of ELOI club is that you do not blog about ELOI club.
If this is your first day at ELOI club, you have to logoff and go topside.
Progress is slow however, and the prophesy of doom from the giant rabbit begins weighing heavily on Doc’s mind. He has been woking on a method to use the Internet Tubes to send someone back in time, and in a frenzy of twisted paradoxical thinking characterized by faulty logic and jumped conclusions, he and Donnie convince themselves that if one of them travels back in time and derails the New Nihilism from developing in the first place, they can both improve their current world and forestall the prophecy. After studying ancient Internet Archives, they focus on a group calling themselves the WAAGNFNP as the likely cause of all the trouble. Donnie volunteers to go back, and after some initial misadventures which result in the creation of the prototypical usenet newbie B1FF , as well as Milli Vanilli. Donnie finally infiltrates the WAAGNFNP using the pseudonym JP Stormcrow. Upon realizing that they are not responsible for the cynicism and nihilism that later come to dominate the world, he blogs the following message:
Forget about the WAAGNFNP — they didn’t do it. It was a mistake. Someone else did it before the Internet was invented. The WAAGNFNP are just a bunch of people goofing around on blogs. It already existed!
Seeing that any attempt to stop the onset of the “Great Cynicism” is doomed, he casts about for an alternative. Following in the tradition of Moses and other
charlatans visionary leaders, he pulls something completely out of his ass, and decides instead to identify the “Twelve Mementos of Sweetness and Light”, which if brought back to the future will reverse the iron grip of nihilism… and who knows. maybe even forestall the prophesied doom.
Possessing but a limited imagination, he writes a blog post as JP Stormcrow in which he creates a proposed list of the twelve items under the pretext that they are part of a non-nuclear, but apocalyptic movie script he is developing. He asks readers for suggestions for even more powerful totems of sweetness and light. His intial list reads:
Chicken Soup for the Soul
Tuesdays with Morrie or The Five People You Meet in Heaven (or maybe just Mitch Albom’s brain)
Jonathan Livingston Seagull
Field of Dreams
A Smiley face
I “Heart” anything but NY
a have a nice day sign
Seasons in the Sun
Tie a Yellow Ribbon Round the Ole Oak Tree
and a picture of Dogs playing Poker.
He is intitially foiled in his attempts to brings the mementos back to the future. Powerful “Good Taste” filters installed at some later time on the Internet do not allow them to be transmitted digitally, and the limited nature of Internet interfaces of that time only allow him to transmit his own body to the future via Doc’s time travel method. In a moment of inspiration, he has all of the words, music and pictures tattooed onto his skin. However, when he returns, the grotesque appearance of his heavily tatooed body repulses the other members of ELOI club. In a shattering final scene, during which it is revealed that Donnie McLightly and “Doc” are one and the same person, Donnie/Doc is driven away by the ELOI chanting The medium is the message! The medium is the message! Still not completely acclimated to the perils of topside life, they unwittingly chase him out on to a highway, where suddenly everyone is run over by a robotruck carrying Cheetos that has been hijacked by a cyborg from even further in the future who has traveled back in time to kill John Connor’s mother.
So you heard the man. Please endorse, disparage or improve upon the list of mementos with ever more powerful totems of sweetness and light. Also feel free to comment upon other sundry details such as possible casting. (Personally I think going back in time and kidnapping Brad Pitt when he was still a hunk, would be appropriate for the Donnie/JP Stormcrow character.) Have fun with it, follow your whims and don’t feel constrained by necessity, reason, or principle (it’s almost like there is some specific word to describe what I am trying to convey, but I just can’t think of it.)
…oh and can I guarantee that ending? I guarantee it.
Responses to “We Are All Twelve Mementos Club Now”