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The Misanthropy of Wild Wild Country

Still from “Wild, Wild Country” (Netflix).

Sometimes a great work comes along to confirm total hatred of the human race, purest misanthropy, a vision that realizes the finest thing at last is to toss aside the humans and go to the forest, hug the trees, make love to the earth, listen to the pollinators buzz – what remains of them (as Robert Hunziker has been reporting here) – and forget the ambitious lunatic called the wise ape.

Such a work – I’m loathe to say it – is on Netflix, and it’s called Wild Wild Country.  It’s about diverse shithead Homo sapiens in conflict over religion, one mass of imbeciles packed against another mass.   Diversity indeed.  There are no heroes – which makes it beautiful and true; not one person who is likable in the entire documentary.   I rooted throughout for the death of all parties.  But alas, they still live, as does the civilization that produced them.  As portrayed by the directors, humanity is a lost cause, an aggressive deluded raging narcissistic tribalist creepathon.

But this is good, the testament in favor of misanthropy.   We need more of it in the age when Man thinks himself tops and planetary manager, when the pollinators buzz out and disappear, when the diversity of life forms will soon only be a vague memory and all we will have are stories of our pitiful human selves reflected in digital mirrors.   Modern technological humans, vain, wanton, grasping, gimmicky, deserve only contempt.

I’ll tell you in briefest terms the plot of Wild Wild Country: a two-bit sex-guru from India who commands a following of thousands of rich bourgeois dupes and who fetishizes diamond watches, Rolls-Royces, and weird shiny clothing buys a ranch in eastern Oregon and comes into conflict with the sub-cretin rancher bigot culture there.  Eastern capitalist Buddha-fake meets repressed dickless cowboys in the Western outback.  The local Oregonians, neighbors to the sex guru’s commune, freak out when people within a hundred miles have multiple orgasms, while the climaxing invaders at the commune dress all in red and do whatever the guru says.   One groupthink against the other’s.

Like I said, no heroes.  Kudos to the directors of the film, Chaplain and Maclain Way, brothers, for leaving viewers with the feeling that humans are prejudiced conformist sheep.  I love films like this.  There’s no mandatory hope tacked onto the ending.

On the other hand, it brings me back to the fundamental ideal of human relations: only the one-on-one counts for anything.  Mass movements are the enemy of truth.  There is no group meaning.  There are no groups.  There is only the aloneness and togetherness when you face the Other as an individual in the meeting in the forest where hopefully the pollinators fly still.

 

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Christopher Ketcham is the author of the forthcoming “This Land: How Cowboys, Capitalism and Corruption are Ruining the American West,” out in July 2019 from Viking-Penguin.  He can be reached at cketcham99@mindspring.com.

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