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Crazy Pills

Crazy Pills

It’s not denial. I’m just selective about the reality I accept.” – Bill Watterson

In the brilliantly funny 2001 film Zoolander, Ben Stiller plays a past-his-prime male model named Derek Zoolander. As the plot unfolds, Zoolander is unknowingly groomed and brainwashed by evil fashion designer Jacobim Mugatu (played by Will Ferrell) to assassinate the newly elected prime minister of Malaysia. The prime minister campaigned on a platform of raising the country’s minimum wage and ending child labor – thereby threatening the profitability of the fashion industry – and must be eliminated. Mugatu judges Zoolander to be just dim-witted enough for the task.

The movie is absurd and yet so well executed that it works. The sheer number of derivative memes you can find on Reddit and in the Twitterverse pay tribute to its many memorable scenes. One meme stands out from the rest and serves as an apt expression of the spectacle we’re scratching our feathers over today. Zoolander proclaims to have developed three signature looks: “Ferrari,” “Blue Steel,” and “Le Tigre.” GQ astutely describes them as being completely identical, with “a raised brow, pursed lips and the misguided confidence that everyone knows the difference between them.” After observing the crowd’s adoring reaction to Zoolander’s latest flash of Blue Steel on the runway an exacerbated Mugatu explodes, “They’re all the same face! Doesn’t anyone notice this?! I feel like I’m taking crazy pills!!!

We sympathize with Mugatu’s lament, observing our political class translate its deep misunderstanding of energy into an equally haphazard set of economic sanctions levied against Russia, totally unaware that they are expressing the same ridiculous face at every opportunity. Before proceeding, we should note that pointing out the flaws in the West’s war response is not “pro-Putin,” nor is it “unpatriotic” as some propagandists on Twitter would have you believe…

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