The concept of Parallel Universes, or alternate dimensions and realities, has seeped into popular culture over the past decades. They are colloquially referred to as “bizarro” universes, first referenced in the Superman comics. In short, everything that exists as we know it also exists in infinite other realities but always with a twist. The Wizard of Oz serves as a prime example. Dorothy recognizes each character in Oz as a person from her home in Kansas. What started as science fiction has seeped into conspiracies, religions, and (for the sake of this article) television. I have come to believe in such a theory, and our reality is the dumbest timeline.
The sitcom Community provided a recurring theme of alternate timelines during its six season run. The new timelines began with a single roll of the dice. By putting a small decision to chance, the characters unknowingly (or knowingly in Abed’s case) start six alternate universes where a different number lands and a whole new history unfolds. I can only assume this same instance occurred sometime in the past twenty years or so. How else could we explain the contagious idiocy sweeping through our leadership?
Here are 4 examples of why we live in the dumbest timeline.
Just this past week, Andrew Brenner, a state senator from Ohio, called into a Zoom hearing while driving. The hearing was regarding increasing punishments for distracted driving. Andrew Brenner thought that he could use a photo of his home office as a background filter for the call. Unfortunately for Brenner, the constant looks left and right and the suspicious grey sash across his chest gave away the fact he was not in his home. I am not sure if I should deride the man for so stupidly wearing a seatbelt while trying to pretend to be at home, or applaud him for at least caring for his own personal safety. He may not be watching the road, but at least he’s strapped in!
Another big story in the news regards a Cheney finally getting their political comeuppance. Is the family that helped start the two decades long war in the Middle East, that gave away our personal freedoms to bolster the military, and further strengthened the know-nothing politics of Republicans, finally going to answer for their crimes? Well, more like getting bitten by the monster they created. Wyoming representative Liz Cheney is being reprimanded and possibly ousted from her position and party for telling the truth and protecting democracy. When a Cheney actually has the moral high ground, we’ve got a problem.
The Space Force hasn’t really been in the news recently, but I would be remiss to not talk about the absurdity of their existence. USSF is a superfluous organization created by a failed president who somehow believed adding a new branch of the military would help bolster his chances of reelection. After two decades of war in the Middle East, the last thing voters want is assurances of space imperialism. To make things particularly stupid, they stole their logo from Star Trek.
I can’t be too surprised, we’ve seen this coming. Five years ago, the term “fake news” was used to explain the rampant use of bots pushing right-wing conspiracies on Facebook and Twitter. Within what felt like hours, the term was immediately co-opted by the right to just mean any form of real journalism. The current career cycle of a grifter now directly goes from real estate scams, to reality tv, to national politics. Caitlyn Jenner and Barbara Kavovit are very proud to follow the Trump family’s playbook.
Recent shows like Amazon’s Man in the High Castle and HBO’s Watchmen have taken a historical approach to exploring alternate universes. Both provide new endings for WWII or Vietnam. They show a people and culture the viewer recognizes but with an entirely new historical record. I’d assume other universes check in on us from time to time to see what hilarious turn our universe has taken. This has to be the dumbest timeline.