Man of the Year is one of Robin Williams’ more underrated movies in my estimation. Good Morning Vietnam is entertaining but half-asses its messages and pulls its punches when it comes to America’s involvement in Vietnam and good people doing treacherous things whether for a valid and worthwhile cause or not. The Vietnamese boy bombs a US Army café yes, but isn’t that minor compared to all the innocent lives destroyed by American troops in a war that America had no justification for fighting in? There’s also the sheer brilliance that is the masterpiece of The Fisher King but I’ll write an entirely separate essay on the work.
Man of the Year is a movie that’s entirely unashamed to be a Progressive Left-of-centre movie but never needs to blatantly state that it is. Robin Williams plays a type of John Stewart, Bill Maher news comic who decides he’s tired of Government corruption namely private interests deciding policy rather than what is in the best interest of the American people. Though he is a comedian (or very-likely because he is a comedian) he at-first tries to battle the pro status-quo conventional Republican and Democrat buy playing their own game, but then comes to the realization to fight for a genuine change in American politics he must himself be entirely genuine and candor; rather than giving the standard family-values “I love me some Jesus” bullshit we get out of average politicians who focus more on campaigning and bamboozling the American people rather than legislating on their behalf. And here we see a major flaw with Representative Democracy, but I’m going to refrain from critiquing said system for now and further flesh out the plot so I can bring to life the analogy of the film fully.
He surprisingly wins the election and shows that he’s a sincerely dedicated individual to the good of the American people – however he later finds that to act on the behalf of the American people would be to live a lie. For the system that allowed his victory over the standard Conservative politicians was a system error, and very-likely few Progressives voted for him because they’re defeatist and rationalize that they need to vote Democrat (though they realize that the Democrats are almost as Right-wing and corrupt as the Republicans, and won’t bring about real improvement in any substantive or significant way) rather than voting for say the Green Party (a real Left-wing party that believes in Left-wing values) or in this case the true Progressive Dobbs – this is my own analysis and isn’t present in the film though is fairly obvious to infer if this movie is meant to depict modern American politics accurately. He steps down from his position of President-elect because he would rather stay true to his belief in honesty and sincerity than act out a lie for a grand cause. Such is this movies critique of Plato’s Noble Lie and Representative Democracy as a hole. The fact that him, a good and decent man who would fight against corporate interests and fight for the quality of life and opportunity of every human being to advance themselves would be actually elected into office is a lie, a impossibility - not only because of the nature of the Capitalists' interest in politics, but of the nature and essence of authority (having leaders run society rather than individuals collectively) itself regardless of the more "benign governance" that we see in more Progressive Liberal Democracies.
Throughout the centuries, religions, Governments and various philosophies have either explicitly stated or implicitly implied in their actions and sentiments that it is better to delude one’s self and believe a happy falsehood rather than to embrace reality as it is. The most obvious example being in the book of Genesis with Adam and Eve, God essentially plays the role of the Wizard of Oz, and by telling the two to not partake of the Tree of Knowledge essentially voices the sentiment: pay no attention to the man behind the curtain! This disgusting mentality that the average human being cannot be allowed freedom or apprehension of reality, because one cannot “handle the truth” is something we see in essence in the very core of hierarchy and authority – such sentiment is brilliantly portrayed in Orwell’s 1984, and as such I won’t spend much time fleshing out what is already apparent to the half-way intelligent.
One of the major developments the average individual most make in the contemporary world is acknowledging that the Noble Lie of either belief in God or Representative Democracy is relegating the functioning of societies and our very depiction of reality (due-to the nature of authority requiring propaganda among other reasons) to others and therefore to be slightly superfluous we relinquish reality, our significant involvement and attachment to it and even for most an accurate portrayal to it to those who can never have our best interests at heart and in-fact when one views the history of Christianity (and all other religions, particularly the Abrahamic ones), Government and Capitalism we see something that psychologically is aware from the get-go that reasoning faculties, independence and high standards of living is not something to be allowed. For luxury is one of the greatest threats to mysticism, authority and even Hedonism, for a man who lives in an age of basic well-being will naturally have his more intellectual qualities flourish rather than being trampled upon and thusly retreating to the liquor bottle or whore house which is paradoxically the case in more impoverished conservative societies of religious sentiment – seen in Winston in 1984 going to the Prole District to have sex with a prostitute which seems to be a fairly common and acceptable practice in Oceania, despite the fact that it is explicitly forbidden (though because there are no laws in Oceania all actions can be technically forbidden at a moment’s notice), the real crime being the mere existence of independence or original thought.
However, the film is primarily analogous to the understanding of Representative Democracy being a lie through the idea of both a noble leader who will instruct (yet somehow represent the common views of the American people which is an obvious contradiction that those who are suffering from American Leader-worship have yet to come to terms with) America in a moral sense and in terms of administration or utility. The idea of the need of “moral leaders” and “pillars of the community” is an antiquated and harmful notion that essentially is quasi-Hobbsian in nature in saying that a type of State (whether it be an actual representative of the Government, a priest, pope, or businessman) is necessary to save human beings from their natural nature of moral “anarchy” or in other words Hedonism and Nihilism. Of course when one views such sentiments closely, the more authoritarian and puritan a Nation becomes, the more moral nihilism is tolerated, vindicated, authorized and commanded usually in the name of some high moral code either of God, Government or Profit Motive.
Human beings naturally have some basic understanding of right-and-wrong, or at the very-least can be easily taught what is in most cases a fairly simple moral code of moral universals and the Non-Aggression Principle which all systems of hierarchy and management defile every moment of every day, so it is clear (I’m being brief with this point due-to it being a repeating theme in my essays) that we must not subject ourselves or learn morality as a grand sacrifice of self-interest or reason, but simply to act with a type of fairness, kindness and degree of shared sacrifice that one may be astonished how little the burdens of such things are and how bountiful the fruits of basic moral action in the private and public sense will inevitably be.
But not only do we sacrifice the world of ethics and moral sentiment to crooks and thugs when we surrender our independence and reason; we sacrifice our right of operation of resources in our own communities and dull our sense of priority, consequence and basic reasoning and morality in the process. For when we allow Capitalists and Governments to do our jobs and perform our responsibilities for us, we voluntarily surrender not only every realm of life but large portions of ourselves, what it means to be humans, to these demons who we call our leaders.
To reiterate, in-terms of physical realities and moral truths, as well as both independence and mutual cooperation and respect of all those in our community, it is not to embrace the force-authorizing and insulting view of Plato’s Noble Lie, instead we must have the simple honesty and integrity to look at reality as it is, so we may both come to terms with the truth (both what we can change and what we cannot) and have the slightest hope of changing it – instead humanity is full of cowardice and fear, choosing to hunch one’s self, nay, obliterate one’s self in the effort to push unpleasant realities under the rug while apathy, hatred and suffering accumulate, and our Dark Gods who have punished us for our loyalty grow fat from the marrow of our bones.