In April of 2016 -- before America had even thrown itself full tilt into North-Korea-baiting, white-supremacist-rallying lunacy -- scientists and a general gathering of geniuses got together to try and figure out if humankind as we know it is actually just living in a Matrix-like computer simulation for the amusement of a greater entity.
Most astro of the physicists, Neil deGrasse Tyson, acted as moderator at the Isaac Asimov Memorial Debate and, at one point, expressed the belief that the chances of "everything in our lives [being] just a creation of some other entity for their entertainment” was "very high."
In February, the New Yorker suggested that, based on the insane last five minutes of the Oscars this year (La La Land! Moonlight!), not only are we living in a simulation, that simulation is broken. “This idea was, I’m told, put forward first and most forcibly by the N.Y.U. philosopher David Chalmers," Adam Gopnik wrote. "What is happening lately, he says, is support for the hypothesis that we are living in a computer simulation and that something has recently gone haywire within it. The people or machines or aliens who are supposed to be running our lives are having some kind of breakdown. There’s a glitch, and we are in it.”
Well, Mr. deGrasse Tyson, Mr Gopnik, and all of their philosophy and science cohorts can relax now, because the events of this last weekend confirm that we are, in fact, living in a computer simulation and it is, indeed, malfunctioning. Over the weekend, it all became clear: all that is supposed to be beautiful has been made ugly. All that is supposed to be safe, predictable, and vacuous has gone dark and surreal.
Let's consider the evidence.
First of all, luxurious Spanish fashion house, Balenciaga, decided that these $795 sneakers would be a perfectly reasonable thing to add to their collection, despite looking like Sketchers from a factory in a parallel universe, where the machinery is broken and nobody cares:
Then, at the Miss America pageant -- and let's be honest, the fact that pageants still exist in 2017 is bizarro in and of itself -- the contestants started revolting. Miss Texas (yes, TEXAS!) refused to waffle her way neutrally through a tough question, and ended up, to the enormous delight of the audience, criticizing the way Trump reacted to Charlottesville:
It was Miss North Dakota that won the grand prize in the end, and she too had some words for our President. Asked about whether or not Trump should have withdrawn from the Paris climate accord, Ms. ND replied: "It's a bad decision. There is evidence that climate change is existing, and we need to be at that table." Later in the evening, she said: "Miss America needs to have an opinion, and she needs to know what's happening in the current climate."
Miss America just got real, yo. Which makes perfect sense when you line it up with this interview that Jim Carrey did at the Harper's Bazaar's Icons Party, in which he states that, actually, nothing is real.
"I don't believe you exist," Carrey told the remarkably resilient E! reporter. "I believe we're a field of energy dancing for itself, and I don't care." And then, acting as a malfunctioning simulation whistleblower, Carrey said: "There is no me. There's just things happening."
Yet another confirmation that humankind is the mere plaything of distant overlords came on Saturday with Nicholas Cage's new movie, Mom and Dad. imdb describes the film thusly: "A teenage girl and her little brother must survive a wild 24 hours during which a mass hysteria of unknown origins causes parents to turn violently on their own kids."
Film critic Matt Singer had this to say:
So there we have it. In just one weekend, we have all of the proof that we need that (a) We are in the Matrix and (b) It has a really nasty virus that means celebrity events can now prompt existential crises, fashion designers can now produce outright ugliness, and beauty pageants make more political sense than the leader of the free world.
Adam Gopnik said it best in his New Yorker article: "We seem to be living within a kind of adolescent rebellion on the part of the controllers of the video game we’re trapped in, who are doing this for their strange idea of fun... They’re fiddling with our knobs, and nobody knows the end."
Except, perhaps, for Jim Carrey.