In the 1973 classic science fiction movie “Soylent Green,” the audience is treated to a dystopian view of a crowded, hot future in which people riot for food, a substance in short supply and produced entirely by one company, the Soylent Corporation. Real food is available only to the wealthiest.
Soylent Green is a newly developed food wafer purportedly derived from the ocean, algae-based and deep green in color. While the origin of the better-established sister products Soylent Blue and Soylent Yellow is not elaborated upon in the film, the shocking reveal of the movie comes in the protagonist's words: “The oceans are dying; Soylent Green is people.”
From this single, horrific line we are taught that when the situation calls for it and the hunger is too great, the powers that be will turn to an otherwise untapped food source: people.
Cannibalism is a longtime tradition in some parts of the world, though frowned upon for various moral and public health reasons. In some primitive communities, eating all or a portion of a loved one or relative is a form of homage.
In revisiting the notion of what might have formed the caloric and nutrient basis for Soylent Yellow and Blue, recent events suggest that Soylent Blue might have been made entirely from Democrats so they could unwittingly have a steady diet of their own upon which to snack.
There is some early indication of this tendency, as it seems that San Diego Democrats, when faced with a 70-year old mayor and former congressman whose proclivity for awkward advances toward women while imbued with the power of office, caused them to recoil in horror and vociferously call for his resignation, in effect, to forcibly devour their own.
In this behavior there is a tinge of “Casablanca,” when Captain Renault hypocritically announces: “I'm shocked, shocked to find gambling going on in this establishment!” Shock is followed immediately by humility when the croupier informs Renault: "Your winnings, sir."
Where were these women and denouncers in earlier times? It seems that when it is difficult to speak out and warn the public that a member of Congress is a rascal, there is no stomach for it, but when it is politically convenient, then there is no shortage of aghast victims willing to speak out against the tyranny of power.
But what were they protecting by not speaking out? Frankly, the quality of political knave has not improved, but the vigilance of the public and press has declined considerably as we tolerate more and more truly bad behavior, while we descend with pitchforks in hand to rid the public of minor offenders whose offenses rile some social mores or the politically correct among us.
As for Mayor Filner and his decision to resign Aug. 30, 2013, this was the best approach for any elections that follow, as the option of a recall producing scads of candidates and an even more rascally victor becoming mayor with a mere 20 or 25 percent of the vote would have many wistfully thinking back to the “good ol’ Filner days.”
Not willing to go gracefully, Filner decided to make his last stand at the public podium, rebuking the council for participating in his unwarranted downfall, cheered on by his supporters. This was no Alamo or battle to the death or heroic Guadalcanal sacrifice, but more like the destruction of one’s own labors as in the imaginary bridge on the River Kwai. The cause of his downfall, according to Filner: awkwardness and hubris. There was a defiant-teen quality to this approach, but it seemed a fitting end.
Now we will be treated for the next few months to the candidacies of some of the same people who called for Filner’s resignation. Indeed, among the City Council sit prospective candidates for mayor, sizing up their political fortunes even as they voted on the settlement of the mayor’s legal bills to enable his resignation agreement to take effect. Then there was DeMaio’s “selfless” financial contribution to the recall effort. This should be fun and interesting.
More importantly, we will once again be regaled with stories and rumors of misbehavior. My favorite of late is the DeMaio-Hueso mensroom interaction, in which DeMaio is purportedly caught red-handed by Hueso. Read elsewhere for the details, as my sense of social mores prevents me momentarily from fleshing out the circumstances.
Soylent Blue, anyone?
Coffey is an attorney based in San Diego. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. Comments may be published as Letters to the Editor.