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The Secretary Of Labor–Brought To You By Carl’s Jr.–Is Our Latest “Idiocracy” Moment

The universe is trolling us.

The Secretary Of Labor–Brought To You By Carl’s Jr.–Is Our Latest “Idiocracy” Moment
Idiocracy, 2006 [Photo & Video: courtesy of 20th Century Fox]

Idiocracy is a documentary now” seems like the sort of snarky, smug, over-trodden line that people tend to think about when they decry the “elitism” of liberals. Back in October, Mike Judge–the film’s writer/director–talked to Co.Create about the new life the movie has taken on in the age of Trump, explaining that while it may not be a documentary, people invoke it because, “I think it gives you a go-to, one-word buzzword to sum all this up.”

As of today, it does more than just give you a buzzword, though. There’ve been parallels between Idiocracy and real life since the film came out (it predicted the popularity of Crocs!), but the most on-the-nose case of life imitating the film came today, as President-Elect Trump announced his pick to head the Department of Labor–Carl’s Jr. CEO Andy Puzder.

In the film, Carl’s Jr. is referenced several times. There’s a scene in the film in which Luke Wilson’s character visits a location, which is fully automated–something that has piqued Puzder’s interest in the past. (After Judge talked about that scene with Co.Create, the company reached out to declare that they’d never discussed the anti-labor idea, although Puzder did tell Business Insider that “I want to try it” after visiting the automated chain Eatsa.) Later in the film, after Wilson’s character is asked to join the U.S. Cabinet, the Secretary of State introduces each of his fellow cabinet members with “Brought to you by Carl’s Jr.” (“Cuz they pay me every time, dumbass!”). The fact that the actual U.S. Secretary of Labor will now be brought to us by Carl’s Jr.? It’s the sort of uncanny prescience that could only be matched by, say, a pro wrestling magnate appointed to a Cabinet-level position. (Oh, wait . . .)

Idiocracy aside, Puzder is likely to fit in well alongside Trump. When you’ve got a President-Elect who rates women on a 10-point scale, it’s hard to be shocked by a Secretary of Labor who defended Carl’s Jr. ads that feature scantily clad models fellating cheeseburgers by issuing a press release that says, “We believe in putting hot models in our commercials, because ugly ones don’t sell burgers” and explaining that “we target hungry guys, and we get young kids that want to be young hungry guys.” Although that’s a sentiment that would fit in well with both the Trump administration and the Dwayne Elizondo Mountain Dew Herbert Camacho administration, so maybe the Idiocracy parallels go beyond the coincidence involving the specific brand.

About the author

Dan Solomon lives in Austin with his wife and his dog. He's written about music for MTV and Spin, sports for Sports Illustrated, and pop culture for Vulture and the AV Club.