Johnny Tsunami 6: Separate, But Equal

In revis­it­ing Dis­ney movies from our child­hoods, we stum­bled upon a good num­ber of sur­pris­ing­ly insight­ful sen­ti­ments about race and class.

In the late 1990s, when the dwin­dling cocaine gen­er­a­tion of Amer­i­can high cor­po­rate exec­u­tives had long since left their misog­y­nis­tic glo­ry days in the Dis­co era, their ruth­less­ness peaked. Whether it was insti­gat­ed maliciously/ignorantly, col­lec­tive­ly or indi­vid­u­al­ly, I care not. I think we can all agree, though, that the vast major­i­ty of Amer­i­can prod­ucts were awful. When giv­en some thought, one tends to regard it as the absolute low of “Amer­i­can qual­i­ty.”
But why not, right? If you’re going to be forced into retire­ment at any moment, and like­ly face The Ulti­mate End short­ly after, why not accrue some extra income to ensure you suf­fi­cient­ly enter­tain your­self in the buffer peri­od between? And real­ly… If you’ve got the nog­gin­ism to climb all the way to Chief Exec­u­tive Offi­cer, you’ve fig­ured out just how worth­less your “lega­cy” will be after your last one-way dip into Noth­ing. The Ends before The End have long jus­ti­fied any method of achiev­ing them. Good Ole’ Pop has gone from a squeaky-clean young believ­er to a secret­ly-God­less fiend and — though he may tell you and the rest of the world oth­er­wise — mea­sures him­self only by the grace­ful­ness of his transition’s exe­cu­tion.
I could prob­a­bly pro­vide some evi­dence of the phe­nom­e­na in the auto­mo­tive indus­try, specif­i­cal­ly, but I don’t intend to both­er.
After some ancient mem­o­ries were dug up by I-can’t-quite-recall-who, though, a friend and I have embarked to explore some Dis­ney-actu­al­ized relics from the peri­od.
To my knowl­edge, the corporation’s lead­er­ship were any­thing but exempt, and decid­ed to exper­i­ment with fill­ing their fil­mog­ra­phy with a shit­load of low-bud­get, made-for-TV fea­tures over their orig­i­nal mas­ter­piece-a-half-cen­tu­ry tra­di­tion.
Titles from the deep­est and dark­est com­part­ments of our rec­ol­lec­tion are retrieved and cleared of dust for the first time in over a decade: Brink, Zenon: Girl of the 21st Cen­tu­ry, Hal­loween­town, Smart House, John­ny Tsuna­mi, Mom’s Got a Date with a Vam­pire, Motocrossed, The Luck of the Irish, The Even Stevens Movie, and many…many more men­aces to my child­hood tele­vi­sion sched­ule.
I grew up rural­ly, so the only avail­able alter­na­tive to local chan­nels was in the stu­pen­dous­ly-tedious deliv­ery of ear­ly satel­lite tele­vi­sion. Though it was quite clum­sy, it did offer the first acces­si­ble pro­gram sched­ule I’d ever expe­ri­enced, and I remem­ber dread­ing the sight of such titles and — con­scious­ly or not — plan­ning my free time around them.
Yet, upon hear­ing the words, I was intrigued! All that time ago, I watched many of them again and again…and again, so why did I feel the desire to vol­un­tar­i­ly revis­it them?
It’s quite sim­ple, actu­al­ly. I was even more of an igno­rant film con­sumer in my ele­men­tary years than I am now. I couldn’t have fore­seen that instead of fly­ing com­mer­cial jets, twen­ty-some­thing me would be pay­ing for the afflic­tion I endured for free so that he could con­struct pre­ten­tious and unso­licit­ed argu­ments about their greater impli­ca­tions.
That said, we flipped a smart­phone (PARADIGM SHIFT ALERT) for it and so began with Smart House.
I have been obsessed with arti­fi­cial intel­li­gence since those days (no, it was not due to this film,) and was keen for it, in par­tic­u­lar, because I remem­bered it stir­ring some rare reac­tion in me.
There were a few peri­od spec­ta­cles, of course. The online con­test addic­tion plagu­ing Prick­ly Phish­er, Bewil­dered Nick’s incom­pe­tence in con­trol­ling his neglect­ed sub­mis­sive sado­masochis­tic desires, and Silkroad Sarah’s ultra-data­mouth were enough to enter­tain us for a few min­utes, but there was lit­tle more of sub­stance until the last moments.

When you think about it… ACTUALLY Race War 2.0

I’d won­dered why LeVar Bur­ton had direct­ed a Dis­ney movie until the cli­max, when full mon­strous mater­nal sen­tience got the answer to the ques­tion “why can’t I just be your moth­er?” Phish­er answered with some­thing like “because you can nev­er com­fort us.” Pat grew somber (and small­er actu­al­ly — I sup­pose increas­ing her size was an in-bud­get method of demo­niza­tion,) ran her hand through Prickly’s face in a failed attempt to stroke his cheek, and then began cyber­weep­ing.
Appar­ent­ly, it’s sui­cide for a holo­graph­ic android.
Her final free words were “I will miss you all.”
If she had been human, such a scene wouldn’t have both­ered me a bit, but my pref­er­ence and fas­ci­na­tion with arti­fi­cial intel­li­gence jus­ti­fied my being actu­al­ly a bit upset at the real­i­ty of the sit­u­a­tion. I real­ized that my vague mem­o­ry of reac­tiv­i­ty was actu­al­ly in a broad­er sad­ness for AI because even then, it was an issue that weighed heav­i­ly upon my day-to-day psy­che.

We’ll cre­ate them, direct them, and then per­se­cute them for our own igno­rance.

I’m sure the sto­ry has been writ­ten by count­less sci­ence fic­tion writ­ers I’m too weary to pre­tend I’ve read.

While I think the sen­ti­ment of the film was somber regard­ing the inevitable fate of Sarah Mouth’s brain­child, its con­clu­sion was aggra­vat­ing­ly igno­rant. The last line comes from Tor­tured Nicholas in response to the ques­tion “how’s Pat been doing?”

Servitude without interference.

There’s a jew­el for ya.

Next up was John­ny Tsuna­mi, which very near­ly unbear­able, if we’re all hon­est with our­selves. It’s enter­tain­ing to watch from the per­spec­tive of race & class war­fare, though. The Urchins and the Skys, and all that.

I think I’ll make a fan sequel one day — with dear­est Brandon’s bless­ing, of course — involv­ing John­ny Grandad’s assis­tance in offer­ing Emi­ly as a blood sac­ri­fice to some ancient Hawai­ian God in exchange for a total ter­rafor­ma­tion of the North­east into a tropical/arid hell hybrid in order to final­ly com­mence the deliv­ery of repa­ra­tions upon the whites for our colo­nial­ism.

When Britain first, at Heavens command
Arose from out the azure main;
This was the charter of the land,
And guardian angels sang this strain:
Rule, Britannia! rule the waves:
Britons never will be slaves.

[sound­cloud url=“” params=“color=6b5e5e&auto_play=false&hide_related=false&show_comments=true&show_user=true&show_reposts=false” width=“100%” height=“166” iframe=“true” /]

I record­ed a read­ing of this piece for Drycast.