Triumph of the Gump: Another Reason Why I Hate Forrest Gump (1994)

Triumph of the Gump: Another Reason Why I Hate Forrest Gump (1994)

After I wrote Why I Hate Forrest Gump (1994) with the Heat of a Thousand Suns, I thought I’d written all there was to be said about my feelings about the movie. But then something happened recently that made me want to revisit it in a big way.

2019 marked the 25th anniversary of Forrest Gump. To mark it, there were a flood of articles commemorating its release. But many people didn’t just take a fond, nostalgic look back at the film; they defended it against its detractors. There’s nothing wrong with defending a movie based on the fact that you enjoyed it; the problem is when you start casting aspersions on the critics, or argue that people shouldn’t get hung up on all the legitimately questionable parts of the movie and instead should simply enjoy it on a purely cinematic basis.

As someone who detests the movie with every fiber of my being, I couldn’t just sit idly by in 2019 and keep reading articles along the likes of, “It’s not that the movie has any issues; it’s these darned, meddling ‘woke’ kids,” or, “Everyone in the whole, wide world really loves this film; it’s only these tiny minority of cinema geeks/academic snobs/jerks who enjoy taking down sacred cows.”

No. Hell to the no.

Forrest Gump isn’t suddenly undergoing assault  by an elite minority or a new generation of “woke” millennials. The movie has always had its share of critics right from the very beginning. It’s just that it opened to so much acclaim that the criticism was buried under all the slavish praise. (Ask Pulp Fiction and The Shawshank Redemption fans how much they love Forrest Gump.) Plus, Tom Hanks was at the peak of his career when he made that movie and it was impossible to express how much you hated it; people would just give you the evil eye, call you a troll or dryly ask you how many bodies you had buried in your basement. Because of all this, I had to come back and revisit Forrest Gump to counter the bogus myth being spun that there’s something new or different about the criticism being leveled against this film.

Another reason why I had to revisit the movie was to complain about something I hadn’t talked about in Why I Hate Forrest Gump with the Heat of a Thousand Suns. When I wrote that piece, I hadn’t explored another major criticism that other people have had about the movie, because I didn’t really get where they were coming from. People were upset about the film’s theme of a moron who stumbles his way through life achieving the type of success that most of us can only dream of. I understood what the critics meant in a basic sense, but for me, this was more an issue of clumsy writing. I didn’t see it as anything more than that, so I didn’t understand why this theme was so upsetting to some people.

It wasn’t until 2019 when I finally got why people were so angry. This theme of an idiot with no talent or effort becoming a legendary American hero and icon for us to look up to and admire was just one more expression of the wall-to-wall populist propaganda that is Forrest Gump. But to understand how and why, we first have to look at certain trends that have been emerging in American culture over the years.

America’s Hatred for Meritocracy

What is a meritocracy? It’s a system in which the people with the best qualifications, background and credentials are rewarded with the best positions. For example, a Pulitzer prize-winning author who’s had 30 years writing experience would naturally be chosen as editor of a national magazine over a person whose only experience is her high school newspaper. A talented actress with several great performances under her belt would normally be picked as the lead in a major Hollywood movie over someone whose only experience was playing background extras on TV shows.

Makes sense, right? After all, you wouldn’t want someone without any engineering experience whatsoever to put up 100 story skyscrapers that could fall down as soon as a person farted or someone who has practically no medical credentials performing open heart surgery on your grandmother. By getting the best people for a job, you guarantee that everything is done to the highest standards.

On a much grander scale, by hand picking the best and brightest to be leaders, authority figures and role models, society and even the world at large progresses by leaps and bounds. If you want proof of this, you don’t have to look any further than the United States. In the 20th century, it led the world in everything from technological breakthroughs–like the telephone, computer and airplane–to new forms of art and music, like jazz, swing, Broadway and rock and roll. It even accomplished the unthinkable–landing on the moon. Why? Because it believed in meritocracy. In other words, it went out of its way to find the absolute smartest, most creative, ambitious and bravest people to give the most acclaim and best positions to.

You’d think the United States–which enjoyed the benefits of meritocracy more than any other country–would be the last place on earth to start rejecting it. But that’s ironically what happened. Just as America was at its technological and creative peak with the moon landing, Americans stopped believing in meritocracy. Actually, they did more than stop believing in it. They started hating it. Not only did they start hating it, they began actively rebelling against it. And how? By moving us away from a meritocracy and establishing a “mediocracy.”

How were the Anti-Meritocracy Elite able to turn America from a country that rewarded excellence into one that rewards mediocrity? One of the first things its members did was lower the bar of achievement so that over time, anyone–no matter how mediocre–could attain the fame, success and status that used to only be attainable by the more qualified members of society.

Take Andy Warhol, for example. In the past, only the most extremely talented, beautiful and charismatic could become celebrity royalty. Warhol redefined the rules of celebrity so that anyone could become one. He said that all you had to do was gain the attention of the media and act the part (by surrounding yourself with an entourage, wearing designer clothing and hiring your own paparazzi). Decades later, that very thing has happened. Now any two-bit social media influencer, YouTube idiot and reality TV star can become a celebrity–no talent or charisma necessary.

After Andy Warhol threw down the gauntlet, it’s been downhill ever since. Looking at our culture today, you can see how far we’ve fallen from a meritocracy into a mediocracy. For example:

Once upon a time, you used to have to be the height of chic, beauty and class to be declared a fashion icon and appear on a glossy, high end glossy magazine like Vogue, Harper’s Bazaar or Elle. Now all you have to do is leak a sex video, marry a fool and spread photos of your mutant, surgically-enhanced ass everywhere.

Once upon a time, you used to have to tell jokes and develop a great onstage persona, excellent comedic timing and delivery to be considered a comedy legend. Now all you have to do is make stupid faces on camera while playing video games, ask your legion of 12 year old fans to draw swastikas and be the Alt Right’s little bitch-boy. Boom. Comedy legend.

There was a time in America when you actually had to have a political science background, be erudite and know history and foreign affairs like the back of your hand to be considered a political pundit. Now any smug comedian, two-bit con artist or dumb jock with a podcast can become one.

Queens of Daytime Television used to have distinguished careers in journalism, exude class and be able to talk intelligently about important cultural, political and social issues. Now ghetto trash who’ve made a career out of shit talking celebrities have been become the queens, with nothing going for them other than silicon implants and weaves.

And not too long ago, you used to have raw vocal talent, beauty and class to be a diva and get invited to glamorous high fashion galas. Now all it takes is to be a trashy, inarticulate ex-stripper-turned-rapper.

This is what 40 plus years of Mediocrity has given us–a society in which the least talented, charismatic, intelligent and creative people are given prominence, while the best and brightest are marginalized at best and ignored at worst.

Now given everything I’ve said so far, you’re probably wondering, “What on earth happened?” Why would America turn its back on the very thing that not only made it great, but arguably the greatest country of the 20th century?

The first reason has to do with Americans’ increasing confusion over what “equality” (aka “egalitarianism”) is. Egalitarianism means that everyone should be seen and treated as equal under the law, as well as be given the same opportunities as anyone else, regardless of race, creed, class or handicap.

Over time, Americans went from understanding this to mean,”Everyone should be treated equally regardless of class or background,” to, “Everyone has the right to get the best positions and status, regardless of how unqualified, untalented and inexperienced.” As a result of this confusion, Americans now think that rewarding people based on merit is a form of elitism and therefore against everything that American democracy stands for. Why? Because if only the best and brightest can be rewarded with certain positions, this is going to exclude everyone except a very small group of people. Exclusiveness is seen as elitist, and therefore anti-equality.

Besides confusing meritocracy for elitism, there’s another more human, down to earth reason Americans hate it–narcissism. In America, you are taught that you can be anything that you want to be, and that the sky is the limit in terms of achieving your goals, no matter how far-fetched. This has led millions of people imagining themselves becoming the next Great Big Thing. Unfortunately, not everyone can become the next Elvis Presley, Marilyn Monroe, Muhammad Ali or Stanley Kubrick.  The reason why is that not everyone is talented, ambitious or creative enough to become a great legend. Not everyone, in other words, is that exceptional.

Entire generations of Americans–who were taught to see themselves as equally exceptional–have not been able to accept this idea that they’re not all destined to be stars, icons and heroes. Consequently, when they get passed over in favor of people who are more exceptional than they are, they don’t see it for what it is–that either they’re not good enough or might have to work a little harder to achieve success. They merely turn on the meritocracy out of bitterness, ranting that it’s a rigged system that takes the fame, money and status they deserve and hands it to people who are less deserving.

Honeymooners-Ralph-Alice (2)

A third reason why Americans have turned on meritocracy is economics. Really exceptional people cost greedy individuals and businesses too much money. For example, if you’re a music, movie or television executive who wants to make 98% profit on everything you produce, a brilliant actor, musician or director will take a nice chunk of those profits. The reason why is that someone of that level of talent will naturally want to be paid a lot of money to appear in anything.

What to do to increase your bottom line? Simple: just start signing up mediocre people who will take anything that you give them–the trashy social media star, influencer or idiotic Alt Right YouTube troll. Then, elevate these mediocre pieces of crap to super stardom to create artificial demand for equally mediocre people, so the public no longer wants exceptional writers, singers, musicians, actors or directors who could cost music, TV or movie execs too much money.

streisand-pewdiepie

Now, I know what you’re thinking: now that America has become a mediocracy, we need to start taking names and numbers, starting with delusional snowflakes and working our way up to Big Business. But guess what? Anti-meritocracy runs so deep in American culture that it’s even infected the hallowed halls of academia. Not a day goes by when some academic hack isn’t writing a book convincing everyone how they should hate meritocracy:

This is how far the rabbit hole of anti-meritocracy in America goes, where the very people who benefited the most from meritocracy are also attacking it as being elitist and anti-democratic. Crazy, huh?

America’s Deep-Seated Anti-Intellectualism

There is no doubt that as of 2020, American culture is rife with anti-intellectualism. At best, Americans are suspicious of intelligence and people who possess it. At worst, they absolutely hate it.

Many people assume that this hatred is relatively new, but believe it or not, it spans back for more than half a century. One of the first times it really emerged was in the 1950s, when former Illinois governor Adlai Stevenson ran for president in 1952 and 1956. Stevenson was by all means perfectly qualified (he not only had held political office, his grandfather had served as vice president). There was just one problem. He was smart ‘n stuff–you know, knew lots and lots of big words and lots and lots of other stuff, too. This was a big no-no. The last thing Americans wanted was a college-educated, intelligent man running the show, so the press and Stevenson’s opponents wasted no time smearing Stevenson with the label of “egghead,” which was the 1950s equivalent of “nerd” or “geek.”

Adlai Stevenson, cover of Life Magazine
Adlai Stevenson, cover of Life Magazine

As with the rejection of meritocracy, this hatred of intelligence is bound to boggle most people’s minds. It doesn’t make sense. Why would people hate intelligence? If it weren’t for intelligent people, we’d still be living in the stone age trying to cure cancer by drinking our pee and wondering why we can’t get pregnant from anal sex. How could any culture hate intelligence? But believe it or not, there are several logical explanations behind American’s anti-intellectualism.

The first reason has to do with the hatred of meritocracy. Because Americans see meritocracy as elitist, they see so-called “smart people” as belonging to an exclusive club that likes to keep not-so-smart people out.

A second reason why intellectuals are hated in America is that they’re bad for business. Companies want to be able to do whatever they want to exploit consumers, no matter how vile, unethical or just plain evil. Smart people are the annoying whistle blowers and consumer advocates like Ralph Nader who are constantly putting the kibosh on their latest scheme to market yak semen as soy protein or increase gum sales by adding crack cocaine as one of the main ingredients. So, Big Business sees intelligent people as flies in the ointment always screwing up their bottom line, which is why they have joined the chorus of anti-intellectuals in this country.

There is one last major reason why Americans have rejected intelligence, and it’s because of the same old story–politics.

In every society, intelligence is the enemy of tyranny and evil. The reason why is that you can’t control a well-informed populace. This fact is why one of the first things any totalitarian or fascist government does is clamp down on any informative content or go after so-called “intellectuals.” For example, it might ban books, censor material and jail or send intellectuals (teachers, historians, writers, etc.) to work camps.

In a country like the United States, we can’t resort to these tactics to control people. The reason why is that we’re the Great United States–Home of the Free, Land of the Brave, blah blah blah. Start banning books and jailing smart people, and this would immediately have everyone storming the gates because being a democracy, we don’t do things like that. Maybe Communist China and Russia can do it, but not America the Beautiful. Nah, we’re better than that.

So, elites in the United States, who want to squash knowledge, have a conundrum. They have to do it in a way without going the fascist or Communist route. They have to, in other words, do it on the “down low,” so no one catches on. How can you do that in a country like ours?

Easy–ask Carl Sagan:

Carl Sagan, Dumbing Down of America
Carl Sagan, Dumbing Down of America

Yes, that’s right. To attack knowledge in a sneaky, underhanded way in a so-called “democracy”, you don’t have to ban books, censor content or jail intellectuals. All you have to do is get the mainstream media to stop putting out thought provoking content and start putting out content that promotes stupidity and ignorance. This tactic is what’s been called in the United States as “the dumbing down of America.”

The dumbing down of American society is something that has been happening for a long time, but it really accelerated during the Reagan era in the 1980s. The first thing that the Anti-Intellectual Elite did under Reagan’s direction was eliminate the Fairness Doctrine, a law in which broadcast television were required to always have both sides of a debate on a controversial issue. After this, political programs became a free-for-all, in which people could spout their views all they wanted and not be challenged by the opposition in a debate.

Also around the time, the country started reducing the number of “smart” content, and produced more lowbrow forms of entertainment. On TV, a large number of so-called “trashy” talk shows like Richard Bey, Morton Downey, Jr. and Jerry Springer began flooding the airwaves. This era was also the time when news became overtaken by trashy tabloid-style shows like A Current Affair and TMZ, and we saw news programs focus more on trashy celebrity scandals than important events going on in the country and world.

America’s Anti-Intellectual Elite didn’t just dumb down American culture. It used this same culture to stigmatize smart people and make everyone afraid of becoming intelligent themselves. And how? By using entertainment to create a stereotype that super intelligent people are socially awkward, gawky, unattractive losers. For example, in The Twilight Zone’s famous Time at Last episode, bookworm Henry Bemis is made to look as goofy as possible with huge coke bottle glasses and a silly grin. 

Throughout the 1980s and 1990s, American movies and TV shows further stereotyped smart people by creating the so-called “nerd”, or “geek” archetype, especially on shows aimed at young people. On Family Matters and Saved By the Bell, Screech Powers and Steve Urkel were not only annoying, but the unpopular kids in high school that the cool kids either wouldn’t be caught dead around or if they did, only recruited as useful toadies to help them pass the finals.

The point of these shows was to brainwash millions of American kids and teens into feeling that the worst thing you could be was smart, to tell them, “C’mon–you don’t really want to be smart, do you? If you do, you’ll start looking weird, acting goofy and becoming socially awkward. Worst yet, the other kids will stop hanging out with you and refuse to invite you to their parties. You’ll die a virgin, too. So, don’t be smart! Be dumb. Life will be so much more fun that way!”

Not all the stereotypes of really smart people were entirely negative. For example, The Nutty Professor, Revenge of the Nerds, Head of the Class and the Egghead Jr. Foghorn Leghorn Looney Tunes shorts made it a point of showing that smart people had a valuable place in society. Nevertheless, they reinforced the stereotype of super smart people being clumsy, unfashionable, unpopular and culturally out of step with everyone else.

Okay, so…have you gotten all of this stuff so far? Good. But now you’re probably wondering what in the blue blazes it has to do with the movie, Forrest Gump? If so, I’ll tell you. 

Forrest Gump, Folk Hero of the Mediocracy

When the United States believed in meritocracy, Americans had it ingrained in them that a Great American was someone who was extremely talented, brave, innovative, creative and driven. Movie and TV biopics would be shot; stamps and coins would be made to commemorate their achievements; and holidays would be named in their honor. In school, every kid had at least one book report assignment in which they had to read a biography about a legendary American figure. The point of all this was to get Americans to respect the concept meritocracy, so the country could continue being a technological and creative powerhouse.

Now fast forward to the 1990s. The Mediocracy is in full swing. In a society like this, pushing biopics of exceptionally talented, creative and intelligent American heroes and icons is out of the question. Why? Because it’s all about giving mediocre people their due, about pushing them to the forefront of politics, entertainment, science–everything. Furthermore, doing biopics like this would be reestablishing in America that it’s important to be smart, creative, resourceful and exceptional to get ahead, which is the last thing the Anti-Meritocracy want.

So, what to do? Enter the movie, Forrest Gump. For the first time ever, Americans were not given a historical biopic of a real American icon or hero to look up to. They were given a historical biopic of a fake American icon–a folk hero, if you will. And this fake American hero wasn’t smart (like Albert Einstein), brave (Neil Armstrong), innovative (like Thomas Edison and Henry Ford) or artistic (like Charles Schultz). No, this new version of the Great American was someone of sub-par intelligence and completely devoid of talent and creativity.

Now, granted–this was a tough sell (the idea that a complete moron could become great). Yet somehow, Forrest Gump was able to not only sell it, but convincingly. How? By telling the audiences that you don’t necessarily have to be exceptional or work hard to be incredibly successful in life. In fact, you can be downright mediocre and completely lacking in intelligence, drive and ambition and still be “great.”

It was this message that had so many people blowing a gasket over this film. It’s not only just because it was completely unrealistic. It’s because of how cleverly it turned the concept of meritocracy on its head. To succeed in a meritocracy, you have to be exceptional. You have to be smarter, more creative and talented than most. Forrest Gump said that this wasn’t true, that what you lacked in talent, creativity, ambition and intelligence you could just sidestep through pure dumb luck, divine intervention and parental support. In other words, have destiny, a loving parent telling you how awesome you are and serendipity, and you could be just as iconic and legendary as Neil Armstrong, Henry Ford or Amelia Earhart.

Forrest Gump, a Celebration of Ignorance

Forrest Gump didn’t just celebrate mediocrity. It celebrated stupidity and ignorance. Hell, it championed it. I’m not only talking about stupidity and ignorance in terms of academic learning, but the type of intelligence that makes you aware of the political and social problems around you, as well as sensitive to other people’s plight. This championing is the reason why Forrest keeps getting shown as being blissfully ignorant of all the major issues that were tearing the United States apart throughout the Boomer years, such as the Vietnam War, Civil Rights and AIDs.

Why would Forrest Gump want to champion this type of ignorance? Because in a meritocracy, one of the things you had to possess to achieve success and recognition was conscientiousness. You had to, in other words, care about “issues.” For example, Walt Disney just wasn’t an animator; he was an idealist who dreamed of building the perfect utopian city. Muhammad Ali wasn’t just a boxer; he was an activist who was sensitive to social and political injustices. Buzz Aldrin and Neil Armstrong weren’t just astronauts; they served out of a deep sense of patriotic duty, as well as the desire to help humankind reach the next phase in its evolution.

By having Forrest be blissfully ignorant to the problems around him, the movie was telling audiences that just as it wasn’t important to be creative, skilled or talented to achieve greatness, it wasn’t important to be conscientious, either. If you want to become great, you don’t have to care about things like the environment, poverty, racism or other issues like so many Great Americans of the past did. You don’t even have to care or understand the more human problems that people like Jenny go through, like child abuse, drug addiction and dying of a terminal disease. Your Alfred E. Neuman ass can become rich, famous and iconic, anyway.

Alfred E. Neuman, Mad's Mascot
Alfred E. Neuman, Mad’s Mascot | Credit: memebetter.com

Birth of Snowflake Culture

I absolutely hate subversive movies, and Forrest Gump is one of the most subversive ones out there. Let’s take the early scenes of the movie involving Mama Gump sticking up for Forrest. On the surface, these scenes seem to be about a loving mother protecting a physically disabled, mentally handicapped child from bullies and a cruel society looking down on him as being “less than.”

Fair enough. But then if he’s handicapped and disabled, what is the deal with Mama Gump rejecting the decision to put him in a school for slow children, even going so far as to sleep with a principal to get him in a regular school? Because Mama Gump doesn’t just see Forrest as being “just as good as” anyone else. She sees him as more exceptional than everyone else, and spins all these efforts to get Forrest rehabilitated as people not looking past his obvious deficiencies to see how special he really is.

So, when life tells her the truth–that he isn’t as capable as everyone and needs to be rehabilitated as a result–she sees intervention as nothing more than an evil scheme of the meritocratic elites preventing Forrest from reaching his destiny as a Great American. In other words, it’s not a matter of, “Forrest is handicapped and therefore needs to go to a facility that can accommodate him as a special needs child.” It’s a matter of, “These evil elitist snobs are handicapping Forrest so they can hold him back from achieving greatness!”

Emboldened by her own delusional sense of how great Forrest is, Mama Gump then sees it as her sworn duty as a “loving” mother to thwart any attempts or reminders that tell her how mediocre he is. Part of this maternal duty involves convincing Forrest that his obvious physical and mental limitations don’t matter because he is more exceptional than the people around him, but “in his own way” and in a way they can’t appreciate or understand. Another part of this motherly duty involves “pulling strings” (such as sleeping with school officials) to make sure that he gets into places he has no business getting into.

Now, in the real world, this is just bat shit insane, right? A kid as mentally and physically disabled as Forrest could never thrive in a regular school or anywhere else without being rehabilitated. But in the Forrest Gump universe, Mama Gump’s tenacity works. Thanks to her love, devotion and scheming, a developmentally and physically challenged moron with zero creativity, imagination or drive winds up being 10 times more exceptional than anyone around him in terms of success and status.

By the way, does Mama Gump’s behavior as a mother sound at all remotely familiar in terms of what’s going on with parenting today? It should. If America is having a major “snowflake” problem right now, then Forrest Gump is the movie that gave birth to it and today’s culture of mediocrity its sloppy, messy afterbirth.

Forrest Gump, Snowflake
Caption: memebetter.com

Yes–that’s right. Forrest is the Original Snowflake. This is the character whose story arc gave hope and comfort to parents of extremely mediocre children who would cry themselves to sleep whenever they missed out on all the esteemed awards, opportunities and special recognition their betters were getting. Inspired by Mama Gump, millions of American moms (and in some instances, dads) decided to follow in her footsteps. When faced with their children’s obvious limitations, they simply lied to themselves that it wasn’t that their kids weren’t good enough to win a competition, earn recognition or be rewarded a golden opportunity; it was just their special snowflakes being prevented from achieving greatness by evil snobby elitists.

spongebobparticipationmeme

These wannabe Mama Gumps didn’t just stop there. Like their patron saint, they told their untalented idiot kids over and over again what special snowflakes they were and later greased palms and pulled strings to get their kids into places or opportunities they had no business getting into or earning.

College Admissions Scandal
College Admission Scandal | Credit: Ad Age

So yes, folks, this is the movie that started it all. Forrest Gump is the movie that created Snowflake Culture. Thanks to it, scores of parents since this movie’s release have been looking down at their dumb, illiterate, untalented  brood and saying stuff like, “It’s okay, Kim, Khloe, Kendall and Kourtney. I know you want to be glamorous fashion icons even though you’re all dumb as a box of hammers and have as much class as three dollar hookers. You are great. You are great. You are great. And as God is my witness, I will make you the next fashion icon and get your dumb, untalented, mediocre ass on the cover of Vogue.”

Triumph of the Gump

When I started thinking about this movie again, a nickname kept popping into my head–Triumph of the Gump, in honor of Leni Riefenstahl’s Triumph of the Will. In case you don’t know, Triumph of the Will was a boring-ass propaganda film from 1935 that covered Adolph Hitler and his Nazi minions holding rallies in Nuremberg in 1934. Even though it’s a boring, coma-inducing slog, it’s noteworthy, because this was the film that marked a turning point in German history and culture.

See, before that movie, Germany was regarded as the height of Western civilization. The reason why is that it produced so many legendary historical figures–thinkers like Immanuel Kant, Nietzsche and Schopenhauer; musical composers like Beethoven, Wagner and Schumann; revolutionaries like Martin Luther; writers like Herman Hesse; artists like Käthe Kollwitz; and scientists like Albert Einstein.

Triumph of the Will recorded the exact moment when Germans finally decided to ditch their centuries-worth of brilliant thinkers, artists, writers, scientists and philosophers in favor of a bunch of goose-stepping douche bags with an inferiority complex. This is the film that historians are able to pinpoint when it all went wrong for the Germans, when Germany finally fell from grace as world-class country that everyone admired and became one the most disgraced countries in modern history.

If Triumph of the Will marked a turning point–and downturn–in German culture, then Forrest Gump marked the turning point–and downturn–in American culture. This is the movie that fifty years from now, historians will nod their heads at and go, “Yup, 1994 was the year. That was the year when America officially transitioned from 1) country that could land people on the moon to 2) a place where everyone thinks that cheddar cheese comes from dick cheese, that it’s just an opinion that 2+2=4, and that it was the Japanese Germans who bombed Pearl Bailey Jam Vision Center aw, fuck it, they bombed something; anyone got any Tide Pods? I’m famished!”

So, yeah, fuck Triumph of the Gump. It was a piece of populist propaganda then; it was a piece of populist propaganda now. No amount of revisionist history about how people are “suddenly” hating it today is going to change the fact that right from the beginning, people saw through its cynical “Chicken Soup for the Soul” bullshit.

And if some of you still don’t understand why this movie is hated,  look at the trashy, untalented morons who are being elevated to icon status, are being hailed as “geniuses”, “legends”, “fashion icons”, “divas”, “role models”, compared to who used to be called that. Look at the con artists, washed up centerfolds, dumb jocks, moronic celebrities and comics who are being regarded as political pundits and sages. Look around you, and you will see why Forrest Gump is being hated, and why to my dying day, I will never stop hating it with the heat of a thousand suns.

Addendum

Here are two contemporary articles slamming Forrest Gump the year after it came out. This is to counter the lie being perpetuated by fans that the criticism of the movie today is something “new.” Don’t they wish.

  1. Ignorance And Bliss Hollywood Is Cashing In On Anti-Intellectualism With Movies That Exalt Stupidity And Stigmatize Intelligence (Jan. 15, 1995)–Caryn James, New York Times
  2. Forrest Gump: A Subversive Movie: Is There Really Nothing Wrong with Being Stupid? (July 1, 1995)–Aeon Skoble, FEE

11 thoughts on “Triumph of the Gump: Another Reason Why I Hate Forrest Gump (1994)

  1. Love how much you’ve bashed Forrest Gump and yet, you haven’t even mentioned the bad visual effects xD.

    As a Pulitzer-Prize treatise on American history and a character, the movie indeed fails. For me, the lack of depth in the topics it covers (Vietnam, AIDS, Watergate, child abuse, drugs, hippies) really sinks it.

    As straight-up entertainment? Not bad honestly.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. The lack of depth was purposeful. The whole point of glossing over everything was to downplay the historical significance of those events and the people behind them. In a different rant about this film, I talk about how much of the movie was historical revisionism as an answer to the romanticism surrounding the so-called Baby Boomer years.

      The TLDR version of that rant is that Forrest Gump is a Rightwing reactionary film trying to destroy the legacy of the Baby Boomers by peddling an alternate historical version in which their accomplishments were written off and the entire period was dominated by the accomplishments of an imaginary Rightwing All American folk hero: https://filmsdeconstructed.wordpress.com/2017/06/26/why-i-hate-forrest-gump-with-the-heat-of-a-thousand-suns/.

      Like

      1. Yes, I have read that rant. I’m just merely saying that I don’t love the film either, but for sort-of-different reasons. It treats all the historical moments depicted with a light touch. Still don’t hate it, but I do get why many people do.

        On a scale of 1-5, I’d give it a 2.5 maybe.

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  2. I truly appreciate your perspective and the amount of time and effort you put into writing this. I do find it interesting that your intense “hate” of this film makes me think you may have missed the true, heartfelt and perhaps the true intent/message that was brilliantly delivered. Hate is exactly the opposite feeling this movie helped me to see. I am not a religious person in any way, but Forrest Gump gave me a current day guide in the way we need to love and care about ALL people in our own lives. Forrest seemed to care little about money or politics, but simply showed us the most important part of life, LOVE. None of today’s/yesterday’s biases/prejudices or opinions entered his life in any way… not racism, sexism, xenophobia or any form of hatred affected his actions in life. Forrest was always content and happy with whatever hand he was dealt in life, even though it was clear that others’ attitudes or opinions did leave him wanting more. Not more of any of the unimportant little things in life like money or politics, but simply love. Yes, we can learn a lot from these actions and I do not feel any of this was political or belittling of class decisions so many others seem to make in life. If a simple southern man from Alabama can so easily learn the most simple form of love, why not me too?

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  3. I haven’t seen the movie in 20 years, but wasn’t Forest an autistic, world-class ping-pong player prodigy?

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    1. I’m unsure of what you mean by this question. Forrest Gump becomes a prodigy because one of the key aspects of the movie’s narrative is that he is a “Mary Sue” who is either at the center of every major milestone or pop cultural event in Baby Boomer history, or eclipses the achievements of notable figures at that time. So, Forrest is made into a “prodigy” because ping-pong was one of those cultural phenomenons that defined the Boomer years (it was huge in the 1970s) and he had to be shoe-horned into it somehow as a legendary player.

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      1. I think Rune is trying to say that by being a world class ping pong prodigy he is not in fact part of the mediocracy that you’re ranting about.

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      2. Yes, it would make him part of the mediocracy, because making a big deal out of a grown man becoming a ping pong “prodigy” is setting a low bar in terms of personal accomplishment. In real life, ping pong prodigies were all children and young teens. So, what is to be admired about a grown adult accomplishing what people half his age were doing on a regular basis?

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  4. Spot on! Loved your article.
    It seems to happen all over the world, and that humanity is moving towards a future like the one portrayed in the movie “Idiocracy”.

    A week ago I wondered what if Steve Jobs have done the “Think different” commercial today? Who the great people will be? Some idiot YouTuber? Someone from “the Kardashian’s”?

    The question is what we can do about it?

    Liked by 1 person

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