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Editorial Cartoon: Alabama and IVF
Editorial Cartoon: Alabama and IVF
Published March 1, 2024

“Don’t Look Up” Is Quickly Becoming Our Reality

Netflix’s biggest budget film’s allegory to climate change and “Trumpism” perfectly resembles where we are at in the world today.

If you haven’t seen Netflix’s original “Don’t Look Up,” I suggest you close out of your browser, turn on your television and start watching it right now. Not only does the film feature an iconic cast, but “Don’t Look Up” also hits way too close to home. Despite being filled with satirical humor, it truly captures the mortifying state of the world with an allegory to the battle of climate change, political corruption and inaction, the problematic role of money and elites in politics and the media.

Upon further reflection, I realized that nearly every character or idea within this film resembles a certain component of everything wrong in modern society to some degree.

The primary issue was clear from start to finish: in place of the issue of climate change, they use a comet to serve as a symbol that represents, in a sense, the “inevitable” end of the world. When scientists in the film discover an astronomical comet headed directly towards earth, they quickly take action and alert officials and people across the country. However, the response the issue received was nothing short of disturbing and perfectly captures where many in power stand today: A state of complete inaction. Scientists have warned us countless times that climate change is real, and is a growing threat to the mere existence of life on this planet if action is not taken. The public and political response to the incoming comet was horrifically the same. Much like in real life, we have the political cult-like mentality that turns universal issues into partisan issues and causes a complete state of inaction. In the film, the “Don’t Look Up” movement perfectly resembled the “Make America Great Again” ideology.

When the problem was discovered, the scientists quickly recognize the threat of mass destruction and death that the comet would cause if not dealt with. However, when informing political figures of this issue, they choose to conceal the existence and threat of the comet to avoid bad publicity before the upcoming election cycle. However, when they find it to their advantage to take action, they do. This only begins to touch on the political corruption that exists in our current system. Consistently, political figures have notoriously withheld information from the public. Look at Trump’s failure to recognize the threat of COVID-19 for months on end, or other politicians cashing out stock before “disaster” struck.

The corruption within politics runs deep, and in the United States specifically, powerful elites and wealthy figures majorly influence what agendas are fulfilled, and what agendas are disregarded and deemed unimportant. Within the film, we witness this countless times through a character resembling elite and wealthy figures, like Mark Zuckerberg of Facebook and Elon Musk of Tesla. Despite not having any “official” power, this character has such a major impact on the course of the film because of his wealth influencing major political decisions and acts very selfishly to become more wealthy. In turn, this creates more inaction and showcases the capitalistic nature that continues to feed into the destruction of our planet and, in my opinion, empathy.

However, politicians and the massively wealthy are not the only ones to blame: the media plays an enormous role in both the film and in real life. Modern-day media covers what is trendy, as exemplified by the pop star played by Ariana Grande in the film. Instead of broadcasting issues that are truly important to the world, they instead fill the news up with petty commentary and useless celebrity gossip that truly means nothing in the long run. However, they do this because that is what people want to hear. In modern media, everything is centered around likes, clicks and shares. Since climate change is, apparently, less significant than a celebrity breakup or the latest celebrity couple on the scene, the news does not cover it as extensively because that isn’t what brings media conglomerates money.

Overall, I feel that “Don’t Look Up” was a perfect representation of the state of the world we are in today. If we do not act on this issue that we have known about for years, we may never get the chance to stop, or at least minimize, the detrimental effects of climate change. The film expresses this in a completely heartbreaking, yet satirical way that left me stunned and reflective. I believe that everyone should watch this film to reflect on what we, and the generations before us, have done to this planet, recognize the beauty and life that exists here and react to the issue that will destroy it.

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  • A Gopher
    Jan 28, 2022 at 10:44 am

    He uses the term “allegory” so it’s not a literal stand-in for the comet, but more of a symbol of our current situation. I think the whole problem is politicizing knowledge for one’s own agenda. It’s also difficult to get 7 billion or so people to agree to any one course of action. It’s best to think for yourself, but also understand what the experts are saying and what data they are pulling their conclusions from. Those who blindly say never trust X source or never listen to Y person usually follow other, less reputable sources, blindly so it’s pretty hypocritical behavior in the end.

  • UMN0001
    Jan 27, 2022 at 1:24 pm

    Gavin, you are an idiot.

    A comet from deep space for which nothing can actually be done (except in the wildly fictional idea that we can send rockets to blow it to pieces) has nothing to do with climate change as a result of action/inaction.

    Its also interesting that you associate the “don’t look up” movement with trump, yet he (and those who support him) aren’t generally the ones focused on being an “influencer”, social media, celebrities, facebook, etc. Many would argue those on the left are simple robots of the media and government and question nothing when even this current administration is full of corruption.