Ever wonder what a disgruntled, former Disney Imagineer does when his severance ends and his half-finished sexbot lies in a trash can outside The Hall of Presidents? Me neither. If, however, you find an animatronic George Washington—sans dentures—and a beardless Abraham Lincoln, call Jonathan Nolan, the co-creator of HBO’s “Westworld.” Ask him to wax philosophical, so you may see what happens when this Geppetto of CGI takes 800 micrograms of California Sunshine while trying to recite “The Portable Nietzsche.” Or you can read this excerpt from Entertainment Weekly in which Nolan labels humanity a “f—g disaster.”
Alas, we cannot blame a bad trip for bad commentary by yet another fan of God’s obituarist. Not when psychedelics would make Nolan sound more profound than profoundly boring. Not when what I imply, in jest, others can infer, in reality; that the hint of acid in Nolan’s remarks is political, not pharmacological; that he is not the first—and far from the last—to say: “Thou art weighed in the balances, and art found wanting, a—hole.”
More shocking is Nolan’s shock at some flaw in our code. He recoils at the imperfectability of man, based on his reading of history. He is depressed not at the familiarity of our problems but at our failure to solve them; that he alone has the answers not to what plagues us but to why the plague exists in the first place; that there is a fatal error in our collective algorithm, resulting in the perpetuation of mass fatalities; that, after having surveyed the worst elements of human nature, this director-cum-deity—armed with an antique megaphone and a slate clapboard—has yelled Cut!; that he has chosen to reshoot his movie with cartoon characters instead of live actors.
If Nolan were less impressed at his less-than-impressive observations, he would be more likely to acknowledge that his version of purity is someone else’s vision of pure horror. Unless his reading list includes the one book whose parables are prophetic, not because the words are divine, but because the points are transcendent—unless he substitutes the Hollywood bible of The Hollywood Reporter for the actual Bible, he will not understand the greatest story ever told.
Woe to Jonathan Nolan and his warehouse of robots.