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Independence Day was the highest-grossing film of 1996 and has become a classic of action and science fiction cinema. Some of its scenes are part of the collective imagination, such as the blue laser beam completely destroying the White House. But there is a small detail in this film, perhaps not so well remembered, that relates it to the present beyond the date of July 4th.
When we think of the movie Independence Day, the characters of the intrepid pilot played by Will Smith, the courageous president played by Bill Pullman, and the scientist played by Jeff Goldblum immediately come to mind.
However, there is another character, not so well remembered — but much loved by those who do, — who deserves a special vindication in these times. Not only because of the heroism he shows in the film, but also because of the unfair treatment he is given by his colleagues, which has disturbing similarities with what is happening to some personalities in today’s world.
I am making reference to the Vietnam War veteran pilot played by Randy Quaid, who sacrifices his life to save his family and the world. Russell Casse — that’s his name in the movie — is a veteran abandoned by his government and a drunk. He is the town’s madman, mocked by everyone for claiming that he had been abducted by aliens to conduct experiments on him.
He was a laughing stock and not even his own children — for whom he would later sacrifice his own life — respected him. Russell Casse was a victim of what in the 1990s was the equivalent of today’s cancel culture.
The film’s detail regarding this character that overwhelmed me is hidden behind one of Independence Day‘s many comic scenes. It may go unnoticed, but if you stop to reflect, it bears a disturbing relationship to many of the social behaviors of today’s world.
After humanity is close to annihilation, after the whole world has seen and suffered the large-scale attacks by aliens, and after the small group of protagonists have witnessed the government hiding alien specimens captured years before in Area 51, when Russell Casse volunteers to pilot the last desperate attack against the invasion, everyone laughs at him because he insists he is doing it as revenge for his abduction years before.
Independence Day and its parallelis with the cancel culture
What this shows is that once a person is stigmatized, society is programmed to continue to disdain them, against all evidence in their favor. What else would have had to happen for them to stop making fun of him? What else would the aliens have had to do to at least give him the benefit of the doubt and consider that maybe he was right and wasn’t lying despite his apparent eccentricity?
Sadly, this same thing has been happening over the last few years in varying degrees of intensity with people like Alex Jones, Joe Rogan, Dr. Malone, Jordan Peterson, or Donald Trump and Elon Musk themselves.
The progressive media have opted for “character assassination,” stigmatizing them because they go against the narrative that the left is trying to impose. Once they have been cancelled and singled out, no matter what happens and no matter what evidence emerges about what they have been denouncing. Society, unfamiliar with critical and independent thinking, will continue to keep them in a sort of mental quarantine.
I trust that, bearing in mind this nuance, a timely review of Independence Day to celebrate the 4th of July will serve to vindicate critical and independent thinking and free us from some of the prejudices that the progressive media have tried to foist on many of its critics.
Ignacio Manuel García Medina, Business Management teacher. Artist and lecturer specialized in Popular Culture for various platforms. Presenter of the program "Pop Libertario" for the Juan de Mariana Institute. Lives in the Canary Islands, Spain // Ignacio M. García Medina es profesor de Gestión de Empresas. Es miembro del Instituto Juan de Mariana y conferenciante especializado en Cultura Popular e ideas de la Libertad.
Social Networks: @ignaciomgm