In the George Bush Sr. era, they ruled the Santa Cruz music scene, worked with the real-life ‘more cowbell’ guy and came inches away from becoming rock superstars. Almost two decades later, World Entertainment War is back to launch a new assault on mass media.
The 2006 film Idiocracy depicts a dystopian society of the future in which the movie Ass—a 90-minute close-up of a man’s buttocks, with the occasional fart serving to spice up the plot—wins an Oscar for Best Screenplay, and the most popular show on TV is called Ow! My Balls! (It’s exactly what it sounds like.)
Absurd as this scenario might seem, the bizarre truth is that much of what passes for entertainment in the present day makes the media as depicted in Idiocracy look downright benign. In recent times, we’ve watched game show contestants vie for cash prizes by eating bowls of blended rats on Fear Factor, and we’ve seen Entertainment Weekly praise Jackass—a TV program whose stars captured the public imagination by attaching leeches to their eyeballs, receiving kicks in the groin from children (Ow! My balls!) and taking massive amounts of laxatives in order to poop into toilets that were up for sale—as one of the greatest shows of the past 25 years.