Troop Zero

During my stay on Amazon Prime, mostly watching old seasons of Stargate SG-1, the website was insistently promoting a newer Amazon production called Troop Zero. So, I finally watched it.

Troop Zero is unconvincingly set in the South of the late 1970s, when Jimmy Carter was President and NASA was preparing to send out Voyagers 1 and 2, both of which included a “golden record.” The protagonist, a girl named Christmas Flint, hears about the NASA project to record children’s voices for the record and decides to become a Birdie scout so she can have a shot at getting her message to “them out there.”

As is common in modern stories, particularly comedies, every important character is portrayed as in some way dysfunctional. For the purposes of the story, all characters fall into two groups: the mean, strangely gifted, but emotionally stupid colonizers, and the kind – and so, oppressed – normal folk. In the context of their tiny town, Wiggly, they somehow get along with each other. But the oppressed are crippled in various ways that make them “losers” while the colonizers are crippled in ways that make them “winners.”

Christmas’ troop includes three broken little girls, one made permanently antagonistic by some unknown turn of fate in her past, another made permanently angry and destructive, another, with one bad eye, who is a devout Christian but is scared of everybody, along with a little boy (Joseph) who likes to act like a girl. Christmas’ father is a lawyer, failed because he prefers to defend poor people who are guilty of petty crimes. His office assistant wanted to be a lawyer but let her career be derailed by getting mixed up with some sort of pervert. Their best friend is a kleptomaniac.

The story conveys a sort of Jungian inevitability in life, relieved only by momentary and usually failed attempts to break out of it and retake control. These themes are very obvious in Western (particularly U.S.) literature and art today and I think deserve more attention, which I might venture to qualify as loving attention.

Who wrote this story?

The movie was directed by Bert and Bertie and written by Lucy Alibar. Bert and Bertie are a female team of writer/directors. Bert’s “real” name is Amber Finlayson. She was born in South Africa and operates out of the UK. Bertie’s real name is Katie Ellwood, and she is from the UK. They are both young, fairly new on the scene, and are a part of why this film is the way it is. Lucy is a young American woman who grew up in Florida. The story is a little bit autobiographical.

These young women post very little about themselves and their influences on their websites. Lean and mean.

Lucy did interviews after her big film release Beasts of the Southern Wild. She is a very smart woman who has been into theater for a long time. She has been working out of New York where she used to work as a waitress until she became better-known as a writer. She seems quite sane. Dad was a lawyer, mom an artist. She isn’t cool with social media and she likes to do yoga.

Bert and Bertie have also done interviews. They are into “magical realism” and the idea of misfits having the moral high ground, or at least being more interesting than regular folks. In the interview I saw, the young star made this point emphatically. This is a big deal for her generation, a really big deal.

People need love

When I was growing up my parents described themselves to me as “misfits” because they were liberal atheists. Then I was a “misfit” for refusing to go to college, learn to drive, get married, and stay away from Scientology. So, where was the love? And now our kids are up in arms because the same shit is still there and doesn’t seem to be getting any better, and they have no idea how to cope, because if we learned, we forgot to tell them. But I think most of us never learned. We need to love our kids.

We are in a situation now where we are experiencing some setbacks as the forces of good and evil battle for domination over our planet. (I know that sounds over-dramatic, but it is almost literally true!)

My generation, and those a little older than me, came up through a very easy and prosperous time for the West, while it sent its agents out raping and pillaging around the rest of the world. Now we are getting some of that “karma” back and we are acting all confused. We didn’t prepare our sons and daughters for this (We didn’t believe in karma! Too unscientific!) and now they don’t know what to tell their sons and daughters. So we have the wackos who have been predicting this the whole time now controlling the narrative, basically, and we don’t like it.

So, like, where’s the love? Does is really take a Buddha or a Jesus or a Hubbard to remind us that we need to love our neighbors? Well, maybe is does.

While the Right rants on about Critical Race Theory and the Left rants on about how “fascist” the “colonizers” have become, the real sociopaths sit back and lick their chops. We can either learn to show some love and understanding over what’s been going down on this planet, or we can fight to the death.

Which would you prefer? I know which choice the sociopaths would prefer!

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