The author of this piece is a new resident of ‘Leisure Land’, the setting of Alexander Payne’s new film “Downsizing”, starring Matt Damon, out now in theaters. He tells us his story—a firsthand account of the decline of society and mass genocide that occurred after the movie timeline concluded.
by Anonymous Downsized Person
At first, Leisure Land seemed great.
When shrinking to 0.06% mass became a pop culture craze, I thought why not? Career middle-managers and lonely elderly folks were already doing it. Matt Damon’s character did it, and so did Jason Sudekis’, and Christoph Waltz’. After all, it was a win-win, they told me: restart my life anew, become a millionaire, and save the planet along the way.
The whole place is made out like a doll house village. Amusement parks, trimmed lawns and perfectly paved roads—it’s like Connecticut the 1950’s, except littler. I was driven right to the front door of my own mansion, fitted with marble floors and a golden duvet. I even got my own team of maids. All government-subsidized.
But things quickly started to turn. Here’s the truth; the story of what happened after Matt Damon helped the poor people and found himself along the way. Here’s the story they wouldn’t put on camera…
When I arrived for my first day at my new job, I found I couldn’t do the work. It was the strangest thing: writing, reading, simple arithmetic—everything that came so easily to me before now seemed utterly impossible. It’s like my brain was…smaller…. When I went to check WebMD, I couldn’t find any computers. It turns out mobile computing isn’t possible in Leisure Land, since Moore’s Law prevents high-speed devices from functioning properly on a small enough scale to accommodate the downsized.
I got more accustomed to things after those first few days. I tried dating but it didn’t quite stick—it seems a transformation of body and lifestyle tends to not attract the most beautiful and well-balanced of normal-sized people. I became lonely, so I started buying little-on-big dirty magazines. Most of the headlines in the daily newspaper were about accidental deaths—lacerations from grass blades, death by pebble, etc…
And then, there came the extreme weather: rain.
After the first event, half the town’s residencies had been flooded by puddles. Roofs caved in from the raindrop bombs, and all low-lying areas ceased to exist. We tried picking up the pieces through a community rebuilding effort, which only revealed a larger issue: Leisure Land was functionally bankrupt.
Yes, it turns out that an economy composed only of the super rich can’t actually function that way long-term. When historians write of this time, they’ll note how an insufficient working-class meant lots of rich people were asking for things that nobody was available to make. There was a disenfranchised minority population to exploit, but they were simply too small in relative numbers to sustain the hungry and outsize bourgeois class. All of a sudden the roads didn’t seem so pristine. The (small) dollar imploded.
It was at this point that I and many of the others decided we needed our voices to be heard in Washington. We couldn’t march (being all so small), so we sent a formal decree for basic rights of small communities to Congress. The font was too tiny, so Congress didn’t bother reading it.
And that was only the beginning. During the following election cycle, Congress passed an informal resolution to count small communities as “territories” without voting rights, on account of smaller people requiring “less of a say” in the motions of government. There was nothing left to do but revolt. I joined a radical political clan called “The Napoleon Complex” and we set a very tiny fire outside the walls of our town, which then became a gradually bigger fire, until it was about the size of a fireplace and someone came to pour a bottle of water to wipe it out. The U.S. federal government, in response to our subordination, is now instituting a radical new approach to dealing with small populations: lightly stepping on us until we’re smushed to death.
The takeaway from all this: think twice before committing to Downsizing. It’s a fun but poorly thought-out concept with logical holes, and probably not worth the price of admission.
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