Paul A. Ibbetson
A return to the Planet of the Apes
By Paul A. Ibbetson
October 2, 2009

"It's a mad house, a mad house!" These were the words shouted from the lips of Charlton Heston in the 1968 movie release, Planet of the Apes. Heston, who played the character of astronaut George Taylor, found himself in a future Earth where apes ruled the land and humans, and their past culture, were considered evil taboo. Ah, science fiction, such a wondrous escape from reality, right? What happens when fiction and reality begin to overlap? What happens when they become one and the same?

Before I begin to share why I believe this country is going to the apes (self-deserved destruction), which I am sure will make the fur fly among many who would falsely infer my assessment is focused somehow on race, instead of policy, and accuse me of crossing into the forbidden zone, let's look at the overall message that the Planet of the Apes movies tried to convey. As with all movies, there are many messages, both subtle — and not so subtle, that make their way from the screen to the viewer. Some messages strike a person right off and some, like a time released capsule, take a while to reach a point of full effect. Despite some hippie-residue of the cultural time in which the movies were made, I think some fundamentally important messages rang out from the grotesque gorilla governed ground in which the character Taylor would fight to survive. The most important enduring message is that if we abuse what we have (our power, authority, tradition, and yes our country — if not world) we will not only find ourselves running in chaos amongst the freaks, but that we will also deserve to be caught up in the nets of our own demise.

That's really the deep seated message of relevance to understand, the comparisons of the upside-down ape world of the big screen and today are unfortunately too easy to provide. Take but a moment to look around you and it won't take long to see the deadly preparation for chaos that is unfolding from every corner of this country. The United States has elected a president in Barack Obama, who when not busy fomenting racial conflict among the people who voted him into the most powerful position in the world, works with every ounce of his strength to destabilize the traditional pillars of this country. This same president invites the apocalypse worthy of the Ape World by emasculating the United States through ill conceived military weakness in foreign assemblies, such as the United Nations. I can only shake my head in frustration as this show of weakness is swiftly spat upon by villains, such as Iran's dictator Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, on the floor of the U.N. Assembly. In fact, just as the cult of the doomsday bomb worshippers knelt in reverence to an intercontinental missile (termed the Divine Bomb) in Beneath The Planet of the Apes, today, zealots such as Ahmadinejad reach out in wild-eyed salivation to grasp and wield nuclear cleansing fire against the none-believer.

It's almost impossible to focus on impending destruction from afar with the domestic clamor of criminal activities from ACORN, politicians committing personal scandals as if it's a race, and the bird-like sing-song chants of personal allegiance by public school children to Barack Obama as lord and savior. As if that were not the limit, TEA Party goers are completely de-humanized by the government when they say to an overbearing socialistic administration, "Take your stinking paws off me!" Who among the non-lobotomized left in this country is not shouting aloud (or within), "It's a mad house!" I ask you now?

The humans in the Planet of the Apes movies that Taylor and company discovered had lost their ability to speak and subsequently it was a precursor to additional hardship and abuse for everyone. This is not so different from the here and now, as, at times, the American people do the same (remain silent at their own peril) by way of their busy lives and self induced apathy. The Planet of the Apes was a world of repetitious pain and anguish and a subliminal note, at the least, of a destiny of doom for humanity. However, after painting an extremely bleak picture, watchers are given a ray of hope in that viewers are told this is only one potential future among many. I would say that this is true for America and the world in general today. We Americans, and the world, are truly watching a return to the planet of the apes (chaos and destruction), but as bleak as this reality is, we are still the architects of our future and with that there is hope, and the possibility of redemption.

© Paul A. Ibbetson


The views expressed by RenewAmerica columnists are their own and do not necessarily reflect the position of RenewAmerica or its affiliates.
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Paul A. Ibbetson

Dr. Paul A. Ibbetson is a former Chief of Police of Cherryvale, Kansas, and member of the Montgomery County Drug Task Force. Paul received his Bachelor's and Master's degree in Criminal Justice at Wichita State University, and his PhD. in sociology at Kansas State University. Paul is the author of several books and is also the radio host of the Kansas Broadcasting Association's 2008, 2009, 2010, and 2011 award winning, Conscience of Kansas airing across the state. Visit his website at For interviews or questions, please contact


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