Like the snows of yesteryear, the cultural objects of the past melt away from the collective consciousness of the public. Luckily, the ephemeral nature of pop culture doesn't apply to modern classics like the 1999 sci-fi action film The Matrix. One indication of its ongoing resonance is the new GE commercial. In it, Hugo Weaving reclaims his most famous role as Agent Smith to coolly laud GE's new line of industrial electronics as "something that intrigues me."
But perhaps an even better example is this adorable viral video, in which some guy has his mom watch the Matrix and summarize it in her own words.
Ironically, hilariously, this poorly-remembered cliff note of the highly influential action film is the perfect testament to the film's staying power. In it we hear the guy, YouTube's very own Pixelspersecond, giggle uncontrollably as his mom whiffs at synopsizing the Wachowski brothers' seminal masterwork. She repeatedly mistakes Morpheus's name as "Moshimo." The geekdom that The Matrix incenses and its polar opposite are effectively juxatposed. Morpheus, who is essentially an ass-kicking philosophy lesson, a hodge-podge of existential and metaphysical concepts personified, brings high-minded concepts of consciousness to light. Nobody really knows what Cornel West is talking about half the time, but if you are not brought to comic-con level obsession over Morpheus, you must be somebody's adorable mother.
Still, at a pedestrian level, even Pixelper’s mom got the basic conflict of the struggle between man and machine, or as she put it: "Neo must beat out the Matrix."
This viral video should have imitators. Maybe I should force my great-auntie to watch and explain Inception, or get a bunch of grannies to brief me on the finer points of David Fincher's Seven. The greater good is at stake, people. Moreover, I think we should show our elders all of our generation's finer things, and then have them explain it back to us. I think our parents would be good students to our mad, mad, world of Twitters and Tweeters and Insta-what-have-yous if only we gave them a fighting chance. God knows we haven't called in ages.