On Time Travel
by James Seidler


In films ranging from The Terminator to Terminator 3: Rise of the Machines, Hollywood has dedicated itself to spreading the message that time travel is more likely to provoke killer robots than it is to help us prevent JFK’s assassination, especially since JFK may have been a killer robot himself.

This is noble work; the day we forget the threat posed by killer robots is the day we cease to be a free people. Still, in focusing so much energy on our murderous mechanical brethren Hollywood has neglected to emphasize some of the lesser threats of time travel, an oversight I hope this column will help to correct.

Perhaps the most apparent overlooked threat posed by time travel is its assault on people’s logic. Take the Terminator movies. In the first Terminator, John Connor sends his own father, Reese, back in time to protect his mother, Sarah Connor, thereby ensuring his own existence by making sure she gets good and knocked up. Unfortunately, it’s never clear how the hell John Connor existed in the first place to send his “dad” back in time, although I imagine the answer coincides with the last guy who slept with Sarah Connor lucking out on a lifetime of child support.

The problems only multiply in the second movie. During the course of Terminator 2 it becomes clear that an evil corporation has acquired the Terminator technology that will eventually lead to the machines taking over. This all leads to the tearful finale where Arnold Schwarzenegger lowers himself into a vat of molten steel to destroy the last remaining technology, ensuring that the horrors of the future will never occur. This ignores the fact that THE WHOLE FRIGGING MOVIE JUST HAPPENED.

If the Terminator had really been destroyed, then the carnage of the past two movies would wink out of existence, along with John Connor. Sarah Connor would rematerialize as a fat housewife who collects angel figurines in Orange County, and I would’ve have blown $8 more of my paper route earnings on comic books, which may have tipped the nerd balance over to me being a lifelong virgin. The consequences of time travel are not to be underestimated.

Another issue with time travel is that you need a PhD. from MIT to figure out whether or not an ill-timed sneeze will result in a future where Old Dirty Bastard is the chairman of the Parents Music Resource Center. The ramifications of messing with the past were explored in Ashton Kutcher’s recent movie The Butterfly Effect. The film revolves around Kutcher manipulating history in pursuit of a pre-menopausal Demi Moore, only to end up being anally raped in prison when his interventions go drastically wrong. A cautionary tale indeed: if Ashton Kutcher can’t handle the rigors of time travel, what hope do the rest of us have?

Perhaps the biggest risk of time travel is that, as Back to the Future taught us, your mom will want to have sex with you. Simply put, this isn’t a risk worth taking, unless you believe it was your time traveling self that impregnated your mom in the first place, in which case you’re a sick bastard.

What’s truly worrisome, however, is that Hollywood has failed to produce a movie warning of the dangers of self-paternity through time travel. To fill this potentially dangerous gap, I am currently soliciting producers for my screenplay, Like Father, Like Son.

If you want to do your part to fight this scourge, please contact james@flymf.com about giving me money. Remember, donating money to this project isn’t just an investment in me. It’s an investment in the future.


© 2004 James Seidler, All Rights Reserved
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