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Ted K – Political Film Society

Ted K

Ted K IS ABOUT THE UNABOMBER’S LIFE IN A SMALL MONTANA TOWN

The “Unabomber,” Ted Kacznski (played by Sharlto Copley), was responsible for 3 deaths and 23 injured because he felt that he had a mission to disrupt how the Industrial Revolution was proceeding toward a time when humans would rely on the rationality of robots to the point that they inevitably would control humans. Born in Chicago, he grew up with parents who did not get along. As a child, he developed hives and was hospitalized in isolation for months. From his teens, he failed to attract women. With a high IQ, he enrolled in Harvard for a BA degree at age 16, and he received a doctorate in mathematics from the University of Michigan at age 25. After 2 years of teaching at UC Berkeley, he quit in 1969, and bought property in 1971 near rural Lincoln, Montana. The film shows how he lives a quiet, self-sufficient life in a small cabin surrounded by nature. Although he finds support for his views among some Montanans, he is deeply annoyed by the sound of motorbikes, overhead aircraft, mining companies polluting streams, and a lumber company that cuts down trees. (Loud classical music and the song Lonely accompany some of his activities.) To take revenge against many, in 1978 he learns how to make bombs, sends them by mail, and enjoys the publicity generated by his terrorism. Meanwhile, he is writing a book, Industrial Society and Its Future. He promises to stop sending bombs if his book will be published. When the Washington Post editor agrees to do so in 1995, his brother recognizes his writing and reports him to the FBI. At the end of the film, he is arrested (in 1996) and is committed to the maximum federal prison in Colorado, though later he was transferred to a prison in North Carolina for health reasons. Directed by Tony Scott, the purpose of Ted K is to explain why he became the Unabomber, using words from his writing. But one obvious takeaway is a validation of research on who are the most loyal Trumpians—single males alienated from modern life and disconnected from civil society.  MH

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