a photo from The Matrix Resurrections showing morpheus handing neo a red pill

Warner Bros./YouTube

Please stop using ‘The Matrix’ as an excuse for bad behavior

We’re tired. 


Tiffany Kelly

Internet Culture

Posted on Jan 14, 2023   Updated on Jan 17, 2023, 6:43 am CST

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Influencer Logan Paul was in the news twice this week; the first time, it was about his former pet pig being abandoned, and the second time, it was for his take on The Matrix.

The latter led to yet another round of discourse about the 1999 sci-fi film by the Wachowski sisters. “The matrix is real. pray you never become its target,” Paul wrote in a Jan. 10 tweet. The tweet was immediately mocked, especially because it doesn’t fit into what the movie is actually about.

“I hated the matrix movie and for years I’ve tried to figure out why. It just clicked. It’s not the movie, it’s the f***ing losers who think the movie is about them facing consequences for their own actions,” wrote Laura Shortridge-Scott (@DiscordianKitty) in response to the tweet.

“The matrix hates it when you do crypto scams, run sex trafficking rings & abuse animals,” tweeted @shaun_vids

The Matrix franchise depicts a future dystopian world where humans are plugged into a simulation known as the Matrix. In the nearly 25 years since the first film was released, certain elements have been co-opted by groups, including conspiracy theorists and men’s rights activists.

Phrases like “red-pilled” or “pilled” have turned into buzzwords within these groups—whose followers believe the movie is speaking directly to their philosophies. “We’re living in a simulation” is also a phrase people use jokingly—or sometimes seriously—to describe a situation where they can’t believe or simply don’t like what’s happening on Earth.

Why it matters

While it’s normal for each viewer to take away something different from a piece of pop culture, it seems that people like Paul are now citing the Matrix instead of taking accountability for their actions.

It’s a convenient excuse: they didn’t do anything bad, they were just “targeted” by a simulation. Oddly, it’s the same world that also allowed them to become influencers in the first place. 

Look, it’s been more than two decades. You all need another movie to reference. We’re tired. 

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*First Published: Jan 14, 2023, 6:00 am CST