This is among the most Quixotic and futile things I’ve ever said in this column, but I genuinely believe there are metaphors of rot and doom and a swirling toiled-bowl fate contained in the popularity of the Scary Movie series, with the latest permutation having made just over $40 million this weekend. I know what I sound like in saying this, but will somebody who’s seen this latest bucket-of-urine, dumb-ass David Zucker movie please explain what it says about the kids going to see it that betokens any interior traits other than smugness, intellectual sloth and a profound aversion to anything the least bit exotic? What is a Scary Movie experience, sight unseen, other than an iron-clad guarantee that (a) you’ll be made to laugh or snicker every so often, (b) the movie will keep the subject matter in a totally safe, utterly familiar, channel-surfing vein and (c) it will throw audiences absolutely no curve balls whatsoever? More than anything else, Scary movies promise sameness and safety. If that doesn’t give you concern about where a lot of younger people are at these days then I don’t know what. Living in a membrane of smugness, material arrogance, and intellectual laziness is as much of a social malady as heroin, speed or alchohol addiction. They all indicate an attitude that says, “Leave us alone, dude…have a tub of popcorn and chill…we don’t know want to know.” I don’t know anything one way or the other, but I wonder what percentage of the kids who went to see Scary Movie 4 this weekend have personal discipline issues? Or have parents who drive big fat SUVs? I wonder what percentage of these kids are likely to see Al Gore’s An Inconvenient Truth when it opens in May? Two percent? One percent? Less? Everyone seeing Sofia Coppola’s Marie Antoinette next fall will be asked to consider the parallels between the arrogant, insulated attitudes of those living in the rarified environs of the palace of Versailles in the 1780s and those rolling in affluence today and the faux– Paris Hilton attitudes and personalities that always arise from this. Most people who see Coppola’s film are going to wave such thoughts away (if the parallels in fact occur to them), and you know who will be the first in this group to do so.