Links from 2024-01-20
I contend Starship Troopers (1997) wasn’t recognized as a satire of fascism because almost all of the obvious and over-the-top media manipulation, propaganda, disinformation, hero worship, &c in the film were entirely too familiar for audiences to cognize or understand.
To Verhoeven or Carpenter the political landscape of the western world and america in particular was already a sea of manipulated citizens gleefully worshiping anything their leaders would deign to fool them with.
I don’t think Starship Troopers and They Live and RoboCop and similar films were "ahead of their time", or "prescient". In the same way "The Simpsons" hasn’t predicted anything. The creators just had a much more accurate understanding of reality than their peers or the general public. They made works to show the comically obvious and nauseatingly banal places these ideologies would lead us.
These creators were dismissed as cranks or hacks making genre pictures. Their work wasn’t seen as the well-reasoned and artfully made critiques of society they really were. Their cultural criticism was so dead on that only people with a historical frame of reference or a critical eye caught it. The [purposeful] lack of political education and media literacy in the dominant culture meant that the real messages of these films sailed over the heads of the people who most needed to hear, understand, and internalize them.