Dystopian movies and novels

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Dystopian movies and novels

Innlegg Panther 16 Nov 2010, 21:02


The Missing Link in Dystopian Novels
15 November 2010 Edward Cline

At their very best, dystopian novels and films, particularly those with a clear dramatization of the choices between freedom and slavery, freedom of thought and servile parroting, productive work and drudgery for the state, and revolution and submission, can lose one for a time in an imaginary world where those choices parallel the ones necessary in the real.

“Usually I’m pretty mild, in fact many of my friends are kind enough to call it ‘Folksy,’ when I’m writing or speechifying.” – Zero Hour, Berzelius Windrip*

A chilling familiarity: Where have we read this before?

Oh, yes, in Sinclair Lewis’s 1935 dystopian novel, It Can’t Happen Here. In it, a charismatic middle-aged man on a white unicorn gallops across a battered economy littered with the wreckage of past federal stimulus programs to the White House, advocating the transformation of the country into a utopia of social justice, and promising everyone, not $5,000 a year, as did Berzelius “Buzz” Windrip, but government-managed health care and a “fairer” (re)distribution of wealth. In his entourage are numerous placemen eager to control everything from the consumption of oil and nicotine and sugar and salt and history and science to education, and who also suggest “minor” adjustments to the Bill of Rights in the Constitution to better facilitate social justice and economic fairness to bring about their leader’s promised land. Just like Windrip and his entourage in the Lewis novel.

The administration and “folksy” style of President Barack Obama has in part prompted this essay. His and Congress’s statist legislation and semi-disguised and dissimulated agenda to “transform” the United States from a faltering constitutional republic, already burdened with a plethora of government interventions, regulations, and extraordinary enforcement powers, into a certified socialist “republic,” have elicited an intense public hostility toward him and that agenda. Many Americans have now seen the face of extortionate, authoritarian arrogance, and like it not. It was not gratuitous slander or character assassination when many Tea Party protest signs featured a pairing of his face and the term, “Big Brother.” Whether or not that hostility will translate into effective resistance, a rediscovery of freedom, a decoupling or abolition of government powers, and support for the sanctity of individual rights, remains to be seen.
Ken-G. Johansen.
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