In a world full of tension and uncertainty, the word dystopia has never rung truer, probably since the Great Depression. How we cope today with the new reality we find presented is determined by the pre-programming we’ve received in the past: the television programs we’ve watched, books we’ve read, and the politicians we trust or distrust, and maybe even the grandparents some of us once bothered to listen to.
For those attracted to the dystopian genre, today comes as no surprise. For those who engage in critical thinking like it’s a hobby, the dystopia we’re suffering today is necessary for the utopia to exist and strive for—yesterday is now out of reach and only if we do as we’re told, can we have a modicum of the “old world” back.
Just as we’ve watched in films like Divergent, The Walking Dead, and The Hunger Games, or read in 1984, Handmaid’s Tale, or even the indie JRae Books like Watchers, without an organized and promised utopic world to offer some hope, there is no relevance to our struggles.
Some of us pride ourselves on obedience, albeit, foolishly. Locked down in our apartments across the globe, we’re united in a common goal to eradicate COVID-19, or that’s what the governments of the world tell us. Just a little while longer, they say, until we “flatten the curve.”
. . .And then we flatten the curve. The ventilators—those precious ventilators that we must keep free for COVID patients—turn out to increase mortality rates by 30 percent.
Hmmm, but just a little while longer, stay locked down until we “find the vaccine.”
Stay locked down just a little longer until we can get your 5G enabling tracking app, your globally required immunity passports, your identity tattoos, your global government in order. Never had the virus, no vaccine? You dare to think on your own? But it’s your choice in the end, they say with a benevolent smile, but no immunity means you’ve just dropped five rungs on the social ladder or into oblivion.
Just as The Hunger Games’ can attribute its box office success in some part to the void it fills for the real needs created by society—a fatherly figure to shepherd its herd—we experience a similar governmental response.
We do as we are told; the patriarchal lawmakers know best; we’re now living in our own Hollywood movie where emotions are tapped to such an instinctual level of cultural awareness within a universal audience that we’re rendered helpless to protest for autonomy and individual freedoms.
And yet we still fail to realize we lost our utopia.
Unlike Katniss in the Hunger Games, who grew up knowing only a brutal dystopia where children are sacrificed for the greater good, and who dares to fight for something much larger than herself, calling out the “Peacekeepers” for what they really are, we, on the other hand, in our narrowing reality, rest at the feet of governments in subordination and defeat.
The film The Hunger Games represents the very real threats of government domination and class divide. The subtext of government totalitarianism, military intervention through the use of Peacekeepers, and the distinct divide between the haves and have nots is merely reflected in editing, cinematography and sound techniques to provoke an emotional response. . .yet it seems so relevant and real.
The feelings evoked in The Hunger Games raise the question for both sides of the divide: at what cost can society continue with the status quo and at what cost if a rebellion occurs? These are real issues reflected in real society throughout history and remains so vitally important today.
Within the final shots of a familiar scene, where Panem’s poorest District 12 unite in their cause to salute Katniss’ decision to become a volunteer tribute, the cinematography ceases to be chaotic. It establishes Katniss’ influence in a still, closed frame. The supposition of “what utopia would feel like” is glimpsed by way of a moderated act of defiance against the Capitol. There is a rising hope for District 12’s retaliation, even if silent for now—and becomes a utopian trait of a community uniting for a common goal to achieve their freedom.
But for now, in our own Hollywood movie, we’re still in the prologue. We’re still eating the grain out of the hands that initially slapped us with a virus that came out of a de-regulated and cruel wet market, or if you prefer, a bio lab that played with coronavirus’ for “gain-of-function” war policy.
And yet we keep picking at the feed.
We keep buying into the bullshit as the goal posts shift.
And what of those in charge, those who failed to regulate situations unbeknown to us—that will never be shared with the puny little children they call their “masses” . . .
The camera closes in, the frame begins to shake . . .our “slavery” is now our “freedom.”