I get it. Things aren’t all rainbows, unicorns and flying cars. Life is a struggle. Always has been. Always will be. But enough already.
The Hunger Games, The Walking Dead, Doomsday Preppers, Left 4 Dead, Minority Report; a non-stop diet like this leads to mindless nihilism—or the necessary purgatives of Duck Dynasty, anything Disney, and K-Pop.
Dystopias can be fun (Get the zombie, Rick!), but overdose on it and you’re the problem. Suddenly every turban is a terrorist. Every hoodie hides a hood up to no good. And your next-door neighbor is coveting your ass. Please.
Such things are fiction, people. Remember the Harmonic Convergence? Y2K? The Mayan Apocalypse? Not such a big deal after all—when you think about it.
Fear is the mind-killer. And dystopias are all about fear.
Those of us old enough remember another feariod of history, best summed up by this dude:
Planet of the Apes* (1968) kicked off a nightmare of dystopic futures including A Clockwork Orange (1971), The Omega Man* (1971), THX 1138 (1971), Silent Running (1972), Soylent Green* (1973), Logan’s Run (1976), Rollerball (1975), Death Race 2000 (1975), A Boy and His Dog (1975), and countless others. Side note: *The big tell re: dystopias? If Charleton Heston is starring, it’s definitely one.
The best dystopias are detection/early warning devices (think 1984 and just about anything else by George Orwell.) But like Rachel Carson’s Silent Spring, they should lead to action, not some defensive crouch. You can’t kill many zombies from the fetal position.
There are plenty of real-world zombies out there, but none of them are easily dispatched with a bullet, macheté, or baseball bat. The only solution to INSERT YOUR ZOMBIE HERE is a community that won’t put up with INSERT YOUR ZOMBIE HERE.
This is not an indictment of violent video games, Death Metal, firearms, or the Kardashians. This is a call for sanity, thought, and “what can I do today” action.
Dystopias are not about the glass being half empty either. They’re about the glass shattering, animating, and attacking your jugular vein in a fevered cloud of homicidal shards. And that’s not going to happen. Ever.
Fill the glass, don’t kill it. You are the change you seek. Get off your keyboard (and keister) and become the solution in whatever way you can.
– D.P. Knudten
PS: What brought on this diatribe? Netflixing this.