My favorite genre in literature and film used to be dystopian fiction.
I have read George Orwell’s “1984” countless times and every time was mystified by the concept that our government was slowly turning into the ominous Big Brother.
I have always been fascinated with the allegory presented in Aldous Huxley’s “Brave New World,” such as Huxley’s example of government-implemented nationwide drug use utilized to keep the country’s population in a serene state.
And although it is not as deep as the aforementioned novels, I have always had a soft spot in my heart for “The Hunger Games” trilogy.
However, more recently, I have had a really difficult time finding the motivation to read these novels or anymore like them because of the current state of the world. With events such as the public executions of 80 people in North Korea, the deaths of 43 Mexican students purportedly killed by their government and the current state of the United States following the deaths of black Americans at the hands of the police, I am finding it hard to separate reality and the fictionalized representations of such.
I am not attempting to imply that we live in a world identical to those presented by Orwell and Huxley. Fortunately, Americans live in a country with a government that still allows its people freedom to make their own choices.
That said, it is still spooky to think that there are surveillance cameras running all the time, even if it is for precautionary purposes.
Whatever happened to the “good ol’ days,” when people walked down the streets at night without worries of being attacked, or when they left their doors unlocked at night without worry of intruders?
Now that I think of it, those days started waning after the Clutter family in Holcomb, Kansas was brutally murdered in 1959, as described in Truman Capote’s “In Cold Blood,” published seven years afterward.
Let me propose a different point. Think about the horror film series,“The Purge.” For those of you who don’t know, the concept centers on a futuristic version of the United States that has come under strict totalitarian rule. The existing leadership has almost nearly diminished crime, except for one day each year: the annual “Purge.” On this day, citizens can more or less run rampant, committing any form of crime, as long as high-powered explosives aren’t used and the crimes committed aren’t against government officials.
Luckily, this is not the current state of the world. We do not have to barricade ourselves in our house one day a year – or more – armed with weapons to protect against imminent, unavoidable intruders.
That small comfort fails to take away from the fact that, unfortunately, we are far, far away from the “good ol’ days” of unquestionable safety. I would never opt to imply that we are on the brink of turning into a dystopian society mirroring those of Orwellian fiction.
However, the present state of affairs leads one to wonder if such a future is in the cards, and if so, how far ahead it may lie.