It's Not Entertainment, It's Reality
I’ve always been a huge Sci-Fi fan. My favorite authors are Ray Bradbury and Philip K. Dick. I have a Doctor Who tattoo, and I made my parents keep all my Star Wars toys. They have no monetary value, but I like to tell myself that one day they’re going to be worth thousands of dollars even though most of them have bite marks. I used to bite a lot as a kid. Now I only bite people who bite me. That’s the reason I’m not allowed in dog parks anymore.
A large part of being a fan of the fictional world is romanticizing the idea that the future is going to reflect the fantasy lands that were dreamed up by our favorite authors. As a kid I would daydream about an owl dropping off my acceptance letter to Hogwarts, or convince myself that if I focus and train hard enough I would develop Jedi powers. Although if I’m being honest, if I lived in the wizard or Jedi universe, I’d probably still just get an Art Degree.
Both Harry Potter and Star Wars have a lot of not very subtle Nazi influences. Voldemort talks about purifying the magical worlds bloodline. The Empire in Star Wars calls it’s troops stormtroopers, which is the same thing Hitler called his army. As a child I was unaware of these connections, but as an adult they’ve definitely peaked my interest.
I love the idea that art reflects life. For me, good Sci-Fi is when the writer takes historical or current political and social phenomenons and develops a fictional world. As the reader, it makes it easier the follow the story and the relate to the characters.
But when life begins to reflect art, that’s when the fairy tale is over.
Two recent examples, Man In the High Castle and The Handmaid’s Tale. Both amazing books adapted into phenomenal television shows, and both exploring Nazi idealism in a fictional world.
Man In The High Castle takes a more traditional Sci-Fi route. Two parallel universes, one where Nazi’s won the war and the other where the allies won. There are people who can travel between both worlds and the Nazi’s are trying to harness that power so can take over the ally universe.
The Handmaid’s Tale reflects a similar type of authoritarian rule as the Nazi’s. Women’s rights have been stripped away, peoples fate is determined by an elite wealthy class, and all of this is being carried out in the name of god.
These shows in particular, for me, hold the idea of life reflecting art.
History books teach us not to repeat the mistakes of the past. Science Fiction takes those mistakes and develop them into terrifying villains and horrifying plots that we think will never become reality.
We should never repeat the mistakes of our past, just like we shouldn’t become the monsters in the stories.
Be better. All of you. That’s it for today.