Like many of you, perhaps, I have been literally appalled at the GOP for decades. And every time I reach a kind of equilibrium, they appall me worse and I have to readjust.
But this business of repealing the 19th Amendment? That’s on a whole new dark and disturbing level. I can barely find the words to express my new level of appalledness, but fortunately someone else did: Margaret Atwood. From one of the most chilling sections of her chilling book, The Handmaid’s Tale:
It was after the catastrophe, when they shot the president and machine-gunned the Congress and the army declared a state of emergency. They blamed it on the Islamic fanatics at the time.
Keep calm, they said on television. Everything is under control.
I was stunned. Everyone was, I know that. It was hard to believe. The entire government, gone like that. How did they get in, how did it happen?
That was when they suspended the Constitution.
She then goes on to describe in chilling (that word again!) detail the rapid, systematic disempowerment of women: barred from working outside the home, barred from owning property, etc.–all the way to becoming property themselves.
The scary thing is how plausible it all sounds.
A couple of years ago, Atwood visited West Point:
After her opening remarks, the questions posed by the cadets — who identified themselves by name and rank before asking — referred to everything from Islamism to Descartes, whom Atwood paraphrases at one point in “The Handmaid’s Tale.” Yes, if she were writing the novel now she might have borrowed some of the oppressive tactics of Muslim fundamentalists, but, 30 years on, contemporary American politics — such as conservatives’ references to “real rape” in the run-up to the 2014 elections and the bizarre belief held by Rep. Todd Akin, R-Mo., that a woman’s body reflexively disables conception in the event of “legitimate rape” — still offers ample inspiration. When those stories broke, she said, the hashtag “#handmaidstale” began to appear all over social media. The book has been filmed, made into an opera and is currently being adapted as a graphic novel.
Surprisingly, none of the questions referred to the ostensibly Christian nature of the Gilead regime. In 2012, a cadet named Blake Page resigned from West Point, complaining that the excessive religiosity of the culture at the academy “willfully disregards the Constitution of the United States of America” and fosters “open disrespect of non-religious new cadets.” (Among the practices Page objected to were mandatory events that routinely included prayers.)
Perhaps most striking, given Mercer’s hopes for a new vocabulary, was that all of the questioners were male, and none of them asked about the status of women in Gilead.
A certain apocryphal “Chinese curse” comes to mind.
BUT, being an optimistic sort, I’ll also point out that The World Values Survey has for years been documenting a global shift away from “survival” (authoritarian / sexist / xenophobic / etc.) values to “self-expression” (equality / tolerance / etc.) ones. I was taught that privilege fights hardest at the end, and so there’s plenty of reason for hope, especially given digital technology’s wondrous capacity to decentralize information and power.
Not that the Far Right is going to disappear, but they’ll just get more and more marginalized.
You can call me a gullible fool–and I’m sure someone will!–but in the words of the immortal Joel, I have been a fool for lesser things. Also, I like the company I’m keeping, out here in the ranks of the foolish optimists.
The Handmaid’s Tale was published in 1985! Talk about a Lady Oracle!
Hulu’s doing a movie!
Ms. Atwood is a long-time animal rights proponent.
Handmaiden’s Tale scared the shit out of me BIG time.
@<a @shomi: it always starts with words
Oh fer fucks sakes. 1984 is dystopian science fiction. Keyword being fiction.
shomi, on the other hand, is a special sort of fucking idiot. Keyword being idiot.
I recommend a re-read of the following trio of Dystopian novels:
1. Brave New World
3. The Handmaiden’s Tale
Each is terrifying in their own way, and each addresses issues we are facing or will soon be facing.
The Handmaid’s Tale is one of her more optimistic books – try Oryx and Crake if Handmaid’s Tale is not depressing enough for you.
I read it when it was new. Before I finished it, I stopped at the ATM to get some cash and it refused to give me any. That made the hair stand up on the back of my neck, because that’s how the protagonist of the book first knew that her life was changing.
(The next ATM worked fine, though. Whew.)
Where was the Handmaiden’s Tale set? I seem to remember it was in the Boston area, but I could be wrong.
@redshirt: Let me add a contemporary novel to your list: The Water Thief by Nicholas Soutter. Not the same caliber, but worth reading and more modern in terms of digital stuff.
@Gindy51: Really? I got halfway through and tossed it across the room. It just didn’t strike me as realistic, and Offred bored me. If she didn’t mind her situation all that much, why should I? I think it would have been better if it had shown the U.S. becoming the Republic of G. instead of summing all that up and then spending a couple hundred pages watching Offred do–well, not much of anything, since she couldn’t. Having your premise be that your protagonist be passive is tough. Also the obvious questions about how Gilead could come to be, much less continue, were never addressed.
@Gindy51: Yes–I finished it and couldn’t pick up another Atwood for more than 20 years, when a colleague convinced me I should at least read Cat’s Eye and Alias Grace. I did, but I cannot pick up Handmaid’s Tale again (too close even then, but more so now–I grew up in an insanely strict and fervent fundagelical household/church). She’s an incredibly astute observer and not afraid to describe what she sees.
@nutella: that would have freaked me out
It’s pretty bad when even I recognize shomi as a mouth-breathing moron. Maybe it will type “ball juice” some more, that’s always funny.
Question for the mouth breathers pushing the “repeal 19” bullshit. How do you expect to get 75% of the states to ratify such an amendment (presuming it ever gets through Congress) when a touch over 50% of the population is female? Thinking, never a strong suit of that crowd.
@Srv: Srv, I’ve always seen you to be a fount of knowledge and powerful insight. So don’t worry about a pantswetter like shomi. That’s just what he does. Wets his pants and then tells everyone here about it. His wet pants.
Sure, the “Repeal the 19th” folks are all fringey internet types that nobody listens to. Thank God the “consent is a liberal fiction” folks are too. After all, none of them have a national audience or make millions promoting these ideas.
Who is this “Rush Limbaugh” guy anyhow?
This is one of the stupider ideas these whackaloons have had, because math. I am afraid, though, that we’re going to have eight years of rampant misogyny and some Republican will announce that we never had any until Hillary was elected and she has caused this war between the sexes.
Trump started out very sedate. Then his crowd started chanting, “Lock her up! Lock her up!” And he became instant Anger & Attack.
@shomi: Idiots always laugh at their own jokes. Keep digging.
When women , like Ann Coulter, talk about not letting women vote, I suppose they think they’re being ‘provocative’ or ‘initiating a dialogue.’ They only sound moronic.
So, what’s interesting to me is a couple things:
1 – Josh Marshall asked this on twitter, and it’s characteristically insightful. We all seem to be assuming that Trump (not the Trumpsters, of course) will go away on the 9th. Why on earth will he? Or should he? It’s quite clearly his party now, at least by the numbers. Particularly when you see reports like low bookings in the new Trump hotel in DC at a time when luxury hotels are typically sold out weeks in advance, this may be his new business model. And what does he have to lose? All he’s gotta do is run the clock on mining morons for a decade and he’ll be dead.
2 – I read redstate because I’m curious how the stupid half thinks. There will be no change in the republican party; while they’re supposedly (finally?) aghast at Trump, it’s not because of his policies, but because of how gauche he is about promoting them. They still love them some Pence, and haven’t addressed the question of how, if Trump is so appalling, is good christian Pence still full in?
3 – As jbarro points out, look at Little Marco. He incessantly claimed Obama is intentionally destroying the country because that is what plays with the Republican base.
4 – it’s going to get worse after the election rather than better. I have no insight into when it gets better :(
Carlos Slim! Here We Go!
@Gravenstone: I know, but this kind of thing should never even be discussed in the public sphere. Doing so legitimizes the idea and, even if the repeal is never even attempted, the discussion can foster the worst kinds of sexist oppression and intimidation, especially for women who are already oppressed and intimidated.
@randy khan: No. Don’t read those. Seriously. Or most definitely do not read the second book in that series.
What she was saying about women losing their rights is essentially what happened in Afghanistan under the Taliban, and it is why I was *for* getting rid of the Taliban. Women were banned from workplaces and from schools.
There are real, ongoing efforts to block the franchise for millions of voters. #repealthe19th is not remotely one of them.
The other thing in The Handmaid’s Tales was that all the black folks were put in concentration camps. But that’s just mentioned in passing so all most people remember is the horrific oppression of women, who, in the story, are all white.
@Mary G: Right now Joe Wilson is getting ready to yell, “Stifle it, dingbat,” during Clinton’s first SOTU address.
“I have no idea who these women are. No idea! Because they are all just a piece of ass to me. Like my daughter, Ivanka for example.”
@Elmo: Yeah, it’s not like a major political party has nominated a raging sexist pig who wants to punish women for having abortions or anything. Oh wait…
It’s always been “safer” for RWNJs to express aloud the idea of disenfranchising women. Not an accident that the first African-American president precedes the first female president.
Happily, it seems likely that the two firsts will be very close together. To paraphrase Thomas Friedman, 19thers can suck on that.
@Darkrose: I forgot that part! Or maybe I didn’t get that far. Either way, mea culpa.
@currants: Apparently she was inspired by the surrounding culture at a Deep South college she was teaching at.
Which I utterly understand and believe.
Meh. Click-bait. Remember the rolling coal idiots? Same company, different department: let’s do or say whatever pisses off the most people with the least effort. There’s no thought or logic behind it to work towards any useful objective, just to get a rise out of whomever is in range of hearing or seeing.
And if you had the opportunity (or the audacity) to sit one of these freaks down and tell Atwood’s handmaid tale, when you got to the part about machine-gunning Congress and suspending the Constitution, he would say, “Hey, I like that idea.” Think of Gilead as a blueprint to which one aspires, rather than a warning.
@Shell: the West Point article mentions a cadet bringing up that very question – why women were some of the harshest oppressors in the book. (said question is, itself, very problematic.)
one more thing:
1a – when do the Trump kids start bailing? Their time horizon is 50 rather than 10 years.
Trump is speaking at a rally in NC now, calling the women “liars” and suggesting one of them is too ugly to have sexually assaulted. “I never saw these people before.”
Ruh-roh. This is going to a really dark place.
@Darkrose: that’s a doozy of a good point. I hope (and expect) the movie to at least somewhat rectify that.
Ceci n'est pas mon nym
They will believe this while simutaneously believing that Hillary’s election proves that misogyny is dead and there is no war between the sexes.
@Trentrunner: Let me fix that for Trump.
Oh fucking Christ.
I’m going to have to sign off now. Thanks for your comments, all —
Deviant Donnie’s a serial molester.
Enhanced Voting Techinques
I’d wouldn’t panic yet, West Point has always been a bit god botherish since it’s founding.
As far as making the US a theocracy, that boat literally sailed with the Mayflower. The reason for the freedom of religion is every sect in the desperately wants to screw every other sect but isn’t strong enough.
This all reminds my friend whose and atheist who went to the USAF collage in Colorado Springs, got harassed for being an unbeliever, fakes a conversion and ended up getting unlimited blow jobs, because the good Christians girls he was picking up don’t have sex on dates.
I think Gilead would look like the current GOP, one endless scam with it’s leaders spewing out a word salad of talking points, the rank and file denouncing each other over what the other guy had for lunch and a bunch of atheists gifting the whole lot until collapsing with in 5-10 from the sheer ineptness of it all.
SiubhanDuinne, liberal mob enforcer bitch
Good memory, you.
Gin & Tonic
@Corner Stone: Carlos Slim could probably buy every Trump-branded property with his lunch money.
@Trentrunner: He has assaulted so many women, that its hard to remember every single one
mike in dc
Gloria Allred’s client delivering the kill shot right now. She was a contestant on the Apprentice.
The whole thing we’re going through is one big fix, one big ugly lie, the press is writing lies, lies, lies, our patriotic movement will overcome.
@Hillary Rettig: I’m trying to remember if I’ve ever read anything from you on any of the ongoing efforts by the GOP to keep people of color from voting. You’re focusing on a hashtag because “it always starts with words” while ignoring the ways in which it’s already started with actual legislation.
What kind of father did this young woman have?
It has been an unexpectedly ferociously long time since my intense Atwood binge. The thing about The Handmaid’s Tale is not the overall plausibility in toto, it’s the spot-on descriptions of details that one finds littered in reality (or looming there) afterward. The Edible Woman still has details that pop up in my head once in a while, but they never become embedded in the sidewalks, campaign slogans and ATMs in the same way.
Evidently as naive as she was.
The movement will cur the sickness in this country. Enough about this now onto politics. But we have to talk about the corrupt media. He’s taking these slings and arrows for you.
@Shell: I’m all for Coulter staying away from the ballot box, since she’s prone to voter fraud.
Pew Research’s top line report: 10 demographic trends that are shaping the U.S. and the world is worth reading. It highlights, for me, a good reason we’re seeing the US Taliban and Right Wing going cray-cray: they are losing and will continue to lose for the rest of their gnarly little hate-filled lives.
@currants: Did we read the same book? “Astute” was not the word I would have used. Atwood sounded like she had never in her life talked to anyone male. The biggest hole in the plot was that there was no explanation for why the men of Gilead would want, much less tolerate, the system. Their living standards have been halved because their wives can no longer work. Their daughters, sisters, wives and mothers are in constant danger. Innocent pleasures like flirting and girl-watching–gone. And at least till about halfway through, no explanation of why most folks thought this was better than the previous arrangement.
These dystopias usually fall apart at about the halfway mark, now that I think about it; that’s where the reader stops thinking “My God, what an awful predicament” and starts thinking “Yeah, but why?”
Obama is an incompetent, spends all his time talking about Trump. Why doesn’t anyone come forward and say what they’re saying about me, about him?
EDIT: Yes he wants someone to come forward and call Obama a predator, since they are lying about Trump, why don’t they lie about Obama. That way he would have a both sides.
Count me among those that don’t give a phuck about his supporters. I’m done.
Caring about them.
Trying to understand them.
No reason to.
Even resisting the temptation to grope, The Donald was in full pig mode. How about during an actual White House dinner?
I read it then, too. And as for Ms. Atwood seeming to be an oracle, that would only be if you weren’t paying attention in 1985. To me, it was crystal clear that this was what the Reaganites and Religious Reich were aiming for right from the start. You had to be pretty thick and/or sheltered not to notice.
You give Coulter too much credit.
They wanted a more “Leave it to Beaver” but add in extra Puritan slut shaming and blacks in shackles.
@SiubhanDuinne, liberal mob enforcer bitch: Cambridge, Massachusetts? On this planet? She set her female dystopia in CAMBRIDGE, MASSACHUSETTS, with its huge population of Spoiled American Princesses? No wonder it was so unbelievable. I wonder why she didn’t use Afghanistan? I know she knew it was there because I remember her talking about the Taliban in interviews.
Rape culture, part 336,216: As Trump suggests, “ugly” women don’t get raped.
One more way we discourage victims from coming forward. Unless you’re “conventionally” attractive, you are even more likely to be disbelieved.
Alas, I saw Gilead, I thought you were referring to Marilynne Robinson’s book. Quite different.
@trollhattan: If I was seated with Trump I’d ask to be moved to another city. He’s a rude crude dude. In my opinion his getting so far in the political process shows that the system is probably broken beyond repair.
@Pogonip: She wrote this *before* the Taliban came to power.
@Pogonip: I think you are being a bit naive. Right now, in Indiana, Pence has put a woman in jail for twenty years for taking an abortion drug. Look at all the Planned Parenthood clinics getting shut down in red states. It’s happening all around us.
This conversation got started because Republicans are running a serial molester (at least) for President. How unbelieveable is THAT?
@SiubhanDuinne, liberal mob enforcer bitch:
I got that distinct impression when I read it although Atwood did not mention any place names in the book.
I thought it was more likely, if Gilead happened, that it would happen somewhere farther south.
Iowa Old Lady
I gather Trump plans to claim that Carlos Slim is behind the vast conspiracy against him that includes the NYT, the Clintons, and Mexico. I had never heard of Slim until posters here mentioned him, and even then, I guessed it was a cartoon name. Thank goodness for google.
Does it matter that 99% of the American public will never have heard of Trump’s primary villain?
Margaret Atwood with a flute in the den.
Who decides who is an ugly woman? Trump is an ugly fat slob, but he thinks that he’s all that, so obviously he has ‘bad judgment’. Everyone is ugly to someone.
Trump has moved into his “economy” segment, and the crowd has become pretty quiet.
@nutella: Location probably has very little to do with actual probability, although the historical and symbolic resonance probably helped the author. Having it float free a bit on the page, while looking classic adds to the idea that it could happen here, rather than safely somewhere else.
Boring! They want red meat.
We are a divided nation but he’s going to fight to bring us together. Imagine us fighting as one people under one god.
The Repealthe19th fuggheads are trolling their own lives for the excitement. I agree with whoever said upthread that this is clickbait. OTOH, the Republicans feed on misogny: Trump is just the most obvious iteration. Their hatred of Planned Parenthood, their desire to control women’s sexuality through legislation, their fear of strong women make it really clear. The Handmaid’s Tale follows one of the traditional three standard sf conventions: it examines a serious and troubling aspect of now by fictionalizing it and booting it into an imaginary future. (The three traditional standard conventions are: What-If, If-Only, and If This Goes On.) It’s not prophecy, but it’s powerful reading.
We shouldn’t scare ourselves; the fuggheads are not currently a serious threat.Trump was almost a serious threat; I think he has been neutralized, but we mustn’t relax. Mike Pence, Ted Cruz, the politicians who enable them, and the ones who will come after them, the smarter, smoother ones, those have the potential to be serious threats.
Those, and this gem that came out today by Alexandra Petri
It’s odd…Hillary’s life story reminds me of Obama’s, as relayed by “fair and balanced” sources…linked to a thousand criminal, evil elements and yet somehow publicly known for working on community, social, and political issues their whole lives…simultaneously so weak and yet so all-powerful…
It’s just an odd coincidence, is all I’m sayin’…=)
@randy khan: Yes, the Madd Addam trilogy (Oryx and Crake, The Year of the Flood, and Madd Addam) is depressing in that they describe a believable future, just like The Handmaid’s Tale. However, these books are also very readable because of Atwood’s sly and very dark humor. Highly recommended.
Compared to yesterday it was pretty subdued.
Perhaps all the pundits describing it as one of the darkest speeches they ever heard, made him lighten up.
New Yorkers have known him and his bad business skills and boorish behavior first-hand since the ’70s and yet he got to the home stretch of the presidential campaign with tens of millions who still think he’s hunky dory and the right guy to “Change Washington.” We’re dealing with a serious detachment from reality I simply can’t fathom.
I try not to spend too much time on this, as it is (so far!) a very low likelihood event, but I worry that the actual vote/tally in a few swing states will be hacked, live, on Nov. 8th. Just enough to give the appearance that Trump won in places like OH.
The ensuing catastrophic efforts at a recount, involving OH (Republican) s.o.s. Husted as well as (one presumes) the FBI and I’d imagine the Obama admin’s DOJ tracking down and trying to prosecute (or even document) the hacking will make a toxic brew just ripe for Trumpen brownshirts to go nuts.
It’ll all make things like the Franken recount here, and of course the FL – Gore shitshow, look like a lagniappe to that dog’s breakfast.
We really could be badly f*ked.
So Scott isn’t rating Trump’s chances at 98% anymore?
I guess that means he doesn’t think the Senor Slim bombshell is going to get the job done.
@scav: Are her other books any better, or at least not as bad as, Handmaid’s Tale?
I must be a literary contrarian. Ursula LeGuin wtote a short story, “The Ones Who Walk Away From [Utopia whose name I forget].” Generally thought to be the literary equivalent of sliced bread. The plot is that this Utopia is maintained by holding a kid locked in a dark closet. Everybody knows this. Some folks decide they’re not going to live off the kid’s misery and walk out of Utopia. The end.
Seriously. That’s it. That’s the story. It is generally agreed to have Great Significance. Huh? It’s not even a story, it’s a setup–a story would be, someone takes action about this, and then what happens?–and even as a setup, there’s not much to it. If you’re leaving anyway, sneak over and let the kid out of the damn closet on your way out!
Yup. I’m a literary contrarian.
mike in dc
If an Apprentice contestant is coming forward, it’s possible that other individuals(who Trump can’t deny even knowing) will come forward now as well. People who go to his rallies aren’t going to change their minds, but they don’t represent all of his supporters. There are going to be some women experiencing doubts and concerns as the number of accusers rises steadily. Some of them will change their votes and some will just stay home.
This is just Internet gas. There is no reason to pay any attention to this at all.
@Iowa Old Lady:
I’ve heard of him, it was a big deal when he bought the Times, but like many of their obsessions it will only resonate in the feverswamps, he will join the ranks of, Van Jones, Valerie Jarrett, Desiree Rogers, Susan Rice, and Sidney Blumenthal, and now Carlos Slim.
Hmm I just noticed that all those names have something in common. They are all black and brown, and the other one is a Jew. Coinkydink?
The 19th Amendment nonsense is only talked about on the internet, and in Texas.
@nutella: ive never forgotten that moment in the book!
Summer Zervos is going to get a metric internet fuckton of, “What did she expect? Why else would she go to a bungalow for dinner? *wink*”
@Starfish: Ah, and it was in the publication pipeline. Makes sense.
Cambridge, MA, is still one of the worst possible settings for such a plot.
Iowa Old Lady
@Pogonip: Not every book speaks to every reader. I’m always shocked when a friend dislikes a book I love, but it happens anyway.
there was no explanation for why the men of Gilead would want, much less tolerate, the system.
Who can explain the Pashtun-wali ?
And yet it exists, and has persisted through hundreds of years.
@Pogonip: Why are you asking people who clearly enjoy things that you do not to recommend books to you?
And, back from my paranoid ledge above, this. We mustn’t lose sight of this. Wisconsin is proving to be a total cluster. Rabid gerbil Walker and his henchmen are doing all they can to obstruct court ordered remedies. And that is in a state that has the ability to elect a progressive lesbian to the US Senate. Southern and other much more deeply red states are full-tilt disenfranchising, as you say, w/o assistance of the 19th.
I’d be willing to bet the gender breakdown of people being blocked by these laws is well over 50% women.
@WereBear: Pence is a prosecutor? I thought he was their governor. My bad.
Gin & Tonic
@Jeffro: Sounds like our DougJ has rubbed off on his interlocutor, Alexandr.
Mike in NC
Several years ago I read that the 1957 film “A Face in The Crowd” (starring Andy Griffith) explained how lunatics like Glenn Beck were able to become media superstars almost overnight. It really is a neglected masterpiece that everybody needs to see. More recently some commenters have substituted Trump for Beck.
@Pogonip: Now I know you are screwing with me. So be it.
@joel hanes: My point. They’re accustomed to it, the Gileadeans aren’t and no reason was given why they’d want to be.
@rikyrah: I’m with you. I don’t want to harm them and I’m willing to drag them into a better future with the rest of us. But otherwise to h-ell with it.
SiubhanDuinne, liberal mob enforcer bitch
I generally find Alexandra Petri rather tiresome. Her humor isn’t nearly as labored as MoDo’s (what is?), but she just isn’t very funny although it’s clear she thinks she is.
But this is good. Thanks for flagging it.
all of the suppressions and structures that Atwood describes were actually in practice in 1985 when she wrote the book. Maybe not in the same society, but all those structures existed in the late 20th century. Her work was meticulously researched.
@WereBear: Not at all. I do not closely track Pence’s doings (I was even wrong about the office he holds, for heaven’s sake).
The Ones Who Walk Away From [Utopia whose name I forget].
Omelas, IIRC. You might notice the backward “Salem”, or you might not.
It’s one of her weakest works, although better than the Catwings books.
If you’re really going to be a contrarian, you should explain the flaws in The Dispossessed
@srv: One thing different I’m interested in is a rapid and economically fatal decline in the marketability of Dilbert’s played out comic strips.
Deviant Donnie knows no bounds.
@Pogonip: Obviously. It is the heart of science fiction to explore the human heart. The Vorkossigan books would not be anywhere near as enjoyable if Miles were not the heart of it.
Mind you, I have a beef of my own with that story. Why didn’t anyone say “to hell with it” and take the kid out?
@Hillary Rettig: I dont.
@Pogonip: Enjoying books are so much a question of personal style and the setting in which one reads them that you’re asking a near-meaningless question — especially as you position yourself. I certainly enjoyed them at them but haven’t gone back to them for some reason. If I remember correctly, if you don’t like details and symbols floating off into new spaces, you probably won’t. I mostly read non-fiction anymore, but also enjoy Riddley Walker and Vollmann, so plausibility isn’t required on my idiosyncratic shelves. But then, if your reading preferences are “contrarian” what matters most to you is the opinions of others so you can be contrary to same.
@RK: It has a strong feel of “everyone does it” so he feels righteously aggrieved that he’s the only one getting roasted for it.
@Starfish: Because there may have been a good dystopia written since 1948 and fans of dystopias would know about it.
I think dystopias are among the hardest things to make believable. Stephen King has talked about how he wrote himself into a corner in “The Stand”–OK, I’ve killed off 99% of the population and the few survivors are recreating government. Now what? Where do I go from here?
His solution was to have Harold and Nadine suddenly decide to kill the town council; he’s admitted the seams show, but he couldn’t think of anything else.
“The Hunger Games” is an acceptable dystopia but it doesn’t knock your socks off like 1984 does.
Anyone here read “If This Goes On”?
@Emma: That’s mine too. Blew the whole premise to hell. I didn’t read “Vorkossigan”
@Doug R: No, who wrote it and what’s about?
Well trump did unite us all in utter disdain for his supporters.
You know, people have pointed to a lot of little things that try to prove that Scott Adams is serious in this effort. But some small part of me believes he is really conducting a massive Turing style test. These things are all like gibberish that he’s cataloguing the responses to.
We are living in The Sheep Look Up right now.
From our new Noble Laureate:
Soul of a nation is under the knife
Death is standing in the doorway of life
In the next room a man’s fighting with his wife
@Mike in NC: I love Andy Griffith as a villain (now THAT’s contrarian!), but “AFace In The Crowd” really had nothing to do with modern talk radio and I never understood why Keith Olbermann thought it did. It’s a good movie, though.
“Murder in Coweta County,” with Griffith as the villain, is back in print!
@Pogonip: It’s by Heinlein. Part of his”future history” series. Heinlein predicted a religious takeover way back when.
I have never read the book and have put it on my library card hold list rightaway.
I feel this attitude is something that is not fully fleshed out yet. This propensity of authoritarian regimes everywhere. The first thing they do is start subjugating women. It is almost like a reflex action. Look at any of the modern authoritarian movements not just governments. Whether it be the Taliban, ISIS, Boko Haram stuff or the various so called rebel groups in sub-saharan Africa to the various cults that prop up.
Which is why I thought the latest iteration of Mad Max was fantastic. Immortan Joe is the distillation of every charismatic right winger ID of the past century. Was that script influenced by Margaret Atwood? It would seem so.
Which is another reason we should not let the bastards get away with it. Anyone who willingly supported Trump, even before all this came out; should be permanently tarred with this. This stuff coming out now is not unexpected. It is just a continuation of all the other things that have been known about him. Is anyone who knew Trump for the last 20-30 years in the public sphere really surprised by this? Is this present guy any different from the late 80’s Trump, with his vulgar behavior towards Ivana, Marla Maples etc.? He was a vulgarian then, he is a vulgarian now, he will die a vulgarian. That is not the point. The point is that his candidacy is rooted in a part of the Republican base. That base is not going anywhere and people like Todd Akin are still very much a part of that party. They should be confronted with this ALL THE TIME. We should not let the bastards get away with this.
@Pogonip: There was a nuclear war or some event (not described) that rendered most women (or men) infertile, and thus the special importance of the Handmaidens, as they still could give birth, and thus became assets to the men in power.
There’s no real descriptions that I can recall of women that couldn’t give birth; I assume they live “regular” lives like the majority of men in that society.
@Corner Stone: Never ascribe to a person cleverness when plain old run of the mill assholery will suffice.
@Pogonip: I just couldn’t tell if you dislike science fiction or dystopia.
I have labeled 10 things as Dystopia in Goodreads. Oryx and Crake (is a trilogy) by Atwood was one of my least favorite because I didn’t like how the second book was mostly about the pedophilic sex fantasies of some of the characters.
I enjoyed Wool by Hugh Howey (is also a trilogy that had such a fan base on the internet that someone gave him a book deal.) After the nuclear apocalypse, people go live underground. One of my friends didn’t like it because he said the characters were nodding at each other too much as they were walking up and down many many stairs.
The Girl with All the Gifts by M. R. Carey has a couple of badly written characters who get on my nerves– the scientist and the military dude. But it is sort of like a zombie apocalypse story, and the story is fun even though the scientist and the military dude are just not at all realistic.
Ready Player One by Ernest Cline was about a world that is awful so most of the people spend their time inside video games. This book has a lot of 1980s nostalgia, and it appeals to people who really enjoyed video games and other things from that period.
@indianbadger: Yay! Another Mad Max fan! Agreed 100% – the core of that movie is how the powerful seek to control both resources (water, oil, bullets) but also women as resources. That scene where dozens of women are lined up getting milked demonstrates this powerfully.
Cary A. Nation and others got Prohibition passed and most folks drank alcohol, even if just socially or on special occasions.
Anything’s possible, if they are persistent enough.
Um, no they didn’t. They wanted women to shut up, give their bodies over to them and make some sammiches. It came through to this young woman loud and clear at the time.
@Earl: After the election it gets better – For US. Because we won.
Sorry, I’m kind of with Rikyah on my fucks to give level at the moment. White republicans will go back to doing the things that get them upset all the time. Trump’s surrogates and campaign people will get jobs as analysts on cable news shows or go back to running their whatevers. Because non-wealthy white people are angry the press will go out in two years and interview them and write stories about how the fact that non-wealthy white people are angry is a failure of the Democrats and they won’t bother to mention that these angry white people have been voting republican since 1968, and just because they’re “supposed” to be Democrats doesn’t mean we owe them happiness. Republican leaders can figure out what to do with them. I’m not going to worry about them, even if they get angry again in two years and stomp on the mid terms.
They go out of their way to make themselves angry. I don’t feel like worrying about what they do.
“Omelas” is a very good story, not my cup of tea by any definition, it belongs to the “makes you think but is not very fun” style of literature, but there are lots of people who like that style.
I prefer something with more plot, characters and the like, but I can recognize that is very good.
Not all stories can (nor should!) be like Lord of The Rings or The Moon is a Harsh Mistress.
@RK: She sure looked guilty to me!
@geg6: Ummm, I know it’s difficult sometimes for you but I am not actually disagreeing with you.
@Pogonip: Just about the best space opera ever written, IMO. https://www.goodreads.com/series/98254-vorkosigan-saga-chronological.
Trust me: the story of the life and times of Miles Vorkosigan is worth it.
I can only imagine, for his stupid fucking sake, that he’s gathering material to create and sell a new cartoon strip about a different kind of ignorant people, under a new pen name.
Otherwise, padded walls.
We are living in The Sheep Look Up right now.
I’m not at all worried about the Hamdmaid’s Tale coming true. I am worried about the 30% or so of people in this country who wouldn’t mind America being that way at all, but they aren’t a majority and they’re shrinking every year (infuriatingly slowly, but still). I’m worried about their general influence on a state level, like turning another state into Kansas. Or on a personal level, like getting gunned down by a crazy person at church. But on a national level this stuff is always the realm of fiction.
It’s understandable to have this sort of reaction from time to time, but too much of it leads people to throw their hands up in disgust as to national politics, which leads them to ‘tap out’. That doesn’t help.
To the folks that are shrugging their shoulders about the 19th: haven’t we covered, in detail on this blog, that the ongoing voter ID efforts are catching women? If you live in the wrong state, change your name to your husband’s and you lose your vote. Change it because of divorce and lose your vote. We have before our eyes a modern nation, Afghanistan, that did go back to the Dark Ages for women. We have the Republican party actively seeking the enslavement of women to their bodies, everything from the denial of birth control and abortion, to ignoring or abetting rape.
Do not tell me it can’t happen here. Those bastards want it to happen here and this election will tell us exactly what percentage of the population are just fine with it.
See, he doesn’t even understand business. It’s not the blogging about Trump, per se, that is bad for business. It is the grumpy, mansplainingly superwhitey way he blogs for Trump that is expensive.
1,000 Flouncing Lurkers (was fidelioscabinet)
@Gravenstone: Tennessee ratified the 19th amendment by one vote–which was cast FOR instead of AGAINST because the state representative in question, Harry Burn, was lobbied heavily to do so by his mother. He then had to hide from a mob in the attic of the state capitol building. That was in 1920. So it was damn close, and there were those who hoped that if Tennessee voted against the amendment, there would be enough momentum against it that the other 14 states that hadn’t yet voted for it would also vote no.
Oh, goodness. It seems Adams is now endorsing Gary Johnson. I didn’t click thru to see his justification, but I assume it is because he wants the Pointy Haired Boss character to be elevated to the highest level of hijinx in the land.
Which, you will recall, ends with people in Ireland looking up at the sky and noticing the smoke drifting across the Atlantic.
Sister Rail Gun of Warm Humanitarianism
@redshirt: It’s been a long time*, but I recall something about the infertile ending up in the work camps along with the Baptists, cleaning up ecological damage. (Offred’s mother, past childbearing, was among them, IIRC.)
*After growing up among the Religious Right, the book is entirely too triggering for me to return to. Also entirely too plausible.
Gin & Tonic
@RaflW: Being an idiot can be expensive.
My father, who was a very good card player, used to have a favorite saying which, of course, doesn’t translate well into English, but the gist is “stupid people shouldn’t play cards.”
@Starfish: I like well-written material that has a plot that makes sense.
You want dystopia? Obtain a copy of A Mountain Walked by S.T. Joshi, ed., and read “John Four” by Caitlin Kiernan. It’s great. I have an eye out for more of her stuff.
@RaflW: Well, he’s endorsed everybody now!
@RaflW: Yep, if he stopped at ‘Trump is a master salesman, and he uses the following techniques to sell his case’, there would not be the same rejection of Adams.
@Gin & Tonic:
All respect to your dad, but that saying is better said as, “stupid people shouldn’t play cards, unless they play them with me”.
@Pogonip: If you’re still around, try John Brunner. Brit, sci fi writer in the 70’s and 80’s. His focus is less formally political, more social/ecological/population issues. Stand on Zanzibar and The Sheep Look Up were scarily believable; and we’re closer now than we were then. Shockwave Rider is a good tale of a totally digitized, no privacy future; a little Deus Ex Machina, but WTF.
His response to “how would we get there” is basically “are you fuckin’ with me? Look at us now.”
@shomi: fuck you, you fucking fuck. Sideways with a rusty shovel.
The Handmaid’s Tale is the logical outcome of denying women’s agency. You don’t seem at all troubled by it.
So, once again, go and fuck your miserable self.
@shomi: Thank you so much for providing a clear example of the 75% of the internet that is crap. One assumes such was your intention.
BBC Oct 13th interview: Atwood: Handmaid’s Tale has become a meme in US politics
@Pogonip: I have no idea why men would want to tolerate such a system but surely you are aware that parts of it already exist in some places and that a good number on conservative Christiams would erlcome it here.
The true believers do not want an exclusion for abortion in case of rape or incest; as all those dirty woman will claim they were raped just so they can get an abortion. Dirty heathen harlots, the whole lot of ’em.
@trollhattan: Well, there’s no doubt he would change Washington. It’s just that a bombed out apocalyptic landscape doesn’t appeal to a majority (so far).
“So Scott isn’t rating Trump’s chances at 98% anymore?”
Apparently not and IT’S GOING TO BE ALL THE FAULT OF THE FEMALES if heaven does not descend to earth in short order.
@Pogonip: Le Guin is quite capable of writing a story. In this case she decided to do something different.
@Pogonip: I have to agree with you. I hated the implausibility of The Handmaiden’s Tale. Thought it was pitiful. Now if Joan Didion had used the same themes, she would have created a [email protected]scav: @scav:
Villago Delenda Est
All the military academies need to be purged of Christianists. Period. End of discussion. You cannot take the oath and uphold and defend the Constitution unless you realize that Freedom of Religion REQUIRES Freedom FROM Religion.
@Gelfling 545: Yeah, I’m with Pogonip, too. I never thought Atwood did a good enough job explaining how the United States got from Point A to Point B. The little brief capsule summary to me didn’t tie up the many, many loose ends. I agree with your point that some people would be perfectly ok with living in such a system.
I don’t think Afghanistan is a great comparator here, because there are a bunch of structural differences between post-Soviet Afghanistan and the United States (mostly that the US has more or less arrived at women’s equality on its own, rather than as something imposed by foreigners who took over their government).
I agree with whoever it was upthread (if that was you also, Pogonip, apologies) that the novel would have been better if it had written the background, instead of the not-exactly-a-story it actually tells. The hypothetical novel The Gilead Revolution would be a bang-up read, but I don’t think Atwood has the plot/action/violence chops to write it; that’s really not her speed. (Neither is believable, internally-consistent speculative fiction, IMO, but okay.)
JR in WV
Maybe I can get a room at Trump’s Old Post Office Hotel in order to attend future-President Clinton’s inauguration? Cheap!!
Maybe he’ll close it for the week around that party? No, he wouldn’t give up potential money, would he?
JR in WV
Don’t play naive… Pence is part of a party which controls Indiana, they pass the absurd laws they want to pass, and jail the people they want to jail. Since all facets of state government are under their control, they could pick you up driving across the state on I-80 and bury you under a rural county jail.
Without a phone call, how could you escape from a government crooked from the top to the bottom? Who would go to Indiana and look for you?
To simplify a situation and place the blame for a state’s immoral and religiously based imprisonment of women on the governor of that state is no reason to deny the realty of that woman’s imprisonment. He could pardon her if he wasn’t leading the immorality of the theocracy in Indiana.
@joel hanes: And, if anyone is so inclined, William Gibson (the guy who coined the term “cyberspace” and why a certain web browser is called “Chrome”) in his latest book The Peripheral, references a situation called “the jackpot” that occurred before the story begins, in which multiple events allow the complete corporate takeover of the planet, to the absolute detriment of 99% of us regular people.
This novel is a departure from his usual farther-in-future storylines, and encompasses something closer to the next fifteen-twenty years, if that far. He says he’ll elaborate on the actual machinations of the jackpot in his next novel.
I find Gibson’s work to be uncomfortable in several ways, in that he seems to be able to extrapolate new technologies as well as anyone.
(Now if I can only get to Chiba City and afford a set of Zeiss-Nikon eyes, since my natural ones are deteriorating rapidly. Those cheap-ass Ono-Sendai jobs will eventually rot your optic nerves…)
Stand on Zanzibar and The Sheep Look Up were scarily believable;
… and The Hipcrime Vocab from the former will subvert your ideas in much the same way as Ambrose Bierce or Mark Twain. (Shalmaneser was a swing and a miss, but few of us working on computers in the 1970s understood just how far silicon integration could be driven. I went to work at Amdahl in 1981 with the idea that I might be present when Shalmaneser or HAL was built, somewhere down the line.)
@Peale: I care because having one of our two parties be openly racist/white supremacist is not healthy. Not only because there’s always a chance of a hiccup and them winning, but because openly espousing these things is terrible for the country and our fellow citizens. Trump and Trumpism need to be repudiated by the Republican party or its successor and I don’t see that happening.
Haven’t read the book, but my guess (as a former reviewer of SF) is Gibson’s alluding to the 1952 Heinlein short story “The Year of the Jackpot” in which a statistician notes that a whole shitpot of trendlines for various measured quantities are about to hit their extreme values at the same time in a few months, with (as the course of the story shows) drastic results. IMO the allusion implies that in the novel’s world, a whole shitpot of socio-politico-economic trends came together at once & that was what enabled & catalyzed the corporate takeover; IOW the corporations “hit the jackpot” & wound up ruling the world.
@redshirt: Add Kurt Vonnegut’s Player Piano, and I think you’ve got them all.
@Uncle Cosmo: @Uncle Cosmo: You are right. I went back and dug through my SF collection and found the reference you did – I thought I had remembered the terminology somewhere. Thanks!
(Scary to think how close we might actually be, even without a huge coronal explosion.)
Also too: Gilead is the name of the fallen kingdom in Steven King’s The Dark Tower series.
To note: There’s an actual Gilead, ME, about 40 miles north of where King keeps his summer home (also referenced in The Dark Tower).
If the narrative itself doesn’t convey that impression, the last chapter should.
Successes — or lack of them — with Spoiled American Princesses is not always a concern of novelists.