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Monday, August 14, 2017

The Handmaid's Tale - Feminist Fantasy

Note the corpse dangling in the background.


I've resisted watching this TV series since they started advertising it on Hulu.
It's been nominated for something like 13 Emmys. That should have been my first clue. They've been running promos for it for months and what I saw I did not like. So let me be up front about it. I came into this show with more than a little prejudice against it. The wife wanted to check it out, so we did.  It was exactly what I expected. 

Here's the bullet point backstory.
  1. The United States has fallen to the gun-toting religious right dominated by oppressive males who believe they are superior to women and have a right to a better life just because.
  2. The remnant of the loyal US military is fighting it out somewhere in Alaska. All the good progressives, LGBTQ et al people and Marxists tried to escape to Canada.
  3. Women are immediately denied property rights, their money is confiscated.
  4. Gays, transgenders and liberals are hung from a wall and their bodies left hanging as a warning to the disobedient.
  5. Young tough looking guys with guns are everywhere making sure the oppressed stay oppressed.
  6. In a flashback to a feminist protest, these young toughs with machine guns mow down lesbian women and metro-sexual men.
  7. The greedy corporations have wrecked the environment and caused most women to become sterile.  The few women that are not sterile are kept in religious gulags where they serve as baby machines for the "commanders" - elite male leaders of the new regime.
  8. Lesbians are murdered if caught, but not if they are fertile. Men treat women as objects. Books are burned. Women aren't allowed to read.
  9. Women who are not useful or who are uncooperative are sent to work cleaning up toxic waste or presumably working farms and factories. As women in nun-like outfits pass on the street on their way to shopping, you see corpses of the typical people Christians are supposed to hate hanging from the sides of buildings.
  10. In the backstory, "they" set up false attacks on the US and blamed it on terrorists and then proclaimed marshal law and took over the government. The US Flag now flies over Alaska and only has 2 stars.
  11. God is the bad guy here. All good liberal churches (Catholic or Episcopal churches for instance) are burned down and wrecked by these fanatic Protestants. The Bible is quoted in church and taken quite literally where punishments are concerned (although the texts get taken out of context.
  12. Liberals are the oppressed and slavery is back - fertile women are being traded on the international market.
The Hand Maid's Tale Earns 3 Raspberries - my lowest
rating. Watching this thing is like having a root canal.
Joseph Goebbels would be proud of the producers of "The Handmaid's Tale".  That's some seriously sneaky propaganda going there. The idea that is being promoted here is this.  Christian conservatives have apparently decided to overthrow the government and set up a strong oppressive central government that deals in human trade. In doing so, they have apparently adopted Saul Alinsky's Rules for Radicals in a twisted sort of Westbrook Baptist Church sort of Facist Nationalism. Note this, like Hitler's version is not called socialism, although it bears all the earmarks of socialism - gulags, stormtroopers, oppressive government, militarism, uniforms, propaganda and fear tactics. They accuse the obviously conservative oppressors of abolishing the constitution and the rule of law, which is, of course, and Alinsky tactic used frequently by the left.With the slave trade and all, it looks like the Democrat South won the second Civil War, except it's couched in conservative/libertarian memes.

The main protagonist is the quintessential oppressed female. In the opening sequence, she and her black boyfriend and their child are pursued by paramilitary soldiers. The boyfriend is shot, the child stolen and she is taken to the women's cow barn to serve as breeding stock. She is pale, thin, and they make up her eyes with dark circles under them so she'll look like one of those abused women from Auschwitz.

It's a feminist/liberal fantasy of how oppressive a male-dominated Christian society would be.

Moral of the Story:  This is what it will be like if we don't oppress these awful Christian right wingers first. The only way to achieve the worker's utopia is to rid ourselves of the guns and the religion and the conservative opinions.

The writers of the story are wonderfully dishonest people. The trouble with this kind of story is that it doesn't fit with reality at all, unless you live in a surreal fantasy world, which I'm beginning to believe is where most progressives live these days. Even with one of my favorite actresses, Yvonne Strahovski, who played Sarah on "Chuck", the series falls short. It's absolutely depressing and miserable and insulting to me as a Christian, but the progressive left, unlike if I were Muslim, does not allow me to feel insulted when my religion is maligned.  Catholics and liberal Protestants are given a by with "Handmaid's Tale". They are, after all, progressives by and large.

Women seem to particularly like this show, oddly enough. Even the Christian women being maligned in this TV show seem mesmerized by it. I believe that this is how it happens that we slowly shift the culture toward some really awful ideas and attitudes. How else do you get people to become Nazis, Communists, or Maoists. How else do you get people to stand above a field full of human beings with a 50 caliber machine gun and mow them down row on row or drop gas pellets into a shower room full of Jews.You pound people with the kind of ideas that, true or not, make enemies and not people out of some segment of the population. Hitler did it with the Jews. The progressive left is doing it with the Christian right. Once we reach a tipping point where there are more progressives than conservatives, then the hunt will be on.

It's propaganda like Handmaid, masquerading as entertainment that will do it to us.

© 2017 by Tom King

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