I’ve been re-watching Babylon 5 recently, and I’m almost at the end of Season 3, when things really get ugly. I was thinking about the characters, and how difficult it was for them to take a stand against the destructive forces in their universe.
And then I started thinking about other films in modern pop culture, and how there really seems to be a focus on the dystopias – societies that are harmful to the large majority of the people, or that utilize fear and ignorance to gain power over the masses. Books like The Hunger Games, Divergent, and The Maze Runner are all being turned into popular films.
The concept isn’t new. Classics like Nineteen Eighty Four and Animal Farm by George Orwell, Brave New World by Aldous Huxley, The Lord of the Flies by William Golding, and many others have warned of horrible futures for many, many years. Recent years have seen many more stories of dystopias, though.
What’s the appeal?
I think it is because we are living in more of a dystopia than we would like to believe. The uncomfortable conditions that so many people live in, the fear of speaking out against those in power, hits awfully close to home.
We like to see the heroes and heroines win. If the more or less ordinary individuals in the books and film can overcome the nearly impossible odds, perhaps there is still hope for us. Perhaps one day we, too, will see an end to the oppression, to the power struggles, the racism, sexism, classism and all the other -isms that separate us, that use our differences to engender hatred instead of celebration.
Perhaps. But it won’t happen if there aren’t those courageous enough to stand up, to speak up, even under threat of violence. Those in power play the fear game well. Big Brother is watching you.
And I admit, I have observed in silence. I have been afraid to speak my truth when I have seen abuse of power or privilege, or even instances of ignorance or hatred. I am somewhat ashamed to admit that I recently unfollowed a friend on Facebook who was posting items of intolerance rather than calling that person out.
I am constantly in awe of my friends who speak out regularly, on a daily or hourly basis. You constantly educate me about my ignorance and privilege, and I am honestly grateful. I appreciate the opportunity to be more sensitive to the experiences of others.
I am working on speaking my truth more frequently. I’m a peacekeeper by nature – I don’t like conflict. So this is very challenging for me. I look to my warrior friends, and I hope one day to have as much courage and understanding as you do. Thank you for the work that you do. You are my heroes and heroines – my Katniss Everdeens, my Beatrice Priors, my Thomas’s. Please keep it up, because you give me courage.
Do you find it easy or difficult to speak your truth?