In this prelude to the Trumpian era, we find ourselves unsure. What does it all mean? And what will it mean in the years to come? Perhaps it is nothing more than the usual US election hype and drama playing out. Or perhaps we are witnessing a turning point: something a little more important than it may at first seem.
This evening I watched Pleasantville for the first time. To be honest, I was ignorant to what it was even about. For those who don’t know, I recommend you give it a look before you read this. I’ll do my best not to kill the movie, but I can’t really give the monologue I’m planning without a few spoilers.
It struck me as a particularly poignant film to be watching at this time of transition. The people of America have spoken and have opted for making “America great again”. We are left wondering what greatness it is exactly that they seek. I’ll leave you to ponder your own thoughts on that for a moment because when I went to write my own, I realised just how many variants there may be.
It could be that this assumption is in itself flawed and that Americans actually just voted for change. A switch from a classical politician to someone who might do things differently. Maybe they voted for someone who they could relate to as having come from a corporate rather than political background. In reality, it must be assumed that there are several permutations of many different reasons. Each existing on its own continuum.
I suspect though, that when it boils down to it, some sort of variation on Pleasantville is exactly what is being sought. The specifics can be fiddled and changed, but the core emotions remain. The Trump line seems to be about making a secure, safe, predictable comfort zone… if only for the select few that the vision may comprise.
For it takes no genius to see that this is the state of modern democracy: It is an institution that relies on the strength of emotion to override fact or logic. The fruition of a lifetime of priming by marketing agencies and a top-down approach to social order.
The parallels in Pleasantville are not exactly hidden and while the emphasis is clearly a reminder of America’s past racial issues and segregation, it casts a net over greater social attitudes: the importance of free thought and emotional expression.
It is the warning tone of the film that stayed with me most though. Those whose endeavours tended toward ‘pleasantness’ were the seen as the agents of oppression and violence. Those whose resistance to flexibility held them contained in ignorance found themselves as puppets to the whims of he who would restore the balance of ‘normal’. Those who strove to evolve and grow according to their inner drive became victims.
It is not a new idea that humans seem to react to the unknown with violence. History shows us time and again. History also reminds us that there are certain signs which must be heeded. That there are certain threshold which, once passed, give a terrible momentum and may lead to horrible events. At the risk of adding to the fear-mongering that has been rife in recent times, I leave you with my recommendation to watch Pleasantville (with a thinking mind) and to remember that “All that is necessary for the triumph of evil is that good men do nothing” (Edmund Burke).
In this case, it seems it is not men but women who are leading the charge on this one… and they seem to be doing it in the buff…
Esquire- This is What Happened When 100 Women Got Naked at the Republican National Convention (NSFW)
Still, the lads aren’t absent in their warnings. Charlie even had something to say. When was the last time you saw him saying anything useful? ;0)
Then there are those offering tips for self-care and local action:
Mashable- 4 Positive Ways to Take Action After Trump’s Victory
To keep things in perspective, this is what is happening in other parts of the world that have brought in ‘hard-line’ leaders… Not saying it’s the same thing, but is it?
The New York Times- They are Slaughtering Us Like Animals
And by the way, since I’m posting this on Christmas…
MERRY CHRISTMAS :0)