Thursday, 27 September 2018

The oddness of the modern world!

We have been watching The Handmaid’s Tale, series two, which we set to record while we were away for most of the summer. It’s harrowing stuff. Elizabeth Moss, as the handmaid whose tale it is, is phenomenal. We have to try not to binge-watch, it’s so compelling, because we might find it all too depressing. Will it have anything like a happy ending this time?

When I first read Margaret Atwood’s novel years and years ago the story really was set in a dystopian future. The television series, however, presents us with a dystopian alternative present. The people of Canada, the country some escapees from Gilead manage to escape to, are clearly of the present; they dress like we do, protest like we do, make shrines with lots of candles and photos to missing people like we do. And even within Gilead they use computers and modern technology, or at least the men do. Women, of course, are not allowed to do such things.

And so it is really strange, and more than a little worrying, to switch from a fictional weird misogynistic society to news broadcasts where the leader of the free world is defending a man accused of sexually assaulting women in his youth. POTUS generously said:

“We’re giving the women a major chance to speak. It’s possible I’ll hear that and I’ll say: ‘Hey, I’m changing my mind.’ It’s possible.”

But he went on to say that he viewed the accusations against Kavanaugh “differently” because he himself had “had a lot of false charges made against me”.

“You have a man who is great, outstanding, but he has charges against him,” Trump said, adding: “It has happened to me many times.”

There you go!

Interestingly, not one but two men have come forward in the USA to say that they were the person who was involved in the incident with Christine Blasey Ford all those years ago. How does that come about?

And just today on the radio news a Conservative MP was saying that our security services need to target people who write articles and blogs criticising government policy. They might influence people’s thinking and undermine the government! So much for freedom of speech and a free press! Before we know it, will we see armed security guards on our streets as a matter of course, listening out for those of us who speak out of turn and dealing with us accordingly?

We find ourselves turning more and more to other sources of information than the regular news media. Freedom of the press does not seem to mean freedom from bias.

Apparently some of the political leaders feels the same way. I read this today in a report about the end of the Labour Party Conference in Liverpool:

“The Labour leader also showed his attitude to the media by simply skipping much of the press round, which usually accompanied a party conference speech, such as a traditional interview on BBC Radio 4’s Today programme. Newspaper reporters learned the hard way about how they were now perceived by the party – their desks at the conference were situated outside the main building, in a tent in a car park accessed by following signs for a “dog exercise area”.”

The world has become very strange!

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