Musings On Dystopia and 1917

As you might be aware, Ridley’s Scott’s undeniably influential (but commercially disappointing) movie “Blade Runner” is being re-re-released in theaters and on DVD as the final “Director’s Cut”. This 1981 visual masterpiece helped launch the cyberpunk movement here and in Japan. Even today, the film continues to influence pop culture.

The Year 2019

Scott’s particular notions of future dystopia are so influential because as per the above (excellent) interview, he presented seamless integration of production and art design so as to create in effect an additional character actor.

We thought alot about this as we were up on and around Capitol Hill today. It’s a strange time. Yet we couldn’t shake the vibe that our demotic age is entering a new kind of dystopia. Not Scott’s per say — although his was set in 2019 so we have some time. And not Orwell’s. Ours is the palsied lurchings of non-functioning authoritarianism. The Fist of Play Dough.

If Scott offered consciously applied, carefully crafted production and art design, our dysnfunctional dystopia is simply ad hoc. This is befitting for a demotic society — Demos itself generates the very absurdities accepted nonchalantly as everyday fact which then in turn define the next demotic reality: the Warlord’s odd press conference coincident with the Dali Lama cruising around the Hill, Armenians getting pounded and piled upon by Democrats and Republicans (again), all while the Ellen Degeneres’ dog situation makes the NBC Evening News and is wall-to-wall cable coverage. Together, like Scott’s production design, they are an additional character actor in our lives. Such a societal situation precisely fits Jaques Barzun’s technical definition of decadence.

What is so extraordinary? How passively we accept it all. Incompetent Fist of Play Dough is acknowledged like the sunrise. Clever snark now replaces active opposition. It was one thing early in 2003 for the netroots and a few lonely others to rage about the Administration’s incompetence; that’s now so obvious even Naomi Wolf writes about it. It just is. Congress’ ineffectiveness (pre and post 2006) adds more goo on the dough.

The Democrats, to paraphrase UBL, continue to prove themselves to be “a weak horse” — not just to this pathetic White House but to their own Democratic base. Whether Iraq, Oversight, SCHIP, the flawed Democrat FISA bill derailed, Armenia or [insert another item here] a line drawn in the sand means nothing. Pelosi can’t even speak out effectively in defense of a smeared 2 year old child. This is a gang addicted to circular firing squads. Talking to Democrats one almost gets this subliminal vibe of pleading “We know our self esteem is low, please fix us.”

Could a change in Executive in 2008 arrest if not reverse this dystopian dynamic? We noted below skepticism, asking how long this current situation can last. Perhaps it is our historical destiny to demonstrate the true power of Inertia. Perhaps. But being on the Hill today, there seemed just the slightest whiff of February 1917 in the Fall breeze.

We hope we’re wrong. Here’s to hoping for and seeing meaningful and effective change in 2008. . . .