Election day in the United States of America is almost upon us, and let's be honest: Our selections at the poles, especially for who gets to be #president, are not choices to be taken lightly. Our country has suffered serious blows to what we thought was true, the integrity of the media, our ongoing wars with seven different countries, and even our sense of safety when trying to openly examine what's what in a free exchange of ideas. We should not only be concerned about who might become our next president, but how informed #WeThePeople care to be when casting our ballot. The consequences of who we elect will be on our hands.
I'm not writing this to tell you who to vote for. Many people have made up their minds as to who the clear choice is. Others are undecided, feeling stuck between a rock and a hard place. Regardless of your position, it is important to examine exactly what (not who) you're standing behind when you make your decision.
Here is a list of ten movies and shows that might help you to reflect on the events that have lead us up to this point, before you make your selection. Note: Look for hyper-links that you can right click, for expanded information.
10. My Little Pony: The Cutie Map (Part 1&2)
Probably one of the most unsettling stories to grace children's television this century, #TheCutieMap is the story of a pony village who's devotion to equality has crossed over into full fledged cult Communism. Their leader acts as a kind of dictator/cult leader who has stripped everyone of the things that gave them their individuality, making sure that no one's special talent ever lets them rise above anyone else in the group, or make others feel inferior.
This is a commentary that reveals the ridiculousness of mandating that everyone gets an equal outcome, rather than have equal rights to be free and chose whether or not to create their own opportunities. The idea is made more chilling by demonstrating a march that strictly enforces their leader's ideology. All must join in with glowing smiles, less they be suspected of being a threat to the ways of the group.
This is a method of populous control that has been implemented many times in history.
When most people think of this #GeorgeOrwell classic, the first phrase that come to mind is:
"Big Brother Is Watching You."
Which is then followed by the image of cameras monitoring our every move. Indeed, that is part of it, but when you take a closer look you'll realized that the story of Winston Smith has accurately predicted almost every aspect of our modern lives, as demonstrated in the trailer for the movie:
"It is not enough that you obey Big Brother, you must love him."
This statement embodies the essence of total control through indoctrination and the subversion of the very thoughts within our own heads, so that their is no room for disagreement with the government. 1984 presents a world where devices that bombard civilization with a constant barrage of misinformation can also keep watch over their every action at the same time. History is constantly being re-written to fit the ever-changing party narrative, and language is being reduced to a minimalist version of itself, with lists of acceptable words and phrases.
Does that sound familiar? There are three key "Orwellian" words that define these methods of control. "Newspeak" is a word born out of what would later be deemed "politically correct" language, wherein not using it is frowned upon. You may find someone saying something like:
"Anti-politically correct is just a fancy way of saying you're a bigot."
Therefore establishing the idea that if your ideas don't fit the narrative, then you stand with bad people who only wish to offend and hurt good people. If you are found guilty, you are made to confess and apologize, before being ostracized. Another term coined for this is "Kafkatrap." The snare is when people start ever so gradually narrowing the avenue of what is deemed to be offensive until the approved limitations on language render you incapable of expressing any contrary ideas. To do this leads you to the second of the three words, which is "Thoughtcrime." In the 1984 book and the movie, people are perfectly conditioned to fear "Thoughtcrime" through a daily ritual called the "Two Minutes of Hate."
As you can see, the basic idea is to get them to shout down anyone with an idea contrary to their indoctrination so loudly that the idea is drowned out in the noise and others will fear the consequences of repeating it.
"Freedom is the right to tell people what they do not want to hear."
— George Orwell
Our hero is held indefinitely without trial for his transgressions. The same can happen here, and now. When Winston confronts his jailer with their hypocrisy, "doublespeak" (the third word), is implemented. This is the act of holding two contrary ideas as true at the same time. That way any argument made can be refuted in the mind of Big Brother.
8. Fahrenheit 451
Based on the #RayBradbury classic book that I highly suggest you read, #Fahrenheit451 continues Orwell's themes of a culture of controlled and oversimplified information. The protagonist starts off as a fireman in a world where that job description means showing up to houses that contain books and burning them down. He is perplexed that the inhabitants care so much for their illegal novels, biographies, and histories, that he does the unthinkable. He collects his own and starts reading them.
While the theme of book burning is generally assumed to be about #censorship, the actual moral of the story is the gradual paring down of information into what Bradbury refers to as "factoids" until a small blip of information feels like the whole of the truth to the general public. I think we calls those #memes now.
“If you don't want a man unhappy politically, don't give him two sides to a question to worry him; give him one. Better yet, give him none. Let him forget there is such a thing as war. If the government is inefficient, top-heavy, and tax-mad, better it be all those than that people worry over it. Peace, Montag. Give the people contests they win by remembering the words to more popular songs or the names of state capitals or how much corn Iowa grew last year. Cram them full of noncombustible data, chock them so damned full of 'facts' they feel stuffed, but absolutely 'brilliant' with information. Then they'll feel they're thinking, they'll get a sense of motion without moving. And they'll be happy, because facts of that sort don't change.”
― Ray Bradbury, 'Fahrenheit 451'
Remember that quote, the next time you take a Facebook quiz.
The book presents a world where people, content with what they think they know, are more concerned with their television shows (Bradbury predicted reality television as well as televised car chases, and false flags) than the impending threat of nuclear war. Kind of ironic, seeing as more people post on social media about what happened on #TheWalkingDead than they do about Russia parking their armies and nuclear missals 50 miles from American boarders.
Just because the book (excuse me, movie) isn't directly about censorship, that doesn't mean it can't show us how the limitations placed on information by a minority (numeral not racial) ideology, lead to censorship becoming acceptable by a majority. Just look at how right now, moves are being made to create laws that will punish those who question climate change, make criticisms of religious ideologies, get corporate funding to make political criticisms, or allow government to conspire with social media to censor those who create content of a contrary nature.
In one school, students are even being required to have their parents sign off on being allowed to even read Ray Bradbury's prophetic novel. #Amazon has taken to removing offensive words from classic novels, and apps offer the same service. Most of these things have already come to pass in the once free EU and the UN has acknowledged that the subjugation of free expression and thought is becoming a global phenomena.
7. The Lego Movie
If Fahrenheit 451 were a comedy, it might be #TheLegoMovie. Set in a world where everyone is just fine with watching repetitive TV shows, drinking overpriced coffee, and building what they're told to build, one man learns that being a generic run-of-the-mill guy doesn't mean that he isn't creative or special. The only problem is that in Lego City there is no separation between big business and big government, and that leaves no room for individuals to build or create things for themselves that make them happy. Will this block-based society wake up to the dangers of forever living how someone else thinks they should, or will they be too distracted by free tacos to care?
6. Monster High: Fright On & Ghouls Rule
This time, I'm giving you a #MonsterHigh double feature to watch. The first is titled #FrightOn, a wonderful and poignant allegory about how both politicians and community leaders will work together to rev up racial tensions between people, so that they can slip in and take more power for themselves while everyone else is fighting. I found this cautionary tale so spot on, that I wrote a full article about it that you can read by clicking here.
In #GhoulsRule the kids at Monster High must face the wrath of human kids who want to shape how the public perceive them by vandalizing their school, dressing up in masks to make it look like monsters vandalized the human school, and harassing them with berating words as well as throwing eggs and pumpkins at them. Why? To get them to retaliate so more trouble will ensue. You can't pretend to be the good guy if you're fighting the good guys.
This reflects current events where instigators will show up at a political opposition's gathering and behave violently towards the attendees, to make them fearful or even fight back, so that their targets will potentially look like they're the bad guys when the cameras are turned on.
Sometimes it won't be about public perception, but plain intimidation, such as when homeless woman Denise Scott was harangued and assaulted for holding a hand-written cardboard sign expressing her political opinions, as protected by the first amendment. There's a Go Fund Me account to help her if you wish to do so. Click here. Whether you agree with her point of view or not, she deserves better.
It's worth noting that all of these slanderous and violent fear tactics have been employed before, by Hitler's supporters who were known as #BrownShirts. They got their start showing up at the rallies of Adolf's opposition to make trouble and destroy property, so that people would get the message to stay away.
5. Captain America: The Winter Soldier
#CaptainAmerica has a problem. The world of freedom he fought for is gone, fallen into chaos and turmoil, growing more dangerous by the day, and the citizens he has sworn to protect are being manipulated into believing that in order to regain peace and security, they must sacrifice some of their inalienable human rights. However, as presented in this masterful scene from the film, it is by design.
The very same people who are offering to protect the citizens of the world are the ones who are also threatening them, by instigating wars and other international turmoil.
4. The Star War Prequels
Love the prequels or hate them, where most movies show rebellion, #StarWars Episodes 1–3 have the rare distinction of being among the few movies to demonstrate how a fascist regime slowly creeps into power, unnoticed until it is too late.
Aside from being the story of how #DarthVader got his groove, it also very accurately shows how elites work, controlling and pitting different groups against each other from behind the scenes, so that they are the ones with the most power, no matter what the end game is.
If you want to gain a greater appreciation for these films, I will also recommend the documentary The Prequels Strike Back, which I wrote about here.
3. Harry Potter And The Order Of The Phoenix
Any good politician knows the value of young people. They're inexperienced, impressionable, and generally make decisions based on emotion rather than logic. That's why Nazi Germany created the Hitler Youth, Stalin held youth marches, and school campuses are used as political battle grounds, to assert their influence on how young people think. If #OrderOfThePhoenix shows anything, it's that there is no shortage of (sometimes) well meaning, yet aggressive students looking for someone to grant them the authority to bully their pears into accepting the "greater good."
A large number of students will fall into line if a social movement sounds vaguely virtuous and community pressure on campus is asserted in just the right way, but those who don't fall into line face a hostile road ahead, where healthy learning environments based on the free market of ideas are quickly transformed into a wasteland of browbeating dogmatists, bent on controlling what people see and think.
Indeed, today's schools seem to be facilitating a huge step backwards, where students believe it is their right to tell reporters what they can and can't cover, who can wear what on Halloween, or even justify re-establishing segregation, undoing all the progress and sacrifices Martin Luther King, Jr. and his followers made because they believed that the content of a person's character and not the color of their skin defined them.
Now, schools seem to have become indoctrination centers, and bullies the authority. Stand up for your rights and be singled out for your "lies."
2. V For Vendetta
It's the movie and graphic novel that inspired Anonymous & Wikileaks. There are many themes running through this #AlanMoore penned graphic novel, but one of them stands out as particularly relevant: Ideas are bulletproof.
For example, there are many that want to argue that because Martin Luther King, Jr. was murdered, his belief in peaceful protest was misguided. After all, he died by violence and the racism that he stood against, still exists. Those who believe this are missing a fundamental bit of wisdom that Dr. King understood all too clearly. He stated that he may not make it to the promised land. He knew there were people gunning for him, but he also believed that peace could not be achieved through violence (that would be doublethink) and that his ideas were stronger than the flesh. They could live on in others.
That's why these days, so many institutions are fighting for how people interpret ideas. If one's meaning is lost, then it loses its power to change things. #VForVendetta shows propaganda peddlers being inserted in everything from churches and scientific institutions, to late-night talk shows, to ensure that this happens. Their ardent followers accept what they tell them as confirmed fact.
Also, those who would have you renounce the values of salvation through peace and freedom work hard to focus your attention on the flaws and scandals attached to their advocates, rather than the content behind their ideas. After all, it's much harder to argue for a point, no matter how legitimate it may be, if the person who originally made it is thought of as some kind of degenerate. Remember what was on the telescreen during Winston Smith's walk home?
“I shall die here. Every last inch of me shall perish. Except one. An inch. It's small and it's fragile and it's the only thing in the world worth having. we must never lose it, or sell it, or give it away. We must never let them take it from us.”
― Alan Moore, 'V for Vendetta'
1. Every Star Trek Episode Featuring The Borg
Any fan of #StarTrek will tell you that the blend of technology and living beings who have been assimilated into a giant hive mind known as the #Borg, are the most terrifying threat any Federation star ship could face. No matter what your culture, gender, beliefs, or values might be, if you cross their path you will be forcibly made a part of their collective. You will lose all individuality and memory of who you once were in favor of what it deems to be the most efficient way of life, devoid of any joy or soul.
They are not one alien race but thousands, all sacrificed in the ultimate experiment in multicultural globalization that infiltrates all individuality, in service of a physical and technological village. You'd wonder who would be so crazy to actually embrace such a life, but there are always people who think it wold be better for everyone.
Unfortunately, many people didn't head the lessons of Star Trek or history and we're once more at it again. This time we are not only going to have to resist on a social level, but with the internet and computers ingrained in every aspect of our lives, a technological one. However, isn't embracing other cultures a good thing? Didn't Spock say that:
"The needs of the many outweigh the needs of the few." ?
Yes, on both counts, but remember that Spock freely made the choice to sacrifice himself for the needs of his friends; it wasn't forced upon him. The same goes for cultural beliefs and practices. If we were to assimilate everyone into one world super-culture against their will, people would be forced to live by the same values and standards, whether they believe in them or not. If they don't, they may resort to forcibly imposing them on their fellow human beings.
People must be able to relocate themselves to areas where they are free to engage in their own values and practices, so far as they don't encroach on the freedom of others. They also need to be free to defend those areas from people who would take them away. With no place to escape to if those standards become enforced with a totalitarian iron fist, resistance will be eminent and that's usually when things get ugly.
Unfortunately, the seeds for this world collective are being sewn right now on economic, political and most recently on a technological level, when America gave up control of the World Wide Web to a global conglomerate that doesn't exactly value the free thinking internet.
Once we know who our next president will be, our work will not be over, but only just beginning, at least for those of us who want to make a difference. You'll notice that messages in the above mentioned movies focus mainly on how citizens behave, what we allow to happen, and not as much on what the people in power do. There are those who believe that our vote doesn't count for anything, that our president will be picked for us. Even if that is true, you should go vote anyway, because in the words of The Sex Pistols former front man Johnny "Rotten" Lydon,
“If you’re not voting, not contributing, you’re demanding to be ignored."
Don't like your choices? Consider that refusing to choose is still a choice. People in power know this to be true. As long as the citizens of the world move when they say move, go to war when they say war, work for them when they say work, they'll always have the ability to manipulate events in their favor, but what happens when we say no?
“Since mankind's dawn, a handful of oppressors have accepted the responsibility over our lives that we should have accepted for ourselves. By doing so, they took our power. By doing nothing, we gave it away. We've seen where their way leads, through camps and wars, towards the slaughterhouse.”
― Alan Moore, 'V for Vendetta'
Now, go watch some movies, read some books, vote, then go find the things that help you learn more and become better.
Forget messages of the environment, if you can't wait for the sequel, just take a look at how America is subjugating the people of Haiti, while our government helps themselves to their vast amounts of gold and oil. You might also want to look at who's handling the billions of dollars in relief money that was donated to them, but they never got, and who gave out/took the contracts to operate in their country.
Wag The Dog
If there's a scandal within the government, maybe an affair, create a fake crises to distract the public. Hey, it's job security.
Those who are in control can sell out everything you have from underneath you, without giving a damn about how it effects your life. Once they're in power, they'll find ways to keep you in their power, no matter what you do.
We'll let #DenisLeary have the last word. God bless'em.
I should note that I'm not at all feeling suicidal, nor am I prone to scandal. If either of those things should be reported to happen to me, question them, and know that I was on the right track. What movie or show did I miss? Tell us about it in the comments, but please try not to be as obvious as Idiocracy or The Hunger Games.