After seeing repetition after repetition of the same regurgitated apocalypse themed series and film I have had enough.
It (arguably) started with the Walking Dead; from what I can tell, the first show to become famous enough that pretty much everyone I know has seen it and can speak passionately about the characters and the story in all its glory, controversies, faults and all. Next came Fear The Walking Dead, a spin off from the perspective of another family in a different part of the world. There are films like World War Z, I Am Legend, Z Nation, Plan Z, so many zombie films, and that’s just off the top of my head. There’s also more comedic films like Zombieland, Shaun of the Dead, and Cocknies VS Zombies, iZombie and Warm Bodies. The list goes on and on.
But why do people enjoy glorifying destruction so much all of a sudden? The idea is clearly an overused, over saturated one, and yet more and more Netflix Originals, more films, more merchandise, more conversations on survivalism are being initiated and circulated relentlessly. And why are they all so tragically tongue in cheek? From what I have seen, this nihilistic trend has evolved into glorifying cheap travel and minimalism, getting rid of all your possessions and starting anew. Buzzwords like ‘adventure’, ‘tribal’, ‘explorer’ are thrown around on dating sites, blogs, social media, and this idea of beginning over on a fresh slate has never been marketed and desired so much. I am certainly done with mindlessly following the trend in hopes of a better story-line, a more original take, a positive outcome, and I have a theory.
Let’s first take the easy route (somewhat hypocritically) and point out the obvious. Donald Trump. Hear me out.
With all this negative press, twisted truth, game playing, fear mongering and general mind fucking can we really blame people for giving up hope? Of course we can.
Sure, it is important to be educated, to know what is going on around us but when we read too much into the media, when we fall for the half truths and manipulative writing, and let our instinct and emotions take over, instead of looking for the whole truth, we choose the easy way out. Humanity starts to seem more and more pointless with every single word we buy into. Each newspaper speaks more and more of North Korea’s threats to the British people, America’s racists and the ignorant portion of the population killing and spreading hate, we hear of natural disasters; hurricane Harvey, flooding in Mumbai…. Politics, business and religion are becoming more and more like reality TV with each passing moment. Donald Trump, Hilary Clinton, Kim Jong-un all described as if they belong in a cartoon, Barack and Michelle Obama painted as heroes; the goodies and the baddies and all the time people are falling for these characters, letting their emotions rule their intellect, feeling overwhelmed and turning to dystopia as an escape tactic.
I sense a fear in the world, and it seems the answer to this fear is to create relateable content for the people to eat up, to play along, to dilute truth fore the sake of simplicity and agenda, and feed the human nature of addiction; seasons upon seasons, hours upon hours of regurgitated imagery and story-lines already portrayed in film, multiple films. So many dystopian universes created and explored, used to comfort, create empathy; what would you do if put in this situation? How would humanity cope with an apocalypse? How would we survive in a world so much more natural and free than the chains and cages we currently inhabit? We are victims to the desires of the rich and what better way to bury our heads in the sand and escape than dream of washing the slate clean and starting again because withdrawing from this world is so much easier to do than engage and create positive change.
I have recently started watching The Mist; an antidote to the monotony of living inside with a fractured foot and no job, and spin off of a popular book and already existing film (case and point). The characters consist mainly of clueless American citizens who quickly turn to murder, rape, and violence, typical traits of any modern television; just look at Game of Thrones for example. Have we really ran out of ideas that much that we have to demonise ourselves? The Mist jumps to stereotyping; there’s the football jock, the pretty blonde intellectually stunted girl who falls for him, the anarchist slut, the androgynous, sexually fluid, ‘fuck the system’ type and an open-minded, lightly spoken, self proclaimed hippy. The very basics of this show are shallow and lazy, and it saddens me that this is the kind of television that is more popular than the deeper stuff. And is it really a coincidence that so many characters in shows like this are named Eve? The very symbol of a pure new world.
People crave going back to nature, retiring to the countryside, away from other people, even breaking down the existing civilisation. We have made it too complicated, corrupt in such complexity we don’t know how to handle, especially when people live off filtered information, rumours and false facts spreading like wildfire with the help of easily led Facebook addicts and source-less news. No wonder everyone’s scared. But the answer is not to run away, to flee is always the cowardly option. We must take responsibility for ourselves and our actions. Stop jumping on the bandwagon and following the easy route out, complaining about our society, blaming the authority, hating other people (it is actually a popular, even desirable, trait of ours to ‘hate’ all humans).
We must cause the change we want and start focusing on a brighter future rather than simply revelling in an exaggerated cynical version of the one we live in now. Start watching films with depth, those true to their roots, with actual thought towards meaning and original thought. Yes, the world is full of bad people doing unspeakable things, but the answer is not simple comforts and escape tactics, to really make a change we must stop supporting these shallow methods of entertainment and start standing up for a brighter future.
That got a little cliche towards the end but this is something that has been playing on my mind for a while now and needed to be put into words. Hit me up and maybe we can have a conversation, otherwise carry on with your lives, but please please be aware of what you are consuming in your day to day, and do what you feel is right/honest (hopefully without putting yourself or anyone else in danger).
[PS. I was partially inspired by this post, feel free to check it out for some further reading/endorsing emotion fuelled rants]