Brave New Deal

My comment: Hmm. Seems we science fiction writers have another joining our ranks.

As far as science fiction goes, it does not rank as high in terms of hard-sf technical verisimilitude as UTOPIA by Saint Thomas Moore — some of the gaffes about what is or is not possible are glaring — an in terms of dystopias, it is not as frightening as the dark visions of George Orwell or Aldous Huxley. Nonetheless, it is solid effort, and merits high praise.

First, I must salute the narrative decision of using the “unreliable narrator” technique to portray the socialist hellhole country from the point of view of a brainwashed and lobotomized victim of the nightmare state.

She is dabbling with watercolors like a child, while depicting the various horrors in glowing terms, while brainlessly cheery music plays, as if the enormities were good.

The chilling effect on the audience as the true depravity of socialism is slowly but indirectly made clear is particularly well executed.

The tale starts with the brainless victim parroting show-trial style anathemas against oil companies, while showing that she thinks the rhinoceros to be extinct: at first, the audience is supposed to believe the narrator is uninformed, or merely mistaken, but since it is rhinos, and not, say, passenger pigeons, she says are extinct, the audience abruptly realizes the extent of the solid diet of lies the unnamed narrator must have internalized from her totalitarian propaganda sources.

Unlike George Orwell, who puts his televisor screens onstage, this more subtle dystopia merely depicts the outcome of the brainwashing, or sessions in Room 1o1, without mentioning them.

The casual mention, for example, of “medicaid for all” with no mention of the death panels or the rationing is particularly spooky.

Likewise for the indirect hint that all energy sector jobs will simply be abolished by government fiat, and the workingmen by made serfs receiving a state-mandated wage in return for meaningless make-work.

Likewise for the rather subtle hint that Western scientific thinking will simply collapse, so that engineers will consult shaman and witch-doctors for advice about how to plant crops without angering the earth spirits.

Likewise, when the slave workers are shown tearing up oil pipelines and planting mangroves, the true horror is subtle. It is only indirectly implied that the government has ordered the reduction of reclaimed and arable land back into swampland not suited for human use. The state is reducing not just energy available to the shivering masses, but also croplands.

Likewise for the casual mention of “publicly funded elections” while the audience slowly realizes the dollars from the tax serfs go to pay for only state-authorized and state-sponsored candidates. The idea that the future people would be forced to go through the motions of democracy, is even more malign that what Orwell depicts. The only thing worse than Big Brother is when you are forced to vote for him.

Likewise for the casual portrayal of “low carbon jobs” that then depict unpaid servile handmaidens caring for the children and elderly of the nomenklatura, while their own children are shipped away to concentration camps to be raised by the state — all this heartache and horror merely called “universal childcare.” Brilliant!

The subtle racism of having all Caucasians simply not be present, implying that the totalitarianism can only trample the faces of brown and black people is a little too indirect: I think some in the audience might miss the point.

The creepy ambiance slowly grows on the audience, until, only at the end, do we realize what she is describing. When the brain-damaged narrator, for example, cheerfully reports that the Green New Deal “changed the way that we eat” of course she is referring to the mass starvation and cannibalism that followed Maoist and Stalinist orchestrated famines.

If I had to criticize the story, I would say that the sappy, semi-literate, childlike tone of the voice actress may have been meant to add to the ambiance of a nightmare, but, in my opinion, it goes too far, and detracts from the credibility. No one is that stupid.

Another criticism is that at some parts, it is too subtle. As a bit of satirical dark humor, perhaps lost on some members of the audience, the final shock-cut scene uses a clever framing device: the final scene is seen through the window, while the whole surrounding narrative, is narrated by a passenger on an otherwise empty (and perhaps motionless) highspeed rail train.

This is a tongue in cheek cut may be lost on some of the audience. No clearly or more uproarously funny example of big government inefficiency and idiocy exists, aside from high speed rail.

However, any flaws like this are slight compared to the artistic brilliance, of depicting throughout the film certain pointless totems shaped like windmills which the greeners apparently worship and erect on any terrain they conquer; and then, in the shocking last panel of the film, in a flourish of sheer science fictional audacity, to see the White House surrounded and crowded out by these wind-totems.

The only thing to which I can compare the end is the similar scene in Planet of the Apes (which is no doubt is this author’s inspiration) when the camera pans back from the kneeling and grief-shattered figure of Charlton Heston to see the half-buried ruins of the Statue of Liberty.