Dystopian fiction and radical politics
Tuesday, August 23, 2016
Bitch PlanetI recently started reading the comic book Bitch Planet after seeing Ta-Nahesi Coates tweet about it several times, and it's a must-read for fans of dystopia. The premise is a future patriarchy in which women, particularly women of color, are jailed for various acts of being "non-compliant." These non-compliant women are sent offworld to the Auxiliary Compliance Outpost, or "Bitch Planet," a term which the patriarchs inevitably respond to by saying "we don't like to call it that." The patriarchy itself reads like a much smarter, much edgier take on the New Founding Fathers of America.
Aside from recommending it as a very powerful read, the story is still in its early stages, so I don't want to get too deep into an analytical reading, but I wanted to highlight one element that has emerged early in the story and is near and dear to my heart, the dystopian spectacle. In Bitch Planet, the spectacle is a game called Megaton. I will let readers discover the details, but the comic does an excellent job of explaining the social function of the dystopian spectacle, and I wanted to share a couple panels on that topic for readers of my previous article.
Meanwhile, what are you waiting for? Go buy it! (Not safe for work.)
Click to enlarge pictures.
RESEARCH STATUSBooks/short stories read: 95
Films and TV series watched: 124
THE TURNER LEGACY
The Turner Diaries, the infamous racist dystopian novel by neo-Nazi William Luther Pierce, has inspired more than 200 murders since its publication in 1978, including the single deadliest act of domestic terrorism in U.S. history, the Oklahoma City bombing.
The book is arguably the most important single work of white nationalist propaganda in the English language, but it is not a singular artifact. The Turner Diaries is part of a genre of racist dystopian propaganda dating back to the U.S. Civil War. A new paper from J.M. Berger documents the books that directly and indirectly inspired Turner and examine the extensive violence that the novel has inspired.
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ABOUTJ.M. Berger is an author, consultant and analyst studying extremism. He is an associate fellow with the International Centre for Counter-Terrorism -- The Hague and a fellow with George Washington University's Program on Extremism. For more about Berger, click here.
BOOKS BY J.M. BERGER
"...smart, granular analysis..."ISIS: The State of Terror
"Jessica Stern and J.M. Berger's new book, "ISIS," should be required reading for every politician and policymaker... Their smart, granular analysis is a bracing antidote to both facile dismissals and wild exaggerations... a nuanced and readable account of the ideological and organizational origins of the group." -- Washington Post
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"...a timely warning..."Jihad Joe: Americans Who Go to War in the Name of Islam:
"At a time when some politicians and pundits blur the line between Islam and terrorism, Berger, who knows this subject far better than the demagogues, sharply cautions against vilifying Muslim Americans. ... It is a timely warning from an expert who has not lost his perspective." -- New York Times
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