December 25, 2018

I started watching The Handmaid's Tale when Caroline and I visited her aunt in Alabama—"the Confederacy", as she called it—last Thanksgiving. I sort of forgot about it, but picked it up again, and man, is it good.

Production-wise, the show's a brick house: raw materials (plot and character) drawn from an award-winning novel, sitting beneath walls of top-notch acting, a roof of world-class cinematography, and no-expense-spared detailing: sound design, costuming, and props. I have little doubt that before much longer, long-form "web television"—The Americans, Breaking Bad, The Handmaid's Tale, Narcos—will be regarded as the best dramatic work that has ever been produced.

I also realized I love dystopias. Ops people love talking about failure—the more spectacular and grandiose, the better—we even have a name for it, "disaster porn".

We aren't alone. Who hasn't seen this video?

What I reaalized is, dystopias are the disaster porn of social science. They show what happens when social systems—politics, economies, ways of life—fail, in the most spectacular and grandiose ways possible.

So maybe it's not so surprising that I like them.

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