Monday, May 8, 2017

It Was About Time I Read This!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

                             For years, I avoided Margaret Atwood, because, back in the day, I tried reading "Cat's Eye," found I could not, and that was that.  What was I thinking?

                              As a genre, I avoid dystopian novels.  I was not altogether impressed with Orwell's "!984."  I mean, I acknowledge its greatness, its importance, but I cannot say I really liked it that much.

                              But Margaret Atwood's "The Handmaid's Tale" is a different proposition.  It has characters one can care about, a sweeping narrative, and an outlook on both men and women that leaves neither the better off for it.  Women have no freedom, and men exist just for sexual function.  Kind of like the partners of the Black Widow spider.

                               No one gets a break here.  The capper is this seems to be taken place in some nameless future void, but you have to read the sixteen page afterword to get the real picture--and it is as starling as the first citing of that Earthly icon at the end of the 1968 "Planet Of The Apes.'

                                This novel took my breath away.  In terms of today, the parallels are truly scary!!!!!!!!!!!

                                 Now, I cannot wait to read more Atwood!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!


Videolaman said...

One of my favorites: I must have read it a half dozen times back in the days of Bush One and Act Up. The movie version with Faye Dunaway, Natasha Richardson, Robert Duvall and Elizabeth Perkins was excellent. I'm accumulating episodes of the new Netfilx adaptation starring Elizabeth Moss as Offred, but will wait to binge watch the whole thing after it finishes airing.

However, as with much in the ludicrously overheated media atmosphere today, I do not agree that "Handmaid's Tale" has any relevance whatsoever to present politics. It was expressly written as a rebuke to the Reagan/Jerry Falwell era, and in that context is brilliant. The Yale academics and clueless young feminists trying to force it as a metaphor for today disrespect Atwood's achievement (and I include Atwood's own current attention-whoring here). 2017 is not remotely like 1989: the activist Christian right has been effective neutered for at least a decade (which blows Atwood's central concept all to hell), the unchecked and unstoppable rise of actual murderous misogynistic Islamic terrorism is rather more terrifying than anything Atwood conjectured, and Obama is about twenty minutes away from replacing Ben Franklin on the C-note.

What I find deeply troubling is so many people jumping on the ill-considered "Hand maid's Tale reflects today's oppression of American women" bandwagon, while virtually NONE of these head-up-the-ass activists seem to recognize or acknowledge what triggers the regime takeover in the novel to begin with: mass addiction to using technology for every aspect of life including finances. Talk about missing the bloody point: Atwood was at least 20 years ahead of her time, accurately predicting smartphones, internet banking and Facebook. THAT sure has scary relevance to today: the likes of Julian Assange or Edward Snowden or any state-sponsored hacker could easily set Atwood's chain of events in motion.

In 1985, it was pure fantasy, today, its depressingly probable. Those who think such massive manipulations would be limited to only depriving women of their civil rights are thinking way too small.

The Raving Queen said...

Had no idea you had read this. I
recall it having been done before as a film
but I forgot who was in it, and now would like
to see it.

For the record, I would LOVE to play
Serena Joy! The only better choice
would have been Tammy Faye Baker!

Works of fiction, or political manifestos,
are always being reinterpreted for the times
at hand. God help me, if "Atlas Shrugged" comes
into vogue, I will NOT read it again. Twice is

And yes, Atwood's frightening vision does not
spell out an especially better future for the men.
But no one talks about that, do they?