• Dana Webster

Be Afraid, Be Very Afraid

I'm not a huge fan of Margaret Atwood's books; they are hit and miss with me. But, holy cow, The Handmaid's Tale. Am I right? When she wrote that way back in 1985, did she have a crystal ball?

After a staged attack that killed the President of the United States and most of Congress, a radical political group called the "Sons of Jacob" uses theonomic ideology to launch a revolution. The United States Constitution is suspended, newspapers are censored, and what was formerly the United States of America is changed into a military dictatorship known as the Republic of Gilead.

The novel explores themes of subjugated women in a patriarchal society, loss of female agency and individuality, suppression of women's reproductive rights, and the various means by which women resist and attempt to gain individuality and independence. ~ Wikipedia


Sound familiar? In many ways, women view the TV series as documentary.


Make no mistake, what is happening in America is only a precursor to what we can expect to see here in Canada. Quite frankly, the ship has not only sailed, it has docked:

  • Extremist Conservatism in cahoots with,

  • Capital C Christians (the ones who've hijacked the peaceful, Jesus-loving origins)

  • Disgruntled white boys (and, sadly, girls) with a pick-up truck load of self-pity and entitlement issues and,

  • A few provincial premiers who speak their language - loudly, stupidly, and hate-filled

  • Fake news (as disseminated primarily through social media)** and,

  • Fake conspiracy theories (as disseminated primarily through social media)** that lead to,

  • Real violence

  • Real hatred

  • Real divisiveness which leads to,

  • Total control by an autocratic system that stomps on the rights of everyone who is not white and male

You can Fuck Trudeau all you want (and, yes, I want but in a wholly lascivious way. Sorry, Sophie!), but he is our nation's saving grace right now. In partnership with charismatic Jagmeet Singh, I feel a modicum more safe. Together, they are a united voice of reasoned sanity and compassion, a buffer between civility and full-on orchestrated chaos.


I absolutely love reading dystopian novels. There is something deliciously intriguing about reading about humanity going to hell in a handbasket. But now that the reality is here, actually, I'm just plain scared. Not the kind of thrilling yet fleeting scared like when you watch a horror film from the cush of your own living room but actually, physically, scared. As a woman, as a mother with a daughter, I am terrified.


Everyone knows that it is the slutty teenaged girl who gets slaughtered first in slasher flicks (unless there is a Black character who will definitely get killed first because .. racism). I see slasher movies as allegory for what is happening in America right now with its rise in highjacked Christianity and the soon-to-come repealing of

abortion/reproductive rights for women including in cases of incest and rape (I'm going to throw up).


Oligarchs and serial killers come for women first


Sluts must die or, barring that, carry an unwanted baby to term, quit their job or their education because they can't find or afford childcare, go on Welfare, add their name to the 15-year waiting list for subsidized housing, and raise a child in resentment. All because some egregiously self-righteous groups believe they are entitled to the child they will never meet, never provide for, never have to watch go hungry, never have to discipline, never have to give a shit about once its born. At the very least, could they provide some quality daycare in their homes or offer boxed lunches? Something?


Anyway, I went Duck Duck Go-ing with the search term how to survive in a dystopian world. I asked and the internet provided. If you, like I, want to be prepared for the storm trooper knock on your door late one night, here are a few great finds:


How to Survive a Modern Dystopia, Greg Hickey

16 Tips for Surviving in a Dystopian Society, Rebecca Joines Schinsky

Sustainable Skills You Need To Survive a Dystopian Teen Novel, Various

Times Dystopian Novels Predicted Real Life Events, Laura Allen


All of a sudden, I want to grow my own vegetables and learn how to shoot a gun or maybe take up archery. Thank god I already live in the country; I'm ahead of the game, literally - deer, wild turkeys, pheasant, rabbits, squirrels in a pinch. I feel badly for those who missed out on the opportunity to flee the city. Real estate prices up here have gone bonkers just like groceries and DIY materials and trades/service people. Even if it were the right time to build a bunker, I wouldn't be able to find anyone available to do it at a price I could afford.


The thing that confuses me most is figuring out what the end game is for those who are ruining it for the rest of us. Let's follow the logic train:

  1. Amass as many billions of dollars as I possibly can

  2. Own all the things

  3. Control populations through fear, divisiveness and violence

  4. Bring back morality??

  5. Defund public education and public health

So, now we're all either dead or poor and hungry and uneducated. Now what? I don't get it. Is there some grand plan to wipe the slate clean and go back to the glory days of landed gentry and indentured servitude? Okay, but still. You're gonna be dead, too, you know that, right? Seems like a lot of work for very little ROI. Colour me flummoxed.


The big thing Margaret Atwood got wrong in The Handmaid's Tale was writing Canada as a safe haven for those fleeing Gilead (the US) a la the underground railroad. I guess she forgot that whole War of 1812 thing. Should we be building a wall?


I don't usually do this but extraordinary times call for extraordinary measures:


For the love of all that's good and decent in this world,

REFRAIN FROM VOTING CONSERVATIVE

They've lost their minds

(I'm on my knees here, begging)


**have I made my point about social media without hitting you over the head with it?



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