Kevin Brennan Writes About What It's Like
No sooner do I gripe about too much video on the ‘net than I up and recommend one for you to watch. It’s a nine-minute clip from Bill Moyers’ 2006 interview with Margaret Atwood, discussing her speculative dystopian novel, The Handmaid’s Tale, and for whatever reason it seems especially relevant right now.
Luckily, if you don’t want to watch the clip, there’s a transcript at the link above. I will say this, though: the way Atwood speaks makes it worth your while to watch the video.
I remember when The Handmaid’s Tale came out, and I eagerly read it with a kind of muted anxiety, thinking, sure, this kind of thing could happen here, but probably not in my lifetime. It was the Reagan era, and evangelical preachers were all over my TV — many of them later disgraced. But their movement didn’t subside. And their values were co-opted by the hard right in a way that produced a solid voting bloc, especially in the South and West: God, guns, n’ gays, right? Now it’s all been consolidated in the Trump administration, with a bona fide true believer waiting in the VP jump seat and a friendly Supreme Court shaping up that could help turn this big boat around on a course for 1693. You know, the good ol’ days.
By the way, Atwood explains that she had a rule in the writing of the book, that she wouldn’t put anything in it that human societies haven’t already done. Chilling, no?
I don’t think anything like the novel is imminent. We still have a legal process, the Bill of Rights, a general respect for personal liberty. But sprinkle in a domestic terrorist attack, a new war, ramped-up tensions with Russia or China and you can imagine the tenor of the times changing but quick.
As Atwood says in the interview, “When societies come under stress these kinds of things happen.”