You are viewing redlily

[icon] All Marissa, All the Time. -
View:Recent Entries.
View:Archive.
View:Friends.
View:Profile.

Current Music:Love Letter (R. Kelly)
Security:
Time:10:05 pm
Current Mood:angryangry
What is with the current cultural obsession, amongst certain segments of the American population, with apocalypse/disaster/situations resembling The Hunger Games??

I have to admit, there are few discussions that bore me to tears faster than the "how long would you survive a zombie apocalypse?" chestnut. At least the dudebros (it's usually dudebros) who push that topic are just trying to out-macho each other. But there are other survivalist-type folks who make me even battier.

This was an exchange on a friend's Facebook status recently (status is paraphrased, comments are direct quotes):

Friend: What should I do with all my cabbage?
Her friend: Make your own kraut. It's really easy, and fermentation is a good skill to have for when we become third world.
Her husband: Whether that transition be by apocalypse or purposeful cultural design!

Sigh.

Where to start.

I'm tempted to go into "no one says 'third world' anymore," or perhaps, "you live in a $300k house, so shut the fuck up." But I'm going to sidestep those landmines and go straight to my point.

There are certain groups of people who seem to long for a "simpler" existence, and for the societal upheaval that will create it. These folks run the gamut from right-wing gun lovers to left-wing tree huggers. I promise you this, regardless of their differences, they all have one thing in common: they must be able-bodied.

Proponents of a new and glorious future where we go back to the land and shuffle through the remains of our dead society are not people who rely on modern medicine to live their daily lives. There are no sufferers of sickle-cell anemia or hemophilia just praying for the day when they can't receive blood transfusions anymore. There aren't cancer patients who can't wait till there's no electricity to run the radiation machines. There sure as fuck aren't any diabetics just tapping their toes in anticipation of a time when they won't be able to get any fucking insulin.

So, all these able-bodied folks who are just cruising along in their giddy joy about living The Road -- there's one of two things going on in their heads when it comes to the disabled (like myself):
  1. Nothing. They don't think about the disabled. We are invisible to them.

  2. Deep down inside, they kind of think maybe society would be better off if we weeded out the weaker elements. You know, start fresh! From good stock! Eugenics for a brighter tomorrow!


Look, most bright kids toy with #2 for a brief period in their teenage years, when they start to mumble about requiring parenting licenses or IQ tests to breed. The thing that distinguishes actual grown-ups from teenagers in grown-ups' bodies is the ability to get your head out of your ass and realize that every human being deserves the same rights.

Actively wishing for a time when disabled people will be killed off en masse is disgusting. And you don't get a pass for not even thinking about it. If you're an adult member of society, it's your obligation to be conscious of the people around you and their needs.

Man, I've wanted to get that off my chest for a while now.
comments: plant a seed Previous Entry Add to Memories Share Next Entry


flamingophoenix
Link:(Link)
Time:2011-10-21 09:54 pm (UTC)
My initial reaction, before I've even read your post: I LOL'd at your phrasing "resembling the Hunger Games." 2008 is incredibly recent; lots of good post-apoc fiction is from way, way before that. (Not all, but still.) Just...interesting to see the way you frame things. I think I see why you do it that way (that's the book you've actually read and enjoyed), but still. It's like saying "My kid's into all these books that are like Twilight. I think one of them is by Ann Rice?"

Okay, now to actually read!
(Reply) (Thread)


flamingophoenix
Subject:Actual considered responses
Link:(Link)
Time:2011-10-21 10:01 pm (UTC)
1. You're definitely right about out-machoing + not considering the actual horror of the reality. I think that's just part of the genre. I've mentioned before, Alas, Babylon (1959) deals with these types of situations with grace and compassion.

2. Lots of people do still say 1st/3rd world. It's an old holdover, but it's sticking. Probably because numbers are easy and words are hard.

3. I can see the appeal of simplicity, but not for the upheaval. Dear god, who actually wants the upheaval? :-( (Awful people?) I wouldn't go *backwards* in time, but I am glad that there is a modern vogue towards being more self-sufficient. I think it's a noble goal, for a bag of reasons that are somewhat related to the locavore and environmentalist movements. (Less packaging, less waste, less fuel used for transport of food, less sweatshop labor making our clothes, etc.) But I have to say, probably the majority of people are *not* thinking about the fact that much of this "simplification" would come at the cost of an exponential increase in "women's work." And that's a problem that we shouldn't ignore. But still.

4. You're dead to rights about medicine (unsurprising, given your circumstance). People just don't *think* about stuff like that (again, with a small number of exceptions). Jericho (2006) addresses some of the medical issues, but shies away from others. (It's one of the show's flaws, for sure.)

5. I've never read The Road (2006) so maybe this is causing my lack of annoyance at the genre?

6. I definitely think it's choice 1; more ignorance and blundering than malice. (Although certainly some probably do think 2. Grar.) But you're absolutely right that people *should* think about it, and being blundering isn't an excuse.
(Reply) (Thread)


flamingophoenix
Subject:Re: Actual considered responses
Link:(Link)
Time:2011-10-21 10:05 pm (UTC)
p.s. Holy shit, I just got way more impressed at Jericho -- they cast a Deaf actress as a Deaf character!
(Reply) (Parent) (Thread)


Noah [myopenid.com]
Subject:Re: Actual considered responses
Link:(Link)
Time:2011-10-24 06:05 pm (UTC)
Couldn't finish Jericho - got halfway through the second season and thought "Wow, this is going to end really poorly for all concerned." Just couldn't pull it together to watch the final collapse.

Galveston by Sean Stewart also confronts these issues fairly well - the main character is a diabetic, and his inability to get insulin is a *huge* deal throughout the book.
(Reply) (Parent) (Thread)


flamingophoenix
Subject:Re: Actual considered responses
Link:(Link)
Time:2011-10-25 08:22 pm (UTC)
"Halfway through the second season" -- i.e. 3 or so episodes in? :-P (They ended on like S2E7 or something.)

Thanks for the book rec, I'll look into it. Realism is good! (Especially about issues that we don't always realize *are* issues.)

Which makes me think, Marissa -- I would bet dollars to donuts that lots of people (those without diabetic family members or close friends) don't understand that insulin is refrigerated, and possibly don't realize that it's necessary to *actually live,* vs. jut necessary for quality of life. So that might be one thing -- unknown unknowns.
(Reply) (Parent) (Thread)


flamingophoenix
Subject:Further thoughts
Link:(Link)
Time:2011-11-15 09:48 pm (UTC)
I just reread "World War Z," and one of the lines in there really made me think. I don't have it handy at the moment, but it was basically that post-zombie apocalypse, people reconnected with actually *making* things with their hands, and being able to see the results of their work was tremendously validating for them. (People who had previously been patent attorneys, for example, where there's nothing tangible that comes out of your job.)

None of this negates your comments about the disablism inherent in the genre, but I do think it's worth exploring the idea of creativity/creation and how we largely don't do that anymore. (Also makes me think of "Ship B" from one of the Hitchhiker books -- the "service economy" ship.)
(Reply) (Thread)


redlily
Subject:Re: Further thoughts
Link:(Link)
Time:2011-11-30 01:20 am (UTC)
I don't really consume things in the survivalist/apocalyptic genre, and I honestly don't care how authors/artists/etc. handle things in their own works of art. What makes me crazy is people honest-to-FSM wishing for this shit to go down IN REAL LIFE -- and you know some folks do. That's fucked up.
(Reply) (Parent) (Thread)


sapience
Link:(Link)
Time:2011-12-08 07:00 pm (UTC)
Thank you for this.</p>

(Reply) (Thread)


redlily
Link:(Link)
Time:2011-12-09 01:59 am (UTC)
Thanks for commenting!!
(Reply) (Parent) (Thread)


nenya_kanadka
Link:(Link)
Time:2012-01-17 12:29 am (UTC)
Linked to this via Ana Mardoll's Ramblings, and I have to say thank you!

It's kind of like how people go on about how we should all get off Livejournal and Facebook and "Go talk to your friends in real life!" when, dude, listen, I'm almost deaf. I can't talk to people at parties. The Internet on the other hand gives me an actual social life. If the zombie apocalypse comes, and my eyeglasses and my hearing aid will be smashed, it won't matter then that I can't run for more than a few blocks without triggering my asthma, because I won't be able to see or hear the zombies coming...

And that's without any other significant medical requirements. So, yeah, I'm all for growing food locally or whatever, if you want to and can, but there's a lot of Not Thinking Things Through that goes on there. No one is an island.
(Reply) (Thread)


redlily
Link:(Link)
Time:2012-01-18 03:12 am (UTC)
Hear hear. So to speak. ;) My husband is Deaf, and a lot of his deepest social connections have begun (and oftentimes remained) online. In fact, my ASL just wasn't that good when we started dating, so IM was our primary mode of communication for those first few months.

I try not to think about the I-die-and-he's-alone part of Zombieland BS. Because it's really fucking upsetting. He's a reasonably healthy young guy, but without interpreters, TTYs, VPs . . . ? Yeeeeah . . . .
(Reply) (Parent) (Thread)


nenya_kanadka
Link:(Link)
Time:2012-01-18 05:46 am (UTC)
I wish I knew ASL! But I was raised Hearing and it's seemed too much work for the few people I'd be able to use it with. But yeah--IM is a lifesaver. (Also the text message function on cell phones. "I'm deaf and I love my cell phone!" :P) My sweetie subtitles movies for me, which I find more romantic than chocolates. :D

I suppose it's good I never had a taste for disaster scenarios anyway. (But I am still sad that I'll never get to be an astronaut. :( )
(Reply) (Parent) (Thread)

[icon] All Marissa, All the Time. -
View:Recent Entries.
View:Archive.
View:Friends.
View:Profile.