Posted by : Jashae Slaughter Tuesday, September 16, 2014

imagine a world where...
bad stuff happens.
dun dun DUUUUNN!!
I've been doing a lot of research about the genre of dystopia ever since I found out that the audio drama I'm working on is not post-apocalyptic, so much as it is dystopia. It's becoming more and more apparent to me that people have no idea what the genre dystopia means.

Wikipedia describes it like this:

A dystopia (from the Greek δυσ- and τόπος, alternatively, cacotopia,[1]kakotopia, cackotopia, or anti-utopia) is a community or society that is in some important way undesirable or frightening. It is the opposite of autopia. Such societies appear in many artistic works, particularly in stories setin a future. Dystopias are often characterized by dehumanization,[2]totalitarian governments, environmental disaster,[3] or other characteristics associated with a cataclysmic decline in society. Dystopian societies appear in many sub-genres of fiction and are often used to draw attention to real-world issues regarding society,environment, politics, economics,religion, psychology, ethics, science, and/or technology, which if unaddressed could potentially lead to such a dystopia-like condition.
The thing that made it apparent to me, was looking up some of the things that I found as influences. First of all there's the book and movie 1984, government who keeps its citizens at a very low level of knowledge about what's going on in the world while they continue to push a war in another country. At first they're always talking about how they're winning the war, then it seems as if they're pushing a new message, that they've "always been at war with Eurasia."

Another glimpse into this kind of genre for me was an anime entitled "8 man after." It's a world in which people accept and liberally partake in cybernetic fusion in order to correct human abnormalities.

But the big kickers for me in the last decade or so were the matrix, The Terminator trilogy, and a movie based on a comic book called V is for Vendetta. All of the shows sold show us a future in which we wear our technology takes over, or the government takes over, or both. They live in a world that is suppressed by the authority that they have given their rights and liberties to, & I find that to be a very scary concept.

The problem for me was that they always lived in some type of war torn worlds, similar to that of the Book of Eli or the Terminator Salvation, and it leaves me with the idea that this is all referred to as post apocalyptic: a world that is recovering from some huge disaster.

Now that I've covered these bases about where he's ideas come from, I'd like to share with you about my journey about where they are going and where they could end up in the near future.

A few years ago, there was a string of movies that emerged to the mainstream it seems to just revel in, and glorify magic and pagan ideologies. To name a few, Harry Potter, Percy Jackson, in the Twilight series. All of the series seem to be based around. Magic and darkness. I felt like they left little hope for the average person but, that's to be expected from the fantasy genre. Genre that exalts those with extraordinary abilities and super powers. They glorify the people who are different, and encourage those who are different enough or powerful enough to confront any oppressor, Especially a character who is written to be the Messiah.

Shortly after the emergence of the hot topic fantasy movies, there was the Hunger Games. When I first heard about the Hunger Games, it made my stomach turn because I thought it was going to be the same thing as these fantasy movies. Glorifying ideas and concepts that I absolutely detest. But what I found was something completely different. It wasn't a fantasy world with fantastic characters, but it was something far more realistic. It was a horrific projection of what our world could actually become without the need of magic or superpowers or aliens or anything like that. This is the beauty of the dystopian genre.

In the dystopian genres, any jerk with the audacity to step out of line get shot in the face or tortured or something like that, and it's only the jerks who have the power to evade or withstand opposition that make any kind of ripple effect. Dystopian genres are not built on the idea of a certain individual who is just so glorious, but there find their strength in the idea that we are all stronger together. The heroes in the dystopian genres understand that it's selfishness and individualism that got us into the crappy future that were in in the first place. And so we as the society, or the people, or the family, or whatever group is the main characters, have to work together and learn to understand each other if they want to find any kind of piece or escape from their oppressors.

Something that I find in a lot of dystopian books, comics, and movies is that we often fall victim to our own devices. In 1984 we fall victim to our government, a government that we put into power. In the Matrix its technology that supposed to make our lives easier, but we eventually become so lazy that we stopped thinking for ourselves and give that right over to the machines. In the Terminator series, it's no doubt a desire to win a war, because all of the machines are built that way. In the anime 8 man after, mankind simply refuses to admit that we will eventually decay and die and it's that fear of death that drives us on to fuse with cybernetic body parts. And in the newer movies like Hunger Games and divergent, we see once again a government that has overthrown society.

Which brings me to my last point. I think that people are being amazingly unfair in the comparison between Hunger Games and Divergent. The reason that they seem so similar, it's because they're the same genre! It's like taking a rap song and comparing it with any other rap song, and then saying they're just alike because they're the same genre. When you add in the fantasy movies that I mentioned before, its like criticizing the rap song for not being more like a Disney pop song, and then saying that those two rap songs are exactly the same. That's ridiculous!
According to whoever made this chart, trendsetters can't tell the difference between fantasy and dystopian movies. So, we'll just lump them all together and look at it sarcastically!

There plenty of differences between those two particular movies, but I think people are either too dumb, or too lazy to see the differences because of the mild similarities. Both movies are set in the future. Both movies depict an oppressive government. Both movies divide society into groups or factions. And both movies are centered around a heroine rather than a hero.

But there are many differences that I see with Hunger Games and Divergent. I think such a harsh criticism is being drawn because people absolutely seem to cringe at the ideologies presented within Divergent, while they are currently planning for the ideologies presented in The Hunger Games. It's not the government's actions that I'm talking about, but the heroes and their situation. The heroine in divergent is criticized for being too much like an evangelical Christian, or at least how the rest of the world views evangelical Christians. The heroine of the Hunger Games is a better reflection of what today's secular adult women wish they could be.

 The heroine in The Hunger Games is no doubt a strong individual, who's willing to sacrifice love for her motives, while the heroine of Divergent reluctantly pursues your love interest while holding back from sexual advances.

The heroine of Hunger Games is already strong, while the heroine of Divergent struggles to gain strength.

The character from divergent comes from what appears to be a religious family, with two loving parents, and strong morals, as well as highly esteemed within the community. The character from The Hunger Games obviously comes from a broken home with very little prestige.

And finally the contrast of opinions between both girls view of glamour and vanity.

There were a lot of other comparisons that could be made by someone with more time and intellect, to look into the issue then me, but thats all i care to write about right now.

read the second half of this article here.

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Jashae Slaughter is an Independent Entertainer, versed in Music composition, Music Production, Singing, and Rap.  He is also a Party Coach (DJ/MC), doing weekly shows in his local community.  He seeks to spread his hope for life and philosophy through media of many forms.

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