While I was reading the Journal Sentinel earlier this week, I came upon an astonishing sentence. In reviewing a local production of a theatrical adaption of Margaret Atwood's novel, The Handmaid's Tale, Mike Fischer (who is, I hasten to add, not the Mike Fischer who works with me) writes that the play begins with a series of images "making clear that this dystopian look at the future also bears a stark resemblance to the way we live now."
I don't know if the reviewer is asserting his own view or describing the stance of the production, but Atwood's "dystopian look" at an imagined future conjures a militaristic theocracy in which most women lose all of their rights and are forbidden to read. Some women are ceremoniously raped to produce children.
I understand that the term "stark resemblance" is one of those clichés that people toss about without thinking about the precise meaning. But a "stark" resemblance is one that is "plain," "obvious" and "clear." Whatever one may think about feminism and its progress, the way we "live now" bears virtually no resemblance to Atwood's dystopia. If it does, someone better break out the rifles.
Cross posted at Purple Wisconsin