Thursday, March 26, 2015

Yeah, actually no, the Handmaid's Tale is not like the real world

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."
Really?

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 clich├ęs 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


4 comments:

Peter said...



I always thought "The Shore of Women" by Pamela Sargent was a far better gender dystopia work than "The Handmaid's Tale," although it seems to get far less attention.

It's out of print in paper, but available from Amazon as a Kindle Edition.

Anonymous said...

do you even know which end to point?

Anonymous said...

Geez, sir. It was a joke. Absurdist and somewhat dark humor to make a point. But mostly I thought you might get a bit of a chuckle. A schoolmarm might say it was "off topic" but surely... ah bit harsh? I feel a bit put-off by your "censorship" (yes, your blog/your rules) of my comment, because it was actually made as a supporter of your efforts and those of VWF whom I have assisted in some significant ways w/o actually being a member of the lawsuit. Heavy sigh, this is a pretty tough room to play. Goodbye and good luck from ur erstwhile ally.

Rick Esenberg said...

Anon 1209

Actually, I'm sort of reluctant to post stuff that relates to a client and not to me. Lawyers' duty and all. Don't take it as a reflection on your post. The problem is that "this room" can't always operate without me worrying about my clients.