Dystopian novels as a whole usually have a purpose: to serve as examples for why certain systems are not good ways to run society. Inside these systems, there are often common themes. One of the major themes I’ve been following throughout the semester is the way that information flows through society. For oppressive people in power, having a tight control over the flow of information has a huge role in maintaining that power. The goal of my presentation is to demonstrate that the way information is transmitted in today’s society is dystopian.
Firstly, it’s good to look at the way that dystopian novels show how information is controlled. In Animal Farm, everything the pigs say must be taken as truth. The collapse of the windmill was not an accident, it must have been cause by Snowball, the enemy of the pigs. The truth is warped and the narrative is constructed to fit the agenda of the animals in control. The next book to draw from is Gathering Blue by Lois Lowry. The protagonist, Kira, is warned her whole life about dangerous beasts that live just outside the village and killed her father. The council constructed this fake threat to explain away things that could damage their reputation and to keep the people in line.
My argument is that these things are happening in today’s society as well. The media, which used to represent many different organizations and remained largely independent has been reduced to just six major media corporations. While many dystopian novels depict a government being the oppressive power, large corporations are just as able to take control of society if left unchecked. This is what the media has become. A mere 300 executives control the news that millions of people digest every single day. These people aren’t elected, yet they have a massive impact on way these people think about and understand current events.