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Hello, my name is Alexis Robinson and this is my last blog post for English 1102.

Taking this class, with dystopian societies has definitely changed or clarified my thoughts on certain  events going on in today’s world.

 

 In hunger games we saw the manipulation of the media by the capitol. They intentionally misdirected the attention of the people through propaganda and a little bit of acting. The media being completely under government control enabled them to control the flow of information to their citizens and keep them trapped in ignorance. The media was also employed as an object of distraction, as shown by Peeta and Katniss’s  highly publicized romance. Clearly, the idea is that media should only have power, as a tool of the administration that controls it.

Today, we see this reflected in the attitude of the Trump Administration towards the media. WE as Americans take it for granted that the media is meant to serve us, the people. The purpose of the media in government is to act as a watchdog, keeping track of the government’s moves and holding them accountable to the people. The president is perhaps the most well-watched and well-documented target of the media. The current administration, however has taken to viewing any news that is not concurrent with it’s beliefs or paints them in a negative light as “Fake News.” This is not unlike how the Capitol viewed the propaganda from the rebel forces. Which begs the question of why any democratic government would declare war on journalists.

The purpose of a dystopia is to act as warning to it’s readers. They may involve unreal technology or impossible storylines but the underlining message is clear. We are not exempt from the stupidity of the characters from our favorite dystopian novels. We read them and wonder how these events occurred but we are living them now.

A government that views the media as it’s ally, only when it positively covers the things they want covered is on it’s way to becoming a dystopia, if it’s not already there.

 

Source:

Collins, Suzanne. The Hunger Games. Scholastic Inc., 2012.

This article argues that America today is comparable to the dystopian classic, 1984 by George Orwell. Seeing as 1984 was a futuristic dystopia at the time, it showcased several “new” technologies that are looking awfully familiar today.

In 1984, there were large telescreens capable of showing images and propaganda to the people, which didn’t exist when Orwell wrote it. This is mirrored by the screens Americans today see everywhere they go, from telephones to cell phones, computer screens and the large signs displaying colorful images everywhere we go.

Today, it cannot be argued against that people are under almost constant surveillance. Given, this data collected from our phones, computers, and digital lives goes largely unused, to our knowledge, but what happens to the information collected to us can change as quickly as the Administration. They also argue for the point by bringing up the Edward Snowden case in which Snowden illegally leaked thousands of classified documents to tell the people  how much information is actually recorded about their lives by their own government and what was being done with that information. .

The “Endless War” , that is, the war of the central government of 1984, Oceania, against either Eurasia or Eastasia. These two countries were named interchangeably as the enemy, sometimes, one of them being an ally. This was used as a distraction tactic to enslave the people.  This too, is similar to the going ons of America today. Since 9/11 the average American has learned to hate and fear their own enemy, the dreaded “ill defined enemy.”

The speculation is that this war is meant to distract and enrage citizens so they are too caught up and fired up to notice the problems going on at home.

I recommend this article for some of our researchers who are talking about how technology in dystopias mirrors the reality of today.

 

 

Works Cited:

Beale, Lewis. “We’re Living ‘1984’ Today.” CNN, 3 Aug. 2013, www.cnn.com/2013/08/03/opinion/beale-1984-now/. Accessed 21 Feb. 2017.

Hello fellow dystopian lovers! In Friday’s class, I will be giving a presentation on  my research paper which will be covering  the topic: The Effect of Technology on the Interaction Between a Government and It’s Citizens. It’s a mouthful, I know but I’ll explain everything.

First, let’s talk about how technology has changed government, in the context of today. With the recent advancement of  technology, we are treacherously close to living out the events of our favorite dystopias. It’s no secret that the government is watching us .In today’s society, we accept it as normal that we live our lives digitally and that data can be seen by anyone with the will to look. We need only look at the Edward Snowden Case to see how much they actually see. In 2013, Edward Snowden illegally leaked classified files from the  National Security Agency (NSA) and told Americans exactly how their privacy was being a violated.

This violation of trust is actually not that uncommon What’s worrisome is that it’s a common trend we find in dystopian novels. Most YA dystopian novels feature a society with extremely advanced technology, owing, perhaps, the fact that sophisticated technology enhances the control aspects of utopian literature .We’ll go into more depth later, but for now, look to1984, Hunger Games and Little Brother as some examples of this. In each of the novels, the people are oppressed in various ways through technological subjugation. The difference between our society today and that of a dystopian society is that we trust our government to use this knowledge for our own good. There isn’t much to hold it together after these bet There is a line between security and invasion. The problem is , who draws the line? In most dystopias, the all-powerful government is that way because of the technology that got them into power. Technology shows the best of us and the worst of us, simultaneously showing Human ingenuity, and destructive tendency.

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What interests me the most about society in YA dystopias is how Technology effects the interaction between a government and it’s citizens, specifically in the Ender’s Game and in today’s society.

Most YA dystopian novels feature a society with extremely advanced technology, owing, perhaps, the fact that sophisticated technology enhances the control aspects of utopian literature.

Inevitably, as time goes on we are dangerously close to attaining the technology to recreate the overbearing supervision found in books like Little Brother and  Ender’s Game. The problem with this advanced technology is that it is often used as a tool in controlling and monitoring it’s citizens rather than advancing the lives of said citizens.

Take the Ender’s Game sage for example. Gifted  children were scouted by the government in search of a child to “end “ the war with the Formics. These children with such potential were then equipped with a “monitor” that allowed the government to effectively watch everything that the child saw. By stealing Ender’s perspective, Gaff was able to manipulate his interactions with his classmates and family. This  therefore, was what  gave him  the power to  mold Ender into a weapon for the IF.

Very few people would take it upon themselves to disagree that Technology blunts human interaction. It’s depersonalizes it. Gaff was able to manipulate Ender because he had the power, the technology, and the willingness to see Ender as a tool as he had so many children before him. That ties into another question I’m interested in asking. What is to be said about the willingness of an advanced society to use children as perpetrators of the future they will inherit. Ender killed the Buggers unwillingly, unwittingly through  ignorance. He had no knowledge whatsoever of what was actually going on in the command room because they were just images on a screen.

 

Citations:

Card, Orson Scott., and John Harris.Ender in Exile.  Tor, 2008.

Doctorow, Cory. Little Brother. Tor Books, 2008.

Card, Orson Scott, and Alan Smithee. Enders Game. Boekerij, 2013.

 

Propaganda serves as a method by the government to control the flow of information to its people. It is so prevalent in dystopian societies because such governments are entirely dependent upon their complete control of their citizens. By managing the flow of information, they can shape people’s views and opinions favorably for that government.

In Ender’s Game, Propaganda is the tool of  the International Fleet, a far-reaching government instituted with cooperation from all countries for one purpose: The Protection of Mankind. Eighty years ago, the people of earth were caught off-guard against a dangerous foe, now known as the “Formics” or Buggers due to their exoskeletal appearance. The Formics were an advanced alien race, and even though Earth managed to defeat them, humans now live in fear that one day the Formics will return. Before, the Earth was on the verge of a Third World War but suddenly they all had one rallying cry that every human could share. “Never Again.”

 


 

In the Hunger Games, President Snow says “The only thing stronger than fear is hope.” Like the Capitol, The International Fleet knows this too well. As long as there is a greater enemy, the Formics, then the earth is one nation and the International Fleet is in total control. The Propaganda posters loudly declare that the Formics are their one true Enemy and they must be defeated at all costs while fostering hope that some “hero” will end the threat. Any sympathy for the Formics is crushed. They are the enemy.

It’s somewhat important to recall that the last time the Formics attacked was 80 years ago. But the International Fleet has had 80 years to convince people that they’re coming back. It’s that one unifying thread that keeps them together, the survival of humanity.

Most often, Propaganda is viewed as the tool of the weak and a largely negative thing. In most cases, it usually is. However, the International Fleet had one purpose: to keep mankind alive against a dangerous threat. Who was to know that this thread was also itself. The Formic Wars were the only thing that kept the world together. The external threat forces a pause on Earth politics so that Human Kind could survive. And when the Formics were ultimately slaughtered by Ender, the world fell back into war, proving that they needed a reason to look over their should so they had no time to look upon their neighbors. It’s not to say that propaganda is positive, only that bias is a necessary thing to hold together a Nation.

 

Citations:

Ender’s Game Trailer. www.youtube.com/watch?time_continue=19&v=0MOqoRSWHCs.

Card, Orson Scott, and Alan Smithee. Enders Game. Boekerij, 2013.

Card, Orson Scott., and John Harris. Ender in Exile.  Tor, 2008.

“Los Angeles Times.” Los Angeles Times, Los Angeles Times, herocomplex.latimes.com/movies/enders-game-new-propaganda-posters-appeal-to-honor-fear/#/0.

Webster defines a utopia as either a place of ideal perfection especially in laws, government, and social conditions or an impractical scheme for social improvement. A dystopia, oversimplified to the extreme is a failed Utopia.

The mix of dystopian characteristics with other genres, such as, science fiction, romance, apocalypse, young adult, or any other do not work to diminish it as a genre. Each of these subgenres instead acts to expand dystopian characteristics. In the Cambridge Companion to Utopian Literature, we look at the evolution of Utopian literature. The definition throughout it’s beginning with Thomas’s “No Place” has expanded to our perfect, advanced, futuristic society with unknown faults.

That being said, it is very easy to confuse dystopian literature with science fiction. They share some key characteristics: overly powerful governments, awesome technology, and the tendency to take place in the future. The constant overlap does not merge them into one genre however. Most dystopian novels may be science fiction but not every science fiction book is utopian.

Typically, in a Young Adult dystopian novel, we are introduced to a hero or heroine who is chaffing against the constraints of their too-strict , but otherwise ideal society. After their coming of age and joining the ranks of the society they live in, the protagonist then discovers some dark secret that makes them realize that their Utopia is in fact a dystopia and somehow they bring about it’s destruction.

The success of the YA dystopian genre can be attributed to it’s target group of 12-24. This is the group that identifies most with the want of rebellion. We emphasize with the lack of control the characters feel in their strict societies and when the protagonist takes the chance to rebel against their oppressors, we are empowered through. The message is sent to us that we, as young adults, can make the change we want in the world. This is especially important because we will be the architects of the future. This holds with the trend of Utopian writing being a warning.

 

Works Cited-

The Cambridge Companion to Utopian Literature. Edited by Claeys, Gregory, Cambridge University Press, 2010.

“Merriam-Webster.” Merriam-Webster, Merriam-Webster, www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/dystopia.