A vivid imagination is a wonderful thing. But take it too far and you’re likely to end up visited by those nice men in white coats or be the proprietor of a conspiracy theory website.
I have a harmless habit of trying to connect unrelated news stories as if they are pieces in some greater truth. The result usually makes no sense except to my own warped imagination and although I do enjoy theses fantastical flights of fancy I do feel grounded enough to know that they aren’t real.
Or at least I hope so.
The main topic of news today is the sad tale of David Garrett’s dream of becoming an international assassin and how it ended abruptly at an early age. Thus forcing him to settle on his second career choice of becoming a New Zealand MP and the law and order spokesperson for his political party.
But it’s the story of the Canterbury Earthquake Response and Recovery Bill that became the first leg to prop up my tripod of craziness.
This legislation, enacted in a day with the backing of all parties, creates an order-in-council mechanism.
This allows ministers to relax or suspend potentially every other act of Parliament – barring five dealing with constitutional matters – to the extent they may “divert resources away from the effort to efficiently respond to the damage caused by the Canterbury earthquake”.
Now not everyone is happy with this draconian legislation that’s created a dictatorship for Gerry Brownlee, the Minister for Canterbury Earthquake Recovery. While I agree with these commentators to a certain extent I don’t accept that we are heading down the same road as the coup d’état champions of the world, Fiji. Not yet.
Another story that caught my gaze was the extremely subtle headline Supreme Court: Corporations Can Buy Judges.
You’ve heard that a recent [United Stated] Supreme Court decision said that corporations can give unlimited funds to politicians.
But did you realize that it said that corporations can give unlimited money to judges?
So you have one story from New Zealand where power is given to one person in a time of urgency and another story from the US about the encroaching influence of money and corporations on the courts for the purpose of gaining favourable business decisions.
This of course is just the way the world works and nothing but politics and money that we see in one form or another every day.
What happens if you throw in some random and unrelated story and start to let your reason and rationality slide a little?
IGN have announced the Top 25 Sci-Fi Movies of All Time. While the debate will likely run for years over whether Star Wars deserves the higher placing than The Empire Strikes Back; there is very few who will argue about Blade Runner getting the top spot.
A central plot device in Blade Runner and many Sci-Fi and future orientated films, including these from IGN’s “Top 25”…
- 25: Moon.
- 24: District 9.
- 22: Avatar.
- 18: Brazil.
- 16: Metropolis.
- 11: Aliens.
- 5: The Empire Strikes Back.
- 4: Alien.
- 3: Star Wars.
- 1: Blade Runner.
…is the idea of the all-powerful mega corporation or “totalitarian government” that malevolently rules with absolute authority.
While these goliaths are nearly always present in the future it is very rarely explained how they came to achieve such power and influence over all aspects of people’s lives (We won’t mention the Star Wars prequels). They are set in the future but they are still human at core and so surely grounded and bound by the same basic societal rules that we live by. They don’t just appear but must result from some logical chain of events that culminated with them at the top of the pecking order, or should that be top of the food chain. Two centuries ago the East India Company ruled India to control and harvest its wealth on the back of expansion by the British Empire. The post World War II rise of the military-industrial complex and recent conflicts in Iraq and Afghanistan have seen the growth, and more importantly influence, of private military companies. So depending on resources and world politics who’s to say what power and influence the Military, Energy, Media or Tech companies will have over us in the next few hundred years.
Of course none us think we’ll end up working for the Tyrell Corporation (Blade Runner), Weyland Industries (Alien) or be that person (or droid) cleaning a blocked toilet on the Death Star. We all know that the voting public and their elected representatives will administer oversight so that business knows “making a killing” is just a turn of phrase. But in the near and distant future what will happen when this planets oil, fresh water or good coffee runs low and conflict is a necessary evil for national or corporate survival? What will we give up and to whom to do we give it to make our lives easier and at what point will we have nothing more to give. Post September 11th our caring governments increased their powers to monitor and control us. Those hippy liberals might gripe a little but aren’t we glad for the airport x-ray machines, locking up all the brown people terrorists and all those helpful civilian corporations that are selflessly carrying out what was once the job of the military. We did it gladly in the desperate need to feel safe. I’m sure you’ll agree that when the world is back to the way it once was all those powers and restrictions will be lifted and we can return to the joys of the mile high club without an air-marshal busting in at an inconvenient moment, can’t we?
So the government hands over a little power and the judges get friendlier with business, what’s the harm?
Nowhere does power give itself up willingly. – Nan Levison.
Thanks Nan. When you give up power, or someone takes it, they rarely give it back. It might be a small and seemingly inconsequential act but over time and incrementally they gain it and we lose it. Until one day you wake up and your countries flag has been replaced by focus group approved logo and only the shareholders have voting rights. Then where are we going to find our Rick Deckart or Han Solo to save us because Harrison Ford isn’t getting any younger?
I told you this was all crazy. A couple of news stories and a movie list and I’ve got future generations as mere worker drones or under the heel of the Sith lords. But the essence of Science Fiction is that it’s a reflection of us today but with ray guns and flying cars. The people don’t change and I’m not sure if that’s a good or bad omen for the future.