As a people, we don’t believe in America. We stopped believing in America sometime after WWII. Maybe it was some time during the McCarthy hearings. Maybe it was the assassination of JFK. Maybe it was the sixties and the Vietnam war. Maybe it was Nixon and Watergate. And maybe it’s been the sea change in our culture. Maybe the democrats failed to understand the smoldering resentment of the red-state voters. But probably it was all of these things.David Gerrold
America became someplace else after WWII. Before WWI, before the crash in ’29; before all of that, the US was mostly farms and industrial manufacturing focused on delivering products to Americans who needed them. After WWII we became aware of our power. More importantly, our leaders became aware of it and used it to throw our weight around the globe, influencing other nations to enter our circle of friends, the people who would get rich off of our prosperity with us.
Today we consume most of the production that the world generates, while paying little to nothing for it aside from letters of credit to foreign powers who then use that wealth to buy up parts of the US.
Demanding what we want at the point of a gun, as we have done since the 80’s, is getting old now. The rest of the world is beginning not to care what we whiney Americans want, and they aren’t going to keep buying our debt in exchange for their blood and treasure if we don’t let them own us in return.
The system which worked following WWII has come to it’s functional end. It is time for a new system to be born, and I don’t think the world is ready to take on that herculean task. I don’t think we can afford to wait, either.
This change since WWII, this focus on the Military Industrial Complex and it’s servants in Washington D.C. are why Philip K. Dick’s stories have played so well in the last few decades. There is a madness there in his stories, a madness that the man himself suffered from profoundly. That madness is echoed in the world around us, the disconnection between what is real and what we want to be real.
It is almost as if we didn’t win WWII. It is almost as if we… lost?
That is the story behind Phillip K. Dick’s novel The Man in the High Castle (the second season of which Amazon will shortly bring to video. –ed.) Here is the first season trailer:
The second season trailer:
I wrote the above as a teaser to get people to watch Amazon’s new series, the title of which should be obvious by now after the two trailers I posted. The first two seasons were interesting, even if they departed from the text to many reader’s dismay. Here is the third season trailer:
…and the fourth and final season trailer:
I really don’t want to do a review of the series here. It stands on its own two feet with or without my help, as the case may be. It was flawed, true. Marred by the loss of cast members and the limits of filming the events of months over the course of years. I think the story in the series is even more interesting than the equally flawed novel that the story comes from. Dick’s madness can be a bit offputting at times, and unavoidable in his writing. It is a thing mercifully missing from the series.
The story concept is itself challenging enough to tell with video. Parallel worlds existing that you can travel to and from? How do you tell that story and not loose the audience? You are never certain in the book that the other worlds exist at all. They are alluded to. Hinted at. The world where the United States wins in The Grasshopper Lies Heavy, Hawthorne Abendsen’s novel of the alternate world, isn’t even the world we existed in after World War Two. There is just the grinding misery of the Nazi boot, the Imperial Japanese boot, and the realpolitik that the two now-opposing forces engage in over control of the whole world. The ending of the series is much more gratifying than the ending of the book, even if it appears to puzzle a good number of people.