Wednesday, 1 February 2023

"Hangry" and "horngry" are different things and I learned this the hard way

Easily my favorite sci-fi show at the moment, FIRE COUNTRY is a dystopian drama set in an alternate timeline wherein America utilises slave labor to battle hazardous wildfires caused by a climate catastrophe brought about by the same insatiable capitalist expansionism that the inmates are charged with protecting, even at the cost of their lives.  Where do they get their ideas from?

The show brilliantly mixes satire of life under authoritarian rule with a knowing pastiche of soap operatic conventions akin to that seen in the original Starship Troopers, a comparison I think holds up even better when you see how both works show people to be treated as little more than disposable frontline soldiers in ultimately-unsustainable imperial enterprises.  Were one to walk blind into a room showing an episode of Fire Country, they could be forgiven for thinking it really was a television show with the depth of a puddle that goes beyond the expected conservatism at the heart of American copaganda and instead displays an outright contempt for a proletariat that is constantly reminded that it should be grateful to be allowed to die in service to a middle class that offers nothing more than a display of "claps and cheers" for a job well done rather than any material compensation for life-threatening and life-saving labor - a particularly brilliant joke early in the first episode establishes that the slaves are paid "two dollars an hour", so that within the fictional universe, it can never be claimed that these are actual slaves - but to assume Fire Country was harmful corpo-fascist propaganda would be a disservice to the talented and insightful satirists who have concocted such a wonderful critique of the moral vacuum at the heart of a slave economy.  What an age of television we've lived to see!

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