Friday, May 20, 2011

The Truth Is Out There.

From the very first episodes, I loved "The X-Files."  What wonderful stories of life in McWorld!  What a vivid dramatization of the fears and anxieties of life in the 20th Century.  Well, it's now the 21st Century, but I don't see that much has changed.  Big Brother is still watching. Aliens are still abducting people.

In researching and writing Darkness Visible, I came to realize the horrors of industrialization.  These horrors existed on so many levels: pollution, very dangerous working conditions, no social or economic safety nets, no job security, political corruption, extreme economic and class oppression. (I'd like to point out that the majority of people in the world today live in conditions similar to those of working Americans in 1892.) The advantage that our great-grandparents had over us today is that they could clearly see who was running the country: the Robber Barons and their banker buddies.
A bessemer converter in action.

But we live in a world that's run by powerful, hidden forces.  The World Bank, the IMF, the Federal Reserve, the G20 Summit--Who are these people?  Some folks find it easier to believe that visitors from outer space are running the show on Earth.  I hate to tell them. It's far, far scarier than that.

BBC-America is re-running "X-Files" episodes as part of their "scifi" afternoon series.  I'm enjoying seeing a pre-sex-addition-scandal David Duchovny and a lovely, very young Gillian Anderson once again fight the dark forces in collusion with the government to get to the truth, which has to be out there, somewhere.  You never know whom to trust.  Cigarette-smoking-man, Krychek, the Black Guy with information. They aren't the prime mover, but they act at his (its? their?) insidious bidding.  It's a much, much darker vision that that of the mythology of the 1990s, "Buffy, the Vampire Slayer."  To get imprisoned in a Siberian gulag where alien slime oil is poured into your ear is a helluva lot more frightening than confronting a wisecracking bleached-blond vampire.

However, is it scarier than working at a Bessemer converter, or a blast furnace with molten iron running in hellish rivers just feet from you?  I'd say it is.  With steelmaking, the dangers are manifest.  If black alien oil is sloshing around in your eyeballs, you've had it.  You're in the thrall of the Unseen Forces running the planet.  You don't know who did it or why but you're being punished.
Fox Mulder is attacked, yet again, by a mysterious force.

My advice to you is to trust no one in power. Or allegedly in power.  I say that after looking at centuries of human history.  If you want to believe, believe your senses.  There are many truths, and they are still out there.

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