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Thursday, July 18, 2019

Years and Years 1.1-4: "Democracy ... Worn Out"

My wife and I just watched the first four episodes of the British Years and Years on HBO.  It's about as powerful and caustic a depiction of the rise of fascism in our time - that is, so far in the short series (six episodes), 2019-2027 - as you'll find.  Which is, searing and gut-wrenching indeed.

As one of the lead characters in the Leeds family remarks - Edith - whose lives we follow in England into the near future, "democracy was a very nice idea for a while, but now it's worn out".   Although the action is in the U. K, where a demagogic woman is rising to power, the U. K.  and the rest of the world are driven by the United States, where Trump is not only President, as he is now, but re-elected in 2020, making this a horror story as well science fiction.  As a parting shot from his regime, he sends a nuclear missile to an artificial island off China and kills 45,000 people.  Pence is elected President in 2024.  These two events, as depicted in Years and Years, should be enough to make every American vote in 2020.   And the depredations continue.  A U. S. bank crash throws the world into recession.  Fascist regimes arise all over Europe.  Roe v. Wade is overturned in the U. S.  As I said, an all-too foreseeable horror show, if we don't vote Trump and the Republicans in the Senate out of office in 2020.

There are good technological touches in this near future.   Smartphones literally in your hand (as in, embedded).  The beginning of artificial eyes that can function as cameras.  And there are love affairs and break-ups and personal tragedies that I won't tell you about, except to say they're moving, because I've told you enough and I don't want to give everything away.

But I highly recommend this series - fascism as only the Brits can show it - and I'll be back with reviews of the two concluding episodes.

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