Margaret Atwood and "The Handmaid's Tale"


I respect that, but it also introduces a question. It is uncomfortable, most certainly. But it is also very topical and well done. I’m asking this seriously: Do we have a responsibility to watch such things? I’m thinking here of things like “Schindler’s List.” Is there an imperative to watch those things that make us uncomfortable?

(I’m not talking about “The Human Centipede.” No, I’ve never seen it. Reading about it on Wikipedia after I was expressly told not to do so was enough.)

I’m aware I’m drawing an imperfect (at best) parallel between something that has happened (the Holocaust) and an extraordinary piece of dystopian fiction.

I don’t know.


In some ways, that’s how it hits home for me. Offred’s past is essentially our present (or near future). She has so many of the same cultural references as we do. So just when the story is becoming “comfortably” science fiction, that contemporary music (Offred’s music) drags you back into the uncomfortable now.


Yeah. I have read enough history and listened to Dan Carlin’s history podcast (and there were some bits in the Kings of Kings series and the Ghengis Kahn series that made me pause it and take a break) and know just how fucked up people have been to each other in the past. I could probably read the book and be enough removed form it as books don’t quite get me like visual media does, but yes this is one that hits close to the bone of what is actually possible and yes it should be required viewing for some folk. I am already familiar with the story and that’s enough for me for right now.


Like most things, the people who should watch it likely won’t. I can’t imagine the Duggars lining it up for their Saturday night movie. I will say, however, that Mr. Jilly and I are watching it together and it’s provided lots of new avenues for discussion after 20+ years together, so that makes me happy.


Marry me? Literally my favorite books by Margaret Atwood my favorite author. Also madly deeply in love with same poem.


“I would like to be the air that inhabits you for a moment only. I would like to be that unnoticed & that necessary.”


Devastating. Perfect poem.


My closest favorite (different author, equally amazing):

“Oh, life is a glorious cycle of song,
A medley of extemporanea
And love is a thing that can never go wrong;
And I am Marie of Romania.”

I’ll stop now cuz I could do this 24/7.


I can. It’s like a feel-good family movie for them. Much more egalitarian and less rapey than their real family.


How did I just find this thread!?!?

MrPants is watching it with me. And I ADORE this show, it is so good, so amazing, its also funny cuz the “horrors” of the show, I just accept as a pat sort of “yes, people are terrible to women this is entirely plausible” and MrPants, who has not read the book, and is a straight white man mostly aware of that privilege is so disturbed and upset by it, he’s said “I’m only watching this because of you.” Episode 3, man, so good, I was rapt, MrPants could barely watch. I think there is a secret being shown that is uncomfortable, its a secret most women know, and some men, the secret is “how to survive” its so fascinating to me. :slight_smile:

Also, side note, the show is filmed in Toronto, and they’re not hiding it all. The scene from the before, when they’re jogging and then try to buy a coffee at the cafe? Thats in my 'hood. Its the corner of Queen Street East & Degrassi (yes, the real Degrassi). And that cafe is Bonjour Brioche, which is delicious, but ALWAYS has a line up. We literally laughed at them waltzing in to get a coffee and the place being empty and no line. :wink:


Absolutely. I’ve devoured a lot of commentary about the show and one of the ill-informed complaints of the right is that the show is too unreal. What they don’t realize? consider? care? is that Atwood wrote the book in the 80s and only included scenarios that either had happened/were happening to women around the world or had been presented as “historical” in religious texts (the book of Genesis, for example). Now, clearly, she took these elements and created a fictional world, but the main ingredients did not spring fully formed from her head.


Nolite te bastardes carborundorum.


Wanna watch! But I know nothing from Hulu. Is a subscription worth it otherwise? Expensive?


If you can wait until most of the episodes have already been released, you can make the most of the free trial month


I do think the people that are all upset about it are being coded racist? Like sure, it can happen in Saudi Arabia, or Yemen, or Israel, but thats “over there” and thats “those people”. The idea that it couldn’t happen “here” aka - white western society is the pill they’re having trouble swallowing. Meanwhile most secular women are all “Yes, this is plausible, I don’t get your issue?” LOL


I think the lowest cost is $7/month (you can pay extra $4 for no commercials), but they offer a one-month free trial. They are releasing one episode every Wednesday (today is #5) for a total of 10 episodes. If you can wait until it’s over and you’ve never subscribed before, you can get the free trial and then binge.

As for other stuff on Hulu, we have it for my daughter, so I’m not an expert.


I would love to read a long-form piece on this idea. It’s so strange to me how strange this is to some people.


I really like hulu, they have a lot of non-american programs that I haven’t seen elsewhere, and a fair bit of anime, if that’s your jam.


It absolutely can happen here, and it is happening here. It’s just that people are not aware enough to see what’s going on.


I think the point is, we’d like it to stay a work of dystopian fiction, so if enough people are exposed to it NOW and are spurred into action, maybe we won’t be reading stories like it afterward as depictions of what actually happened.