December talking meme: 12/13

Dec 15, 2013 16:32

On a literal level, Dollhouse is a show about the 1%. Rossum attracts its in-house professionals with the promise of being on the cutting edge, certainly, but there’s little chance it doesn’t add an astronomical salary to sweeten the deal. And yet, I think it also catches some subtle things about class versus wealth in how the different members of the Dollhouse staff interact. Adelle is certainly credible as someone who came from wealth and rose to having a great deal more wealth. But characters like Topher, with his food-hoarding and his practiced aversion to attempting to fit in with the moneyed environment around him, or even Dominic with his slightly-overstated clothing choices, strike me as being people who have not always possessed 1%er privileges.

Metaphorically, the Dollhouse uses the same governmental and quasi-governmental/corporate structures that keep the 99/1 society in place. The Actives’ subjugation is justified in part by the idea that if they “play by the rules” they too will become fabulously wealthy. But that wealth comes at huge risk and price. Their overseers decide what they think, what roles they will play, how much their body and labor is to be valued. They are replaceable, known by generic "names" that pass from "retired" Active to new "recruit."

Moreover, the Actives don’t exactly choose to enter the sweepstakes here. Caroline/Echo and Karl/Alpha were acquired through dealings with the prison industrial complex, Tony/Victor through the military industrial complex. Rossum got to Priya/Sierra due to the gross failure of oversight in the privatized medical system, to which she was particularly vulnerable because she was an undocumented woman of color. November is the exception, not the rule, and even she has been seriously exploited.

Being a 1%er doesn’t make anyone immune: in fact, it’s what brought Daniel Perrin to their attention and made him so valuable to them. Because Perrin is a product of the system by which he is also exploited, he more than any of the other personalities is violated by the mental imprinting process. His original self has been changed - or maybe was this way all along? Is maybe better off this way?

I also loved how ruthless the show was about the idea of the self-made 1%er, in Boyd. Boyd is, almost certainly, someone who made himself one of the super-rich, by way of business acumen, creative thinking, smarts, and confidence…oh, and also, through stealing ideas, trampling over the basic human rights of others, and setting society up for a quick collapse. Who is John Galt? BOYD is John Galt, totally prepared to ruin all the ~little people and take his toys and go home to utopia. And he might’ve gotten his poetic justice, but we don’t get let off the hook with his death - we built the structures that allowed him to climb so high, and we have to deal with their inevitable collapse.

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can we say "socialist" yet?, dollhouse

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