Try to remember the last “pro-Communist” TV show or movie you watched.
You might say, “Matt, it’s all Socialist palaver” and fine if that’s your point of view, but I’m speaking about anything openly extolling the tenets of communism.
It’s easy to find negative examples like HBO’s “Chernobyl” and the 2009 film “The Lives of Others.” Matt Damon’s “Elysium” is the only example with a pro-Communist message in recent memory.
And that’s a problem because we need pro-Communist movies.
Hear me out.
If you’ve never been exposed to the pitch it can be quite seductive the first time around.
When I was a kid I remember watching “Reds” With Warren Beatty and Diane Keaton and 1983’s “Gorky Park” with William Hurt. The latter had the infamous line…
Irina Asanova: KGB have better cars, you know.
Arkady Renko: But they don’t always take you where you want to go, do they?
…but feeling there was a kind of dignity, a truth there.
The idea that we can shelter minds from bad ideas is only true with children. Once we’re adults we are exposed to all kinds of bad ideas. We need a taste of it, to work it out for ourselves, to help inoculate us.
I worry for upcoming generations. I’m a sometimes college professor and I had a student recently fall for a horrible, multi-level marketing scam. I could see it clear as day but I belong to Generation X. In my teens, I had to buy weed from strangers across town in dark alleys and strange houses. You develop a bit of street sense.
I had other exposure as well.
The Berlin Wall fell on Nov. 9, 1989. The previous year my dad took me to see the satellite states of the USSR. He wanted me to see Communism up close and personal.
Fall of Berlin Wall: How 1989 reshaped the modern world – BBC News https://t.co/4TOg0ecU0B
— Brenda Wamble (@BrendaWamble) February 25, 2022
He asked me on the train in Czechoslovakia when I thought the Wall might come down. I said, “Oh I don’t know, maybe a decade from now. Maybe around 1999.”
The fall of the Berlin Wall marked the end of Communism in Europe, and now even China has some form of market economy hybrid. As the decades pass it’s getting harder to remember the dark side of Communism, so much so that its appeal is starting to resurface.
Into this void steps the second and final season of “Carnival Row.” The Amazon Prime saga brazenly presented a pro-Communist argument: the clarity and moral goodness of fighting a consolidated state corruption with the magical Fae (Cara Delevingne) stuck in the middle.
The show features a corporate, state-run kind of fascism that is slowly slipped into the “Blut und Boden” kind. And, for a moment, I was hooked. For one brilliant episode it dared to make a compelling case for Communism as a way to right the wrongs of injustice.
Then it slowly peeled back the soulless reality of Communism that inevitably turns neighbor against neighbor, the absence of morals and how inevitably it falls into its own form of corruption.
After all, we’re only human.
It’s a shame this is the show’s last season, but it’s still worth a look. If this truly marks the show’s end, I hope someone tackles the idea of how viral and seductive Communism can become, especially when corruption at the top is without limits.