I’m going to miss Be Good and Rewatch It. Austin needs to hook us up with a link to wherever he’s posting all of his fanfic, because we need that Good Content.
I’m one of those weirdos who will just turn on the spoiler hose full force directly into my face, so I haven’t seen the film, but the discussion of the bad take where the critic concluded that the red clothes obviously symbolized Republicans despite the rather obvious collectivist uprising reading struck my interest.
The fact that the United States’ conservative party is generally associated with red when the rule of thumb basically everywhere is that conservatives are blue and socialists are red is a total accident. Both of the parties’ official logos are red, white and blue, because of course they are, this is the US. The whole “red state, blue state” paradigm didn’t come into place until 2000 when the TV news agencies decided they would standardize which colors to fill in states on their election night maps.
Over the past few years I keep coming back in my thoughts to just how much it seems to me that this oversimplification has sunk its claws deep in the American political imagination over the past 20 years. By the time I was old enough to vote, its was after the 2004 election which really cemented the “red state, blue state” idea, and by 2016 my home state of Michigan went from part of the “impenetrable blue wall” to apparently being completely indistinguishable from West Virginia in the mind of whoever wrote that garbage take basically overnight, because a tenth of a percent more people voted for the Republican than the Democrat.
Set aside the United States having basically no fundamental understanding of class. When the mainstream cultural and political discourse is dominated by people who can’t even tell entire states apart, of course some of those same people can’t find any shred of sympathy for the antagonists of this movie.
Again, I haven’t seen Us yet, but the fact that the same visual icon from the movie could be interpreted so wildly differently based on whether or not you’re willing to write off the antagonists as purely bad or not sounds like it’s in conversation with the themes Jordan Peele is clearly trying to work with here (based on the discussions I’ve heard/seen on this podcast and elsewhere). It’s definitely something I’ll be thinking about when I do get to watch it whenever it comes to streaming services.