The Handmaid’s Tale, Margaret Atwood

the-handmaids-tale

The regime created an instant pool of [women recruited for reproductive purposes] by the simple tactic of declaring all second marriages and non marital liaisons adulterous, arresting the female partners, and, on the grounds that they were morally unfit, confiscating the children they already had, who were adopted by childless couples of the upper echelons who were eager for progeny by any means. . . . [A] desirable characteristic in an age of plummeting Caucasian birthrates, a phenomenon observable not only in Gilead but in most northern Caucasian societies of the time.

“The U.S. Fertility Rate Just Hit A Historic Low.” Washington Post, June 30, 2017. https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/to-your-health/wp/2017/06/30/the-u-s-fertility-rate-just-hit-a-historic-low-why-some-demographers-are-freaking-out/?utm_term=.795cce4c6660

Stillbirths, miscarriages, and genetic deformation were widespread and on the increase, and this trend has been linked to the various nuclear-plant accidents, shutdowns, and incidents of sabotage that characterized the period as well as to leakages from chemical- and biological-warfare stockpiles and toxic waste disposal sites, of which there were many thousands, both legal and illegal — in some instances these materials were simply dumped into the sewage system — and to the uncontrolled use of chemical insecticides, herbicides, and other sprays.

“In the United States, there are more than 20,000 stillbirths each year, a rate worse than that of many other countries.” Washington Post, May 16, 2016. https://www.washingtonpost.com/posteverything/wp/2016/05/16/stillbirth-is-more-common-than-you-think-and-were-doing-little-about-it/?utm_term=.ce53713b1d21

“RadiationfromFukushima nuclear power plant meltdown triggers genetic mutations.” The Daily Mail, August 13, 2012. http://www.dailymail.co.uk/sciencetech/article-2188017/Radiation-Fukushima-nuclear-power-plant-meltdown-triggers-genetic-mutations-butterflies.html

“Report Confirms Use of Chemical Weapons in Syrian Attack.” The Atlantic, June 30, 2017. https://www.theatlantic.com/news/archive/2017/06/report-confirms-use-of-chemical-weapons-in-syrian-attack/532458/

“The EPA is Beginning to Roll Back An Obama-era Rule Limiting How Much Toxic Waste Power Plants Release in Water,” BuzzFeed, August 14, 2017. https://www.buzzfeed.com/zahrahirji/trump-targets-strict-limits-on-power-plant-toxic-waste?utm_term=.hfJB6NglZ#.nhJ4dwkAQ

“Glyphosate in Our Food,” EcoWatch, August 4, 2017, https://www.ecowatch.com/monsanto-glyphosate-roundup-2468378805.html

It was he who suggested the use of an obscure “CIA” pamphlet on the destabilization of foreign governments as a strategic handbook . . . and he, too, who drew up the early hit lists of prominent “Americans” of the time.”

The World War II-era document, called Simple Sabotage Field Manual, outlines ways in which operatives can disrupt and demoralize enemy administrators and police forces. The first section of the document, which can be read in its entirety here, addresses “Organizations and Conferences” — and how to turn them into a “dysfunctional mess”:

  • Insist on doing everything through “channels.” Never permit short-cuts to be taken in order to expedite decisions.
  • Make “speeches.” Talk as frequently as possible and at great length. Illustrate your “points” by long anecdotes and accounts of personal experiences.
  • When possible, refer all matters to committees, for “further study and consideration.” Attempt to make the committee as large as possible — never less than five.
  • Bring up irrelevant issues as frequently as possible.
  • Haggle over precise wordings of communications, minutes, resolutions.
  • Refer back to matters decided upon at the last meeting and attempt to re-open the question of the advisability of that decision.
  • Advocate “caution.” Be “reasonable” and urge your fellow-conferees to be “reasonable” and avoid haste which might result in embarrassments or difficulties later on.”

“Within 24 hours, a part of widely different Trump speeches,” PBS Newshour, August 24, 2017. http://www.pbs.org/newshour/rundown/within-24-hours-pair-wildly-different-trump-speeches/

Somestimes I wish she would just shut up and let me walk in peace.  But I’m ravenous for news; even if it’s false news, it must mean something.
Numerous examples to cite. Most recent: “CNN’s Acosta: What Trump Calls ‘fake news’ keeps people safe during hurricanes,” The Hill, August 25, 2017. http://thehill.com/homenews/media/347932-cnns-acosta-what-trump-calls-fake-news-keeps-people-safe-during-hurricanes

It was after the catastrophe, when they shot the president and machine-gunned the Congress and the army declared a state of emergency. They blamed it on the Islamic fanatics, at the time.

Keep calm, the said on television. Everything is under control. . . .

That was when they suspended the Constitution. They said it would be temporary. There wasn’t even any rioting in the streets. People stayed home at night, watching television, looking for some direction. There wasn’t even an enemy you could put your finger on.

Things continued in that state of suspended animation for weeks, although some things did happen. Newspapers were censored and some were closed down, for security reasons they said. The roadblocks began to appear, and Identipasses. Everyone approved of that, since you couldn’t be too careful.

“The REAL ID Act, Frequently Asked Questions.” US Department of Homeland Security. https://www.dhs.gov/real-id-public-faqs

This is not my standard book club format. After finishing a re-read of Margaret Atwood’s 1984 literary classic The Handmaid’s Tale I was too dumbstruck to try it. Our book club is reading The Handmaid’s Tale next month. Perhaps yours should too.
“The Handmaid’s Tale is the latest dystopian novel to top bestseller lists,” The Washington Post, February 7, 2017. https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/morning-mix/wp/2017/02/07/margaret-atwoods-the-handmaids-tale-is-the-newest-dystopian-novel-to-top-bestseller-lists/?utm_term=.a4bd87fb92c1
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