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CONTENT WARNING: This might get a little close for some readers. Nothing explicit or overly graphic, but I am lightly touching on all aspects of this type of ecosocial paradigm. You have been warned.
I always tune into USA Network to watch Law & Order: SVU marathons and there's so many intermittent self-promoting commercials I wonder why they don't just show parts of the actual fucking episodes in between SVU, because I'm not going to watch The Purge any other way. There's B movie dystopian horror and then there's... this. It's just senseless torture porn. It is Saw: Jigsaw Takes the Government. At least The Handmaid's Tale is a believable, engrossing dystopia, however heart-wrenching and infuriating.
What's the premise of The Purge? One night of the year, Purge Night, all crime is legal for 12 hours. All crime... is legal... for 12 hours. Then it isn't CRIME, is it? It's government-sanctioned violence! Or as Geneva calls it: Crimes against humanity. There are many reasons that the premise of Purge Night is complete bullshit. Because Purge Night, according to psychological studies (pfft) actually lowers the crime rate for the rest of the year. Get it? The Purge. It could be the government lying, yes, but that's not the way it's portrayed. During this Purge Night, emergency services are banned from working. That means no police, no firefighters, and no ambulances. This Purge Night actually makes this alternate America better. I have five reasons why this wouldn't be the case, because unlike you Purge writers, I used the soft squishy thing in my skull that you've obviously been using as a cocaine sponge. Damn, this paragraph got violent. I think I need to purge these thoughts to make myself feel better.
5. Money, Baby
You'd be surprised how much crime can be done sitting at your computer screen.
Since all crime is legal, you'd might as well pull the cork at the bottom of America's money pool. Wolves of Wallstreet, indeed, there's going to be so many embezzlements of your embellishments by those malevolent, there won't be a sediment left of your settlements. What I'm saying is that you're going to go broke, fast.
That's not all—houses will be robbed, stores looted, banks ransacked, businesses ruined, Fort Knox broken into. Oh, yeah. You didn't think about that one, did you? Countless amounts of check and credit fraud, accounts being hacked, identities stolen, cryptocurrencies draining like the Hoover Dam, warehouses vandalized, cars being stolen and taken to chop shops. Come the morning, nobody will be nobody and everybody will be fucked. Shattered glass will sprinkle the streets like Kristallnacht, OD'd bodies brimming with stolen drugs, the people who got in the way are now food for worms. Blessed be the Purge? (Ironically, you stole that slogan from Handmaid's Tale.)
4. Ring of Fire
How many frickin' neighborhoods are going to be blazing infernos when the 12 hours are up? This will be an arsonist party night! Crack open a 24 pack of beer and set a gasoline plant on fire! It's reverse trick-or-treat with Molotovs through windows! Also, would there be a line drawn on domestic terrorism? Is the White House off limits? Is the Congress? Are the Secret Service on holiday time? Would a coup d'etat be illegal? Edit: Okay, read the rules (say, another word for rules is... laws, right?) and it says that certain government rankings are prohibited. Of course it would be. Also, Class 5 weapons (nuclear weapons, bazookas, rocket launchers) are prohibited. But who's supposed to be guarding such buildings if the emergency services are suspended...?
All bigotry groups are going to get their chance to do the damage against what they think is ruining America. This includes churches, synagogues, mosques, abortion clinics, women's health clinics, hospitals, anything I can't think of right now that people have dangerous opinions about. Libraries, museums, schools, science labs likely in ash heaps. Public information desecrated by the uninformed. Education being torched by the uneducated.
If you think I'm going off the rail, oh, I have only started to derail, my friend!
3. Mass Genocide
Some parts of humanity, we don't want to acknowledge. Except this is very much a social experiment where the want to cause violence and commit murder is acknowledged to monumental levels. First off, on the whole world spectrum of this, other countries will be outraged. The UN would be slamming sanction after sanction on the US for even suggesting something like a Purge event.
I just had a brainwave. Maybe a part of these lowered crime ratings have to do with the American population being massacred in the thousands. After all, they aren't counting crimes during Purge Night, are they? Any dissenters of the movement would be killed and what would a rebellion against this kind of government be? Refusing to kill?
But it's the killing that still strikes anger within me, because an agenda should never have to absolve the thoughtless genocide of human beings as something for "the common good." Why is the coup in The Handmaid's Tale more believable than The Purge? Well, it's already confirmed in the epilogue of the original novel by Margaret Atwood that Gilead was a reactionary takeover in the face of an infertility crisis. There are tiny clues in The Handmaid's Tale to tell you this is not an effective totalitarian party, even though their propaganda fools its believers into support for the regime, much like Nazi Germany did during their Final Solution in which they privately massacred millions of Jews.
The Purge is telling us, however, that their idea for a genocidal purge is effective—like actually, not fabricated by propaganda. This was an idea based on a sociological thought experiment and it was proven right in this alternate universe. Oh, I'm sorry, is this just an alternate universe where nothing makes fucking sense anymore? 'Cause I missed that plot development.
Genocide for genocide's sake is the exact opposite of how a human's survival instinct works. We found out a long, long time ago, sometime after we exchanged our knuckle-dragging hairy paws for dextrous hands, that killing others of our kind didn't help us progress as civilizations and we evolved beyond that. Well, some of us. Looking at you, Romans and Mongols. Yes, there's still mass murder happening in our world today, but there are studies that show we're living in of the most peaceful times ever in our history on this planet.
I'm done yet, folks. Still have some uglier aspects to discuss about The Purge.
2. Going... There
And for people who want to yell at me for daring to talk about rape, I will remind you that not talking about things is how we stigmatized talking about them in the first place. So in my most respectful way, I will ask you to please not jump down my throat.
The crimes of sex abuse and rape would be legal in this alternate America. This is a trope shared with The Handmaid's Tale, though it's a bit shadier with its terms. Men who are not Commanders can be charged with rape; however, the Commanders, who are the ones raping them by Gilead law, are not considered rapists. Just like politicians. Oh, sneaked one in!
This is even more worrisome than the fact of mass genocide being legal. Not only women are susceptible to rape in this analogy. Men are allowed to rape men, women are allowed to rape men, and vice versa. Then there would be no repercussion for killing them, so no victims. I can't honestly decide if that's better or worse.
Worse. I'm going to go with worse.
Speaking of which...
Well, there wasn't an age limit restriction, was there? We didn't see any children die in the films and TV series because broadcasting stations and rating boards are (understandably) sensitive about portraying kids being shot and... worse. If homes can be broken into, even the most protected child is up for grabs. If there is a nationwide purge, the sick and degenerate are going to come out from their mother's houses and wreak havoc on this night. Where the hell are registered sex offenders living in this alternate world? No one's going to be wanting to be living beside pedophiles with the sign in their yard. Or maybe droves of other goons are taking care of the pedophiles.
Vigilante justice or not, there shouldn't be a need for it. That is my conclusion. There should never be killing for the killers' sake. If people honestly need to purge their animalistic murder impulses yearly, they need therapy and straight jackets, not given free reign to make other peoples' lives hell for jollies. Fuck The Purge and all it stands for. Awful films, awful premise, awful all around.
If USA Network is watching this... fuck it, you lost my respect when you aired 50 Shades of Grey a long time ago. Law & Order: SVU's on Hulu just like The Handmaid's Tale, a bunch better dystopian setting where America goes to hell in a handbasket. You know, like it probably will this coming Tuesday.