Game of Phonies

Joffrey-BaratheonGame of Thrones is back on TV and it’s got me thinking again how our moral compass changes so much while we watch film and TV. Why can what we stand for, vote for and believe in our lives be so different to what we feel in response to film and television?

Movies and TV consistently portray stories which advocate morality, fairness and equity. Countless films and TV series have been based on stories of a little guy rising from nothing to greatness in a fight for good over evil. Or, they are a story of a hero’s fight for freedom from oppressors. Typically there may be an evil totalitarian group who are “badies” making every one’s life a misery. Could there be a bigger, better and more popular illustration of this than Star Wars?

So when we watch films and TV shows we seem to be naturally drawn to our raw human sense of truth, morality and altruism. We identify immediately with the “goodies”, the hero or an injustice. It is innate in us and our DNA. It is why we all pull together in times of human calamity. Why we give blood and feel so protective of pregnant women.

In The Matrix the machines harvest humans to power a virtual world which is numbingly perfect. Despite the machines providing a consumerist plentiful “perfect” human existence they have to manufacture a series of “rebellions”. To be human is to rebel and to seek justice, equality and the truth – even the machines knew that.

On the screen we root for the heroes, their cause and hate their evil opponents.  Film and TV stories find a way to easily echo this morality and promote egalitarianism. Yet why, when faced with our own moral or political choices in “real life” do we seemingly side with the movie bad guys?  What happens? What changes? Why do we leave all that behind in the butt crease of our couches?

Has there ever been a more universally hated TV villain than Joffrey? Not just because he is the just the badie. He is a privileged elite whose sadistic and psychopathic nature makes life unnecessarily hell for those subject to his rule. On ‘Thrones it is so easy to recognise that he is a complete arsehole. What if a “Joffrey” was in power today. Turn off your TV and would you support him? Unfortunately for those citizens in Joffrey’s world, they don’t get a choice. But we do. Would you support those like him who perpetuate class war divide and the abuse of the weak and powerless? Who love and worship economy before society. No? Dear conservative voter movie goer, you hate Joffrey but you still voted for Abbott.

Government spending and budget policy is all about choices and priorities. Like it or not if you voted for Abbott, furthering the gap between the mega rich and poor is what you condone. If this speech from Adam Bandt was a monologue in a Hollywood blockbuster you’d likely empathise and agree with it’s hero’s crys. But no, when it really counts you’ll just dismiss it as just more greenie rantings.

Will you really listen to the scientists in “Day After Tomorrow”, Dante’s Peak or in 2012? During these sort of films we scratch our heads and screw up our faces at the authorities who fail to heed their so obvious warnings. “How can they be so stupid”.  Step out of the theatre and do you ignorantly shun report after report from climate science. Ironically, these doomsday end of the world movie plots are not so far fetched for us today.  If you voted for Abbott this is where you stand – in “coal is good for humanity” ignorance.

No instead, we are the bad guys. We are the stubborn self serving overly ambitious town Mayors who won’t listen, won’t change and who persecute the weak. We are the phonies not Hollywood.  We choose our own self interest. Or we fold so easily to fear or to the lure of easy money over what is right. This is Australia today, what we democratically elected.  All to supposedly save $550 pa and stop those boats. That is all it came down to get your vote?

 Good has two meanings: it means that which is good absolutely and that which is good for somebody. ”
— Aristotle

I think it was a little more than that too. It was so we could shamelessly look the other way while our xenophobic weaknesses sprouted to the mainstream. We grew richer while the rest of the world suffered through the GFC. We conceded to Abbott because we could continue on in our greedy consuming ways and not have to change. Leave me alone, I’ve got “The Block” and ‘Masterchef’ to watch on the plasma in my bedroom.

If there really was an Australian budget emergency and we were on Titanic we’d be drop kicking the woman and children overboard instead of hurrying them into life boats. Because it’s the pensioners, the sick and poor’s fault we had the GFC right. They were the ones running Wall Street and sinking the ship. Then lumbered us with all that debt. Weighing us down with stimulus spending, banking guarantees, mining rebates, useless fighter jets and personal expense write offs.  So of course, it was all their fault. They’re the ones who must now pay for corporate socialism. Instead we let the game remain rigged and those who caused the GFC in the first place to continue to ride and bonus themselves up off our backs. Now look who is really paying and who isn’t.

We are those insatiable humans who pillage and destroy Pandora for Unobtainium in Avatar. That’s who the “Lucky Country” has become. Why are you not as equally appalled at the current Govt’s disregard for our reef and our forests, as when you watch the armies attack the giant Na’vi tree house? Complicity or not, if you voted for Abbott that is what you morally accept and let represent you. Don’t even begin to tell me you really care about your children’s future. My power bill didn’t go up though.. did it? Wrong.

Maybe I could be wrong and some of us don’t actually change in the movie room darkness at all. Actually siding with the on screen oppressors is really how Tony Abbott and the conservatives watch film and TV?

Khaleesi, the sexy ‘mother of dragons’ is one of the hot favourites among G.O.T fans to eventually claim rule of the seven kingdoms. She’s loved so much now that even new mothers are spamming Khaleesi as a viral new baby name. Everyone loves Khaleesi because of her fairness, kindness and strength of character.  She kicks arse but promotes justice. While it’s not going super well for her she freed slaves from their masters.

If you are a Tea Party, Republican or LNP type, Khaleesi doesn’t belong to you. You have no right to barrack for her, identify with her and love her. How dare you! Back up, Joffrey belongs to you. Hail to your King.

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