Revolution on NBC: I HAVE QUESTIONS
People always say that I think too hard about things, and I always take offense to that. In the first place, because I am not thinking hard about things, I am just regular-noticing regularly-noticeable things. In the second place, thinking about the world is the natural state of being, we do that automatically. It’s not WORK to think about something, it’s work to NOT think about it, so I don’t see why I should suffer the accusations of responsibility. I’m not even doing anything. But also, sometimes things don’t make sense. Like, imagine if you were watching a movie about the Frost/Nixon interviews, and at one point Richard Nixon ducked into a cafe because the sky had started raining Oobleck.
That would bother you guys, right? That is regular old noticing.
So. Revolution, coming September to NBC: I have some questions about your trailer.
Questions About the Electricity Thing
So, wait, what exactly happened here? The power went out, but ALSO all the batteries stopped working, and the turbines stopped working, and everything like that?
How did the batteries stop working? A battery isn’t a bucket filled with electricity, like so maybe a magnetic field could just drain it. It is full of chemicals that, under the right circumstances, generate electric current.
Do chemicals not work anymore?
What about turbines? Turbines (like the kind that power our coal plants and oil plants and nuclear plants and hydroelectric plants and wind farm plants) that aren’t spinning don’t even have electricity in them; they have magnets that when you spin them, they generate current. Do magnets not work anymore?
WHAT THE HELL COULD HAVE HAPPENED THAT TURNED OFF THE MAGNETS?
Why didn’t it affect the Earth’s magnetic field, thus making us all vulnerable to deadly solar radiation?
What about Ed Begley, Jr’s electric exercise bicycle that he uses to power his toaster? Does that not work?
What about photovoltaic cells, do they work? Why not?
Does silicon not produce electric current when struck by photons anymore? Does copper wire not conduct electricity anymore? Do lightbulb filaments not incandesce when current is passed through them?
If something happened to change the basic properties of the periodic table of elements, wouldn’t it have huge and far-ranging biological effects?
Likewise, if electricity just DOESN’T WORK, then how come people’s brains still work? Those are full of electricity.
Questions About Just What Happened
So, how come the plane, when it lost power, started hurtling to the ground like a frisbee? If it was flying in a straight line when it lost power, why didn’t it just continue flying in a straight line, since it would actually be really hard to steer?
Contrarywise, why did all the cars, when they lost power, just neatly drift to a stop in a line on the highway? When your car stalls out, don’t you usually use the remaining momentum to try to pull to the side of the road so the guy behind you doesn’t hit you? Wouldn’t at least SOME of those people do that? Wouldn’t some of them have bumped into each other, too? Or is this a highway where everyone always maintains a safe following distance? Well what the hell kind of highway is that?
When the power goes out, doesn’t that mean that political and social power is going to fall directly into the hands of the people with guns, shields, armor, and horses? Isn’t that most cities’ complement of riot cops?
Questions About the World We Live in Now
I guess after fifteen years, people have just shot all the bullets? Is that why no one has guns? Did no one remember that it’s possible to make bullets, even without electricity? That bullets were actually invented and mass-produced before factories all ran on electricity?
What’s up with this guy’s crossbow?
Why is it backwards? It looks like he’s about to shoot himself in the face. You can buy regular crossbows at Wal-Mart, if people have crossbows, wouldn’t they have just looted them? I guess it’s some kind of compound crossbow but for real — why, after the collapse of civilization, would you spend your time reinventing the CROSSBOW, of every fucking thing?
How come they don’t have regular bows and arrows? That’s also a specialized skill, but it’s not really harder than making a crossbow, and they’re much more effective in almost every circumstance. Remember how, after the battles of Crecy and Agincourt, the longbow surged in popularity and the crossbow kind of dropped off?
That was five hundred and fifty years before society got electricity in the first place.
When they decided to reform civilization outside of the city, why didn’t they form loose-knit agrarian communities defended by yeoman farmers who practiced with their bows every evening, the way Edward III told everyone to in the 14th century? Did all the historians and sociologists and archaeologists die out in the times of war, so no one actually has any idea how human civilization organized itself for 3500 years before Tesla invented alternating current?
Why does that guy have a sword?
Why do ALL of those guys have swords?
Swords are hard to make! Good ones are hard to get now, and that’s with phones and internet and a Post Office to deliver the Atlanta Cutlery catalog.
Why would you devote resources to making single-purpose weapons like swords, instead of just looting a Home Depot and arming all of your guys with hatchets and shovels and prybars?
How did that guy even learn to USE a sword? People who know how to use swords are pretty uncommon, even though we have electricity. If a whole bunch of people died off during the War Times, they must be even rarer, right? So why would you learn how to use a sword, instead of finding some guy who knew Okinawan karate and getting him to teach you to fight with an oar, or something else that you could also use for a purpose other than fighting other guys with swords?
Questions About the Social Message
Uh, is this a TV show about a middle-class white family from Chicago
losing their technological advantages and then running afoul of a militia made mostly of angry black men?
Is…is it going to be a cackhanded allegory for how a systemically white supremacist culture uses its technological privilege to oppress minority groups?
Or is the whole show going to be about “Restoring Power” — i.e., “restoring the power of the white middle-class family to maintain the comforts that they enjoyed in the past at the expense of everyone else”?