I read Margaret Atwood’s The handmaid’s Tale long ago and was amazed that such trash could be taken so seriously. As Heather Wilhelm describes this loopy effort to scare the bejabbers out of American women:
In Atwood’s dystopian world, a sinister cabal of fundamentalist Christians (it’s always those dastardly Christians, it seems) seizes power, transforming what remains of the United States into the cruel Republic of Gilead. In this terrifying new world, certain fertile women — the “handmaids” in question — are forced into sex slavery, dissenters are sent off to clean up toxic waste, and a sly, yet miserable, cadre of privileged upper-class women manages to quietly enable the whole thing.
That understates the goofiness of the story and the unwarranted gravity accorded this tale by wild-eyed agenda feminists. You’ve got to read it to believe it.
And more people will be doing just that as Hulu is about to roll out to much advance praise a new miniseries based on the book.
If this is a warning about what America is about to become then it fizzles. Keep in mind that this was written in 1985. It’s so obvious–isn’t it?–that Atwater was prescient. Abortion has been outlawed. Dissenters have been enslaved to clean up toxic waste dumps. Sterile women must watch while their husbands inseminate fertile sex slaves. Or not.
The response, of course, is that those days are about to become reality as Donald Trump’s shadow now falls across the land. As if the appointment of Neil Gorsuch to the Supreme Court proves it. Oh my God, it’s going to happen!
I won’t live long enough to see America rot into Atwater’s Gilead. Neither will anyone else. But the tale will, as it always has, provide some degree of comfort to Americans who need their paranoia confirmed.