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This episode is a brilliant indictment of not only the people that watch reality television and the life it creates around it, but of the people who continue to drone along in their everyday existence. We all know the system is rigged; that our dreams are more like fantasies, but people continue to believe in the myth and pedal the bike. They don’t fight the system; they merely try to find a way to be comfortable within the system of corruption.
If you think about it, we are all, every day, looking into different varieties of mirrors – there is the mirror that you are looking into right now that’s on the screen. But the mirror is also in your pocket on your cell phone. Be careful.
*Pick any question or questions to do the reflection.
The world of “Fifteen Million Merits” isn’t real. But it feels real, because we see flashes of our own lives in it. How is Bing’s world our world? How are his struggles our struggles?
How does Marcuse’s work as well as the work of other critical theorists, like Horkheimer and Adorno, explain some of the plot lines in the episode? How, for example, is their critique of technology reflected in the challenges faced by the major characters? What about the social trends that we see here with regard to social conformism and one-dimensionalism?
Ask yourself: What am I doing to contribute to a world such as this? What could I do to help change, avoid, or at least not contribute to making this world a reality? (when you find the answer, please go do it).
Given the choice, would you rather be part of the masses who simply believe the bullshit and live with hope that things will get better if you work hard, or would you rather be in possession of a critical thinking capacity that lets you see the world for what it is, knowing that world is becoming absurd, devoid of all meaning, and going nowhere?
How does the episode use the conventions of the dystopian genre to paint a portrait of the emotional and spiritual cost of living right now?
What are we to make of the ending? It certainly wasn’t a happy ending. Far from dramatic, you might say it was even depressing. What message was Bing trying to deliver with his speech and what happened as a result?
Do you think the ending might have been better – more hopeful – if Bing had committed suicide?