The Handmaid’s Tale Delivers a Powerful Super Bowl Commercial: “Wake Up America, Morning’s Over”
The Super Bowl was pretty bland and the commercials weren’t that much better, but some of the TV spots managed to leave an impression, especially the first look at The Handmaid’s Tale season 3.
“Today more women will go to work than ever before in our country’s history […] it’s morning again,” a narrator says in the video presenting Gilead as a sort of pleasant informercial. That quickly changes into a fiery inferno with June doing her usual Kubrickian stare. The spot ends with June saying “wake up America, morning’s over,” looking over an army of handmaids in DC.
In the longer trailer, June says that she and everyone else was “asleep before, that’s how [they] let it happen.” She goes through all the ways in which the dystopian society was slowly creeping up on people, but that no one did anything to stop it. It wasn’t until it was too late that people truly understood just how horrible the situation could be.
I have my qualms with The Handmaid’s Tale, especially in the second season, but I think there is no denying that it managed to come out at a time that it is most necessary. While the term “woke” is played out, the initial meaning behind it and what it should stand for is important. It isn’t about dunking on people about when they came to understand social justice, it is about being aware of the ways in which society has worked, and works currently, to disempower vulnerable communities. It is about not becoming complacent and normalizing behavior just because other people do.
Every day we turn on the news and it seems more and more extreme. We have normalized behavior that, within most of our lifetimes, was seen as condemnable. Hell, we are four days deep into Black History Month here in America and we are having to discuss if it’s okay for Ralph Northam, the governor of Virginia, to have either worn blackface or dressed up as a KKK member at a party. Blackface was something he admitted to doing one day, but then backtracked once he was being called to resign. And the wars over women’s reproductive freedoms are being waged as fiercely as we’ve seen in recent memory.
It is an exhausting time to be awake, but the alternative is to give in to the end with a passivity that will only make things worse. The Handmaid’s Tale at this point isn’t just a show, it is a warning bell reminder that nothing is guaranteed, and freedom can be taken away at any moment. It’s a reality many people of color and marginalized communities are aware of already. Once you think it could never happen here is the exact moment it becomes possible to sign away your freedom.
I have no idea what the third season of THT will bring, but I know that they have plenty of material to address the social anarchy we exist in today.
And as always: Nolite te bastardes carborundorum.
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