One of the opening questions in Jeff Sessions’ hearing today was: does Jeff Sessions like Jason Bourne or James Bond movies? (He likes neither, but he does enjoy a good David Ignatius paperback, te-he; it was one of the few unequivocal truths we learned from that hearing). In any case, it was a setup for Republican Senator Tom Cotton’s question:
Have you ever in any of these fantastical situations heard of a plotline so ridiculous that a sitting United States senator and an ambassador of a foreign government colluded in an open setting with hundreds of other people to pull off the greatest caper in the history of espionage?
No! Sessions said; he would more accurately compare his experience of all the “secret innuendo” being “leaked” about him to Alice in Wonderland.
Pop culture references have been a running theme in the Trump administration spectacle, which is so far beyond parody that science fiction is necessary to establish the societally-agreed-upon baseline definition of dystopia. So unsurprisingly, yesterday the BBC reported that protesters again showed up to a statehouse in bonnets and robes from The Handmaid’s Tale, this time in Ohio, following the lead of groups in Texas and Missouri and the Women’s March. Margaret Atwood’s handmaids–whose sole purpose is to breed–are apropros to Senate Bill 145, which proposes to outlaw dilation and evacuation abortions for second trimester pregnancies. The parallels between the book/show and politics are becoming so clear that Beth Elderkin has identified ten real-life Handmaid’s Tale laws.
The Handmaid’s Tale is a terrifying future for a number of reasons. And yet small, but not least among them is that it’s also a future without streaming services.