Response to Fifteen Million Merit
The episode “Fifteen Million Merits “ portrays the possibility of a future society with the advance of technology. In this society, first-class citizens are obligated to cycle to power their surrounding and by doing so earn merit points as a form currency. Second class citizens are either cleaners or abused in a game show. Each citizen lives in a cell, where it is surrounded by television screen that displays entertainment shows. Their everyday activities are interrupted by advertisement, either by a show name hot shot which promotes citizen to go for a better lives (similar to American idol), and pornography. Attempt to skip these advertisements will be penalized by deduction of merit points. Bing is a citizen of this society in which he struggles find a purpose in this system, and later strip off the only thing that felt real to him. Out of desperation, he cycled for months audition on the show hot shot so he can rant about the injustice of the corrupted system only to be appreciate for his “act” rather than putting his words into considerations.
This episode depicted a possibility of the future dystopian society with the advance of technologies, in which it shows that every individuals were presented by icons, minimal actual human interactions, and interactions with nature. Everything in the society is computerized, which human are presented in a cartoonish characters and the closest thing to being outdoor is a computerized track while cycling. Everything in the cell, is dull, no bright colors beside the screen and citizens wears grey, while the obese citizen wear a bright yellow just so the two classes can be separated. We as a society are getting closer to its reality. With the over dependency of cell-phones and text-messaging, physical interaction between people are minimized. Many rather have a conversation through text messaging rather talking in person, even when dining outside with their friends. This phenomenon can be observed anywhere today.
It also depicted how, majority of the people are not properly appreciated for their talents simply because there are too many. Unless one is extremely talented, their talent won’t be recognized. There was a lack of sympathy in the society, where everything is seen as an act. This is very common among college graduates. Since an education is more accessible to many American, more and more people hold a college degree. Consequently the standards for jobs are increasingly higher. Majority of jobs are given to the top students, while those intermediate and lower students struggles to find one.
This episode also criticized how television business will eventually be the most successful and most emphasized in media than other professions. People in the future will eventually work hard only to be on television so they can escape the slave life rather actually working hard towards other things. Also Celebrities get more attention than anything else in the media than actual important events. Celebrities are living the “ideal life”, which motivates many to strive to become actors and actresses. Actors and actresses are earning much more than those work just as hard as them. Strikingly, famous actors or actresses earn 100 times more than the highest paying job. A physician which have an annual income of approximately a hundred eighty thousand are working just as hard as the actors or the actresses who has an annual income of about thirty million dollars. This gap between the incomes may discourage many and might be tempted to strive in show business rather than working long hours.
In the show, we can also see that majority of the work are being replaced by machines. Foods were dispensed by vending machines instead of having actual chief cooking. In one of the conversation, it mentioned how everything is made from a petri dish. It is very common to see vending machine in today’s world. It is in malls, in school, and sometime in a lobby of an office or out in the street. The machines ranges from beverages, desserts and snacks, some also has lunch box dispenser. In close future, we may have machines that can dispense dinner, fruits and others.
The episode also portrays how one’s tragedies became a business ploy. This can be seen through how obese citizen are abuse in a game show, and this was some sort of comedy for the first class citizen. Even after Bing truthful speech, and even threatening to kill himself with a glass shard if they remove him from the stage, none of the judges took in his words. Instead his glass shard became an object that is purchasable in the market for his followers and the judges gave him his own show. The closest examples to this are reality television shows. The reality television showcases the unfortunate or celebrities struggle in their everyday life. Often, viewer may sympathize with the victim and root for them. Eventually they will become the reality television star and gain some fame.
The events discussed above are very much parallel to the current society that we live in. People now a day are trying their hardest to strive in the society, but it seems that being on the media yields the best outcome. With the advance of technological advance, less and less physical interactions are observed, and the lack of sympathy for other’s misfortune, which are not as severe as the show depicted.