I am the Law
Way back when I was in the third grade, the city of Toronto and its outlying bureaus had come together to form a more easily manipulated, controlling, unaccountable, sprawling monolith that would be known as Toronto, Canada's only city with a lop-sided flag. More accurately, actually, the referendum to "amalgamate" the cities was held when I was in the third grade, and, of course, I had no idea what this had actually meant. I saw posters that opposed the move and beseeched you, the voter, to do the same, and the general rhetoric was that this was an undesirable thing. And undesirable things, as you well know, get burdened with undesirable nicknames - emotional nicknames that hinge on the public's perception that "big things" are automatically "bad things." Nicknames like "Megacity."
Oh boy oh boy oh boy, did that make my little third-grader mind race. After all, the only other place I had encountered the term "Megacity" was the movie that had captured my heart the previous summer: Judge Dredd.
Now, a lot of people hate this movie, because it's not really Judge Dredd, is it? No, it's just another big budget, dumb, Hollywood action movie. But I loved it. Of course, I also ended up loving The Rock and Con-Air, so you probably shouldn't be e-mailing me for Oscar recommendations. But, gimme a break, will ya? I was, what, 7 years old? It was enough for a movie to have a barrage of bullets and a really scary villain to put my butt in front of the TV.
Naturally, when a fellow student, probably just as ignorant as I, asked me what I thought about the "Megacity" plan, I gave him my opinion of Judge Dredd. Of course I was against the Megacity. I mean, "street judges" blowing up someone's car for illegal parking? The absence of fair trials? Sylvester Stallone as an authority figure? No thank you, sir.
Despite the almost universal revulsion it engenders with critics and fans of the Judge, a bit of movie-specific parlance had seeped into the vernacular. And it was Orwellian, too - the term was meant to evoke images of Judge Dredd's Megacities, huge metropolises of bureaucratic corruption and lawlessness; it was meant to convince people to vote on an important issue not by using their brains, but by using their feelings. Double-plus good, yum yum.
By sheer luck, the phrase had become ironic - by using the appeal to emotion to guide policy, a word associated with a dystopia used the methods of a dystopia to try to keep the status quo. the plan failed, though, and today, I live in the glorious city of Toronto, and I live to serve.
Following an article in the Sunday Herald, in which Judge Dredd writer Alan Grant discussed the growing similarities between Judge Dredd's world and our's, I began to wonder - in what other ways did "Judge Dredd" inspire aspiring non-thinkers? How many concepts from this famous British comic book series, not the movie, had been seamlessly integrated into our societies, without us even recognizing that it had happened?
I'll be looking through some Judge Dredd comics this week and making comparisons, hoping that it isn't all bad. But if it wasn't, then I wouldn't have any blog-fodder, now would I?