Perpetual Dystopias: Analysis of Flawed Human Behaviours in Memoirs found in a Bathtub and Fahrenheit 451
Humans have always desired to gain power and authority over others. The myth that tells the idea of individuals wanting power over others first appeared in the life when Pandora opened her box. As this desire for authority grows, the authority unconsciously starts to become selfish, calculative and cruel. The presence of these emotions allows it to walk down the path of corruption. As history has shown, the desire for power makes society corrupt, weak and eventually dystopian. The following narrative on humanity becomes a reality in Koushun Tamaki’s Battle Royale and Frank Miller’s Batman: the Dark Knight Returns. The selfish actions of the power in both works contribute to a dystopian society; however, the course of action taken by each power to achieve a dystopia is distinct. The key contrast between the two governments is the course of action that creates the dystopia in society. The authorities in Batman purposely create a dystopia from corruption and neglect to its citizens, whereas authorities in Battle Royale unintentionally create a dystopia by trying to help it. However, both authorities in the works abuse their power to satisfy their wants which leads to dystopia society. Furthermore, technology is exploited by both authorities to achieve this horrible society.
The government’s in both societies take a course of action that creates a dystopian society. The government in Batman neglects all its citizens and just lets corrupt cops and gangsters run the city. The president is more preoccupied with his own matters than those of citizens: “I love mint… I love medals..” (Miller, 84). The president of the United States says this quote when his secretary tries to discuss with him about political work. The president does not even take matters of national security seriously, and would rather throw around frivolous jokes instead. He does not take his job seriously, and transfers the power to run society to corrupt officials and gangster. This is where the theory of social contract comes into play. The philosopher Thomas Hobbes claims that “people are naturally evil, self-centered, and greed. If we just let the society flow, we know we will going to hurt each other so people made a contract to each other so that no one can be hurt by others which is law and because of that people are able to live together in society” (Hobbes). Since law becomes useless, the suppression on human evil is lifted, and humans begin to naturally act evil. If the cops and gangsters continue to enforce a law that is corrupted, a utopia can never be achieved. In order to create a utopia for themselves, they have to prevent citizens from doing what they want to do (protest) and make citizen’s feel like victims. An angry citizen voices her opinion on the telecast, which indicates that they are aware of the dystopia they inhabit, “We live in the shadow of crime…with the unspoken understanding that we are victims of fear, of violence, of social impotence” (Miller, 66). Frank Miller mentions that idea of Batman comes from the protestors from German in World War 2. Miller wanted to create someone who is strong as Hitler so that protesters can know that there is always going to be good people who are fighting against evil (Wiater). If a corrupt law is enforced, a utopia is only achieved for the corrupt officials, and the majority of citizens are left with a dystopia. In contrast, the government in Battle Royale actually cares about the country; however, the actions they take are extreme. Their country, Japan, was in the middle of depression. There was a 15% unemployment rate, and 800,000 students boycotted school (Battle Royale). The government’s concern for a portion of society forces it to act. Unlike the authority in Batman, the authority in Battle Royale takes action in society out of concern for their citizens. However, their concern for society is too great, and they end up using death to control. They create the Battle Royale program because they believe that if people are killed off, society can function better. A basic human instinct is to live, and governments are using that against citizen to maintain peace again. Citizens have to live in day by day hoping that their child is not in the program, and as a result they don’t want to have kids. As a result, the population is reduced and society can function better. The government in Battle Royale finds the solution, but the solution they found to fix the problem makes dystopia society to live for citizens.
Both authorities in the works abuse their power to satisfy their wants, which leads to dystopian society. Cops in Batman use their power to hide corrupted people from getting caught. Cops can be bought out by any evil gangster, as evident when the leader of mutants says, “Pay them [cops], they’ll do their job (Miller, 45). They also conceal vital information from citizens by using their powers, as evident when the mayor says, “As mayor, it is my duty to administrate not to lender moral judgment. Don’t ask me to interfere with the decision making power of our new police commissioner.”(Miller, 104). By hiding information from the citizens, they will never discover the true intentions of the authority. The re-writing of history also gives a bad image of Batman. The officials also abuse their power to stop any change in society. This is evident when the newly appointed chief says, “Gotham city will no Longer tolerate this flagrant violation of the law by attacking police, Batman has revealed himself as an unqualified menace” (Miller, 159)”. They negatively characterize batman in an attempt to stop him from changing the dystopia they created. Also, the chief commissioner does everything in his power to destroy radical change: “Yes, I’ll be specific. My first act as police commissioner will be to issue an arrest warrant for the Batman”. (Miller, 73). In order to satisfy their needs, “obstacles” to achieving complete control over society are eliminated. This happens in Battle Royale is well. After the Class B gets selected for the BR program, the parents of the children cannot do anything (Battle Royale). They are just hoping that their children will survive and come back. There is also rebellion, the class teacher disagrees with the killing of students, but ultimately gets killed. (Battle Royale). The word utopia contains the meaning of ideal society (Cuddan, 185), and thus a country cannot achieve utopia if there is rebellion in their country.
Technology plays a big role in both of works in creating dystopia. In Batman, all the villains are armed with weapons of mass destruction. In order for Batman to stand against them, he also needs to arm himself with high technology: “One more time I check my utility belt. Nerve gas ampoules. Freezing compound. Cable. Grappling hooks. Stethoscope. Pain killers.” (Miller,48). As both Batman and villains fight, the advanced technology has become more convenient but more dangerous and cruel at the same time. This causes Gotham City to be more unsafe and dangerous than before. The technology that Batman uses to maintain peace by getting rid of criminals made the society worse than before, and more dystopian. A similar situation happens in Battle Royale. In Battle Royale, the government runs with dictatorship where the director of BR act controls everyone. The director mainly uses Military to control the class that has chosen for BR act (Battle Royale). It is similar to old German army, where Hitler says something and then the Nazis follow the order (Chen). Also, citizen’s property and money were taken by the governments and live each day hoping that they can survive in this dystopia. The society in Battle Royale was no better, and the exploitation of technology lead to the creation of a dystopia (Allsop).
In both works, the actions and polices that both governments enforce on citizens make their society a dystopia. The policy that government in Battle Royale set to fix the problem leads the society to be worse than before. The government in Batman is corrupted and helps villains in destroying society. Also, Battle Royale uses death and extreme measures to enforce conformity, whereas the authority in Batman takes a more passive approach. Furthermore, use of technology and military quickens the process to achieve the dystopian society. For both works, the socities started off with different visions, but they ended up in a “dystopian situation”. Before Pandora opened her box, there was no hate, evilness and happiness. Some people say it is a good thing that she opened her box even if they nothing because now there is what it’s called “hope”. There are going to happen many bad things in our life when living in a dystopia society, as long as we have this “hope”, we can cover every bad things by smile and make a small utopia inside of your heart. Dystopia, that is nothing.