A world that longs for security is divided by lines of fearful liquids
The Conversation has a new series called Class in Australia to explore, debate, and highlight its various manifestations. In this article, Camilla Nelson looks at how movies, television, popular culture, and the media shape the perceptions of a threatening class.
You only need to switch on the television at primetime to see who the “villains” are: asylum seekers who “throw children overboard”, Aboriginal people who live in remote communities, petrol sniffers, Lebanese crime gangs and bikies, intergenerational welfare recipients and the long-term unemployed.
The divide between classes has changed. No one is “working class” in the old sense anymore – you’re not. It’s personal.
Goodbye, Jolly Swagman. Welcoming to the underclass The new twist on the traditional conceptions of the undeserved poor.
The most popular myth about the underclass lies in the belief that it is a self-inflicted burden. It is no longer a matter of due to structural limitations but because you’re brutal, likely violent, and have made a choice.
It is the fiction of choice that binds the disparate characters of the lower class. The drug addicts with a smackhead image who “choose” to take drugs or to be single mothers who “choose” to have children or the jobless people who “choose” not to work, refugees who “choose” to embark on dangerous and long travels on leaky vessels. They make bad decisions.
Of course, we make wise decisions. The people of the lower class are not depicted as objects for our affection but rather as figures of danger. They distract attention from the more evident causes of social anxiety, specifically, an economy where more and many jobs are being converted into a flimsier form of temporary and contract work.
In a time when the lives of individuals have become increasingly uncertain, nothing sells like fear.
The government intentionally creates panic about asylum applicants. The media is not immune to the common myths linking refugees to terrorists. The ethnic groups of the world are always connected to criminality. Single parents, disabled pensioners, and Newstart beneficiaries are portrayed as the cause of budget blowouts as well as the nation’s economic turmoil.
In the world of the world’s media, every character of threat is interchangeable with others. In this case, the American anxiety of the teenager’s mother is blurred into the British terror of the growing inner-city slum. It is indistinguishable from the unique Australian terror of refugees. They are portrayed in the same language of fear.
The development of fear does not end in the evening news broadcasts. In films with dark skin, a dark-skinned criminal or people smuggler can be equally important to help strengthen the weak storyline or help aid in the development of a shaky plot.
Although crime dramas like The Wire have an established tradition of tackling progressively the social sphere, the popular crime drama that is socially conscious has become a bit dated. The standard kind of boring CSI genre includes tense narratives, atypical murder, and detailed forensic gore.
Dexter, despite its glitzy fashion, fits into this category. In the meantime, torture porn is filling cinemas across the globe.
The spread of fear is really new. It’s just changed in its form. Wolf Creek 2 has given the serial killer story another chance to shine. However, the serial killer story has been largely replaced by the home invasion story like the one that appeared in Panic Room and many other uninteresting films.
The figures of danger and terror aren’t lurking in dark alleys anyaren’t more or along the semi-rural fringes of the city. They are at your doorstep. They’re in your house.
In films such as The Panic Room, the characters of the cinematic world of danger and terror have been brought closer to home than possible. AAP/Channel Nine publicity
This is the type of social terror that movies, such as The Purge, attempted to subvert.
Consider, for instance, the soaring number of films that depict dead children and characters of a massacred innocence that are placed in the middle of increasingly shady and morally questionable plots. It isn’t due to the fact that we are becoming morally more complicated, but the reverse. The reason is that our moral systems have become unstable, and melodramas have to continually look for characters that display extreme emotions and violence against children cheaply to show how to tell what is good and what is not.
It is also evident that dramas on television often contain the supernatural in their plots. This is as if they suggest that something isn’t entirely real, or, more specifically, something ominous and occult about the functioning of society surrounding us. Cities are destroyed by foreign viruses that originate in sub-Saharan Africa. Human bodies are sucked apart and offered as marketable parts by dark-skinned doctors accented with accents or by members of mysterious cults of a mystical nature.