Increasingly the line between fiction and fact is blurring.
I'm not referring to fake news or other forms of manipulative propaganda used by those with power to convince everyone else of an alternative reality; this blurring is one where elements taken from fictional futuristic movies are being used in present day protests around the world.
In a search for a powerful mechanism to enable their voices, protesters have turned to themes, memes and artefacts from fiction to make their point.
In the past we have often seen protesters wearing masks similar to that worn by the main protagonist in the movie V for Vendetta.
Protesters in Thailand and Myanmar show the same salute that was used in the Hunger Games movies.
'The salute will be familiar to anyone who’s seen the Hunger Games movies, a film franchise starring Jennifer Lawrence where oppressed people stand up against an authoritarian ruling class, and that’s no coincidence. Plucked from dystopian science fiction, the Hunger Games salute has spread across Southeast Asia in the past decade as a symbol of pro-democracy protest.' - via
While in Hong Kong - 'Pepe the frog is popping up all over Hong Kong—on walls, in forums, in sticker packs for apps—as a symbol of resistance against an authoritarian state.' - via
A shift in culture
Evolutionary biologist, Richard Dawkins, defined a meme as 'a unit of cultural information spread by imitation.'
Just like the spreading of a biological pathogen, ideas or memes spread involuntarily from person to person, infecting the minds of their hosts and increasingly self-replicating. Without consciously being aware of it - people spread the idea around, passively adopting its philosophy into their being.
Memes associated with religious or political ideas may also be abused, as in the case of religious cults or extremist groups, which can result in the death of individuals. - via
One wonders then whether our current public grievances and increasing incidences of violent protest that we have are premised on the facts that are then before us; or are we simply living out fictional realities that have infected our subconscious through popular culture and mass media, and we're all now being triggered into action thinking that the conditions of resistance are the same as what we have experienced in our favourite films?
Are we really at odds with the global political order, or is this just something we're doing - just like in the movies?
Who's war is this then?