Tonight I watched Mad Max 2: The Road Warrior (1981). The Mad Max world is dystopian, but not at all cyberpunk. As you may know if you watched 2015’s blockbuster Fury Road, the series postulates a universe — confined to the Australian Outback — where some kind of apocalypse has taken place and both gasoline and water are incredibly scarce resources. Especially gas.
The Outback — rechristened the Wasteland — is ruled by the equivalent of motorcycle gangs, who appear to be on meth all the time. (In the case of The Road Warrior, vaguely sadomasochistic motorcycle gangs, but that’s beside the point.) A few communities that actually deserve the label “community” have popped up, and they’re targeted by the psycho gangs.
Even though Mad Max is the opposite of a hyper-networked cybersphere, it poses some interesting questions for those of us who are fascinated by an oppressive computer-mediated future. As I see it, these are the issues to ponder:
- What’s the scarce resource? Possible answers: attention, privacy, solitude.
- Who are the strongman groups? Possible answers: law enforcement, hackers, corporations (especially corporations).
- How can the genuine communities protect themselves? Possible answers: I’m really not sure.
I know it’s futile to end anything with a question, but I’d genuinely like to know what you think. I’m keen on protecting the communities that I participate in, but I guess I’m not feeling optimistic tonight. Email me?