Spring 2021 releases: essentialism and Malthus

1 April, 2021

The Nevers HBO spring 2021 releases

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Identitarianism drops from the lineup of spring 2021 releases

The first thing that’s conspicuous about the spring 2021 releases is that the identitarianist tension in the storylines is finally waning. It seems that once Biden was installed in the US presidency, although they were not going to waste the delayed releases, the everything identitarian moment that reached paroxysm with Lovecraft Country seems to have been left behind.

Also, one need only look at the list of most-read articles these days in any newspaper to realize that exhaustion and the desire to flee from an atrocious daily reality signal the arrival of the Easter holidays. So it seems that the main entertainment platforms have anticipated it well and with their spring 2021 releases they offer us a good dose of escapism. Of course, well seasoned with the most rancid and reactionary elements of their ideological arsenal.

“Irregulars”: from identitarianism to romantic essentialism

Irregulars (Netflix) has been the first of the spring 2021 releases. It belongs on its own merits to the junk genre. And also categorized as insulting. The dialogues and situations are nonsensical from the first moment: a multiracial Victorian London with a Yankee-speaking populace, a nineteenth-century lumpen of egalitarian values, an African-American Dr. Watson and a Prince of Wales out of the Hamptons. All in order to save the myth of Anglo-Saxon capitalist splendor -Victorian London- for the new imperial identitarian cast.

Rewriting British history out of an ignorant high-school egalitarianism and a racialist diversity arrived from the future places this series in the aftermath of the Democratic White House campaign. But the core of its plot directs it toward the new mainstream message…which in reality has little new about it.

Nothing easier than the passage from identitarianism to essentialism. At the center, the essence of essences: the child protagonist who is able to see the invisible and supernatural. But be warned: she knows not because she has made the effort to learn how to do so, but because she is that way, because she has powers, because her essence is different from that of the rest of the humans. Not surprisingly, her difference gives her a savior-like responsibility and hands her the leadership of the main cast. Thank goodness we have beings different by birth to fall back on in the face of those things that are beyond us!

Welcome back to romantic essentialism: the way the bourgeoisie came to see itself as soon as it began to feel challenged by a proletariat that did not fit into the nation. The medium class in the face of the mysterious forces of the market – the famous animal spirits – destined to lead society and always challenged by the ungrateful short-sightedness of its inferiors whom it will discipline in a sacred union necessary for collective survival. We will have many such sacred unions coming up in the near future.

“The Nevers”: from Vogue feminism to romantic essentialism

But where essentialism reaches splendor without leaving the Victorian furnishings is in The Nevers (HBO), HBO’s most highly touted series among spring 2021 releases.

The set props and accoutrements take us headlong into Steam Punk, that subgenre so ’90s created by Gibson and Sterling that fantasized about a digital yet mechanical Victorian England driven by steam power. However, following in the wake of British authors such as China Miéville, technological fantasy is replaced by essentialism and magic; and the marginal characters who deal in information by the touched, a kind of X-Men – in reality X-Women – who prove their empowerment by means of punches and fireworks.

Nothing more essentialist than juvenalism taken to paroxysm: the idea that among the youth there sprouts, by grace of a magical change, a new superior human species. Nothing more decadent than the idea that they are persecuted by an establishment as conservative as mediocre and that they are weakened by absurd internal divisions to overcome. As you can see the Biden speech is very present in the spring 2021 releases.

We are in another transition from identitarianism to essentialism which comes back again and again to the great themes of our ruling class: sacred union, the need to recognize our natural superiors and their mission to save us and the world. We are just a step away from messianism.

“Shadow and Bone”: from essentialism to messianism

And what better way to walk that step than by including among the spring 2021 releases a fairy tale, Netflix producers were probably thinking. Nothing better for the occasion than to adapt Shadow and Bone into footage. The result is the visual union of the essentialist culmination, the Messiah, with Christian clichés: light against darkness and the union of political and spiritual (=ideological) power. The old story of the people guided by their supernatural overlords.

“Stowaway”: Malthus in space

After so much sacred union the question that arises all by itself is: how is it that among the releases 2021 releases we don’t get any environmentalist veneer in the midst of the deployment of the sacred climate union in the USA and Europe?

Stowaway is not a series, but a movie. But it is Malthusian in pure form and with spacesuits: en route to Mars, the mission that aims to make the planet habitable discovers it has an extra crew member – a launch base worker who got trapped between two panels -, low oxygen and damaged life support systems.

The ship becomes a scaled-down version of the way Malthusians view the planet. The stowaway metaphor isn’t new even in American science fiction. And the crewmen, like all-time Malthusians, wonder if that worker whose consumption proves so dangerous to the common good should not be dispensed with.

What do the spring 2021 releases show us

The spring 2021 realeases teach us something. When we try to take a break from the mind-numbing reality produced by the system through the narratives the same system offers us as an escape… we end up with double servings of enslaving morality on our backs, switching off the tv or getting angry…

It’s not our fault. It’s simply that this system is so out of date that its bards and artists are now incapable of even imagining satisfying illusory worlds in which we might want to lose ourselves.

Is there nothing watchable then during these holidays? Recommendation: turn to genre noir and landscaping, the second season of Hierro premiered before spring, but it has both of those things and a terrific Candela Peña.

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