(note there are some scenes of female frontal nudity)
This year as most of us know the Olympics are being held in The United Kingdom. In honor of that I present a movie made for the BBC back in 1968. The Year of the Sex Olympics has very little to do with the “Sex Olympics” and everything to do with exploring a future Utopia/Distopia where citizens of a world government are placated and made apathetic by a constant stream of television designed specifically to remove any ambition to act and to relieve all tension in society. How do they carry out this feat? By constant and total immersion into a world of reality TV.
This movie is well worth watching and the entire thing is available for streaming over You Tube at the link above. Allow me to direct your attention to some aspects of the movie you may want to ponder.
1. The actors constantly avoid the use of the word “is” or “to be”. In the late 1960’s one of the ideas that had been generated out of a study of General Semantics was called E-Prime. E-prime promoted the idea that the English language should abolish all use of the verb “to-be”. The belief was that the verb “to be” created a rational imbalance. Objects either are something or they are not and the idea of being was not needed in speech. Removing the word removes all judgement and all that remains is experience. Without judgement there can not be prejudice and people will be less likely to act on incomplete information (at least this was the theory). This is an important aspect of the movie. People in that society are encouraged to feel and not to think. To experience vicariously through others and not to judge anything for themselves. This lack of judgement creates a lack of action and a lack of creativity.
2. When one of the characters who is an “Artist” begins to create art that has actual meaning, rather than the abstract art which he has been employed to create for the Television show “Art Sex”, his art creates tension and makes the audience feel negative emotions. I find this particularly interesting looking at the current movement in the arts which stress abstract art in which the viewer creates the meaning and not concrete art in which the artist seeks to elicit a particular emotion in the viewer.
3. The importance placed on the idea that the viewers can be relieved of tension and negative emotion by viewing the mishaps and misfortunes of others on the TV. This idea is at the heart of this movie and it examines the idea that we feel better about ourselves when we consider the failings of others.
4. Take a good look at the chess playing machine. The characters do not play chess against the machine. It plays chess against itself. Again we see that this society favors voyeurism over action. Do not think, do not create, let the machine think for you. Let others do while you watch, Be Apathetic.
Really think about this movie and compare it with our own society. Look at how segments of the population are encouraged to not think, not act, but they are encouraged to harmlessly emote. This is an indictment of our own society where we see the beginnings of all things being derived from the charity of the state. The same state which seeks to placate the masses with bread and circuses. Do we live at the beginning of the Year of the Sex Olympics and not even realize it?