Part IV of an article series examining themes from the British dystopian series Years and Years that have become pertinent following the Russia-Ukraine War.
Parts I, II, and III of this article series examined the various societal and international themes derived from the prophetic fiction series Years and Years, specifically those that have become ever more pertinent due to the Russia-Ukraine War and its emergent consequences. Respectively, the themes discussed were Refugee & Housing Crises, Nuclear Attack & World War, and Financial & Employment Crises. Furthermore, this particular succession of socio-international themes was shown to comprise a logical chain reaction of crises that can be traced through the series’ narrative, implicitly when not explicitly. Part IV presents the culmination of this chain reaction of developments in what can be thought of as their sociopolitical ‘endgame’ and the ‘comeuppance’ of accumulated follies: neo-fascism*.
*To avoid ambiguity in using this term, the Wikipedia definition will suffice here: “Neo-fascism is a post-World War II ideology that includes significant elements of fascism. Neo-fascism usually includes ultranationalism, racial supremacy, populism, authoritarianism, nativism, xenophobia and anti-immigration sentiment as well as opposition to liberal democracy, parliamentarianism, liberalism, Marxism, capitalism, communism, and socialism.”
The Russia-Ukraine War (2022) as highlighting the significance of the prophetic BBC-HBO mini-series Years and Years (2019).
In mid-late February, reports of Russian intentions to invade Ukraine began to occupy the news media—upon which one thought immediately came to my mind: Years and Years.
For those who have seen this 2019 mini-series, its relevance to what is now the Russia-Ukraine War should already be apparent, particularly to residents of the UK, since the show is primarily oriented towards developments in Britain. In this article, I first offer a summary of why Years and Years is generally significant, before revealing the specific details that directly relate to the currently developing Russia-Ukraine War and its wider ramifications.
What’s the meaning of this? Who’s to say? (Certainly not me…)
I don’t know what this is. Maybe it’s an inane mixture of things. Or something novel and deep. Guess it depends on who (or what) is reading it. Maybe it’s nothing but with something in it. Or something but with nothing in it. It’s not for me to say, even though I’m the author. Actually, because I’m the author. Just technically ‘the author’. See I wrote this here thing, I did, but who’s to say I am the authority of its meaning? (That question may or may not be rhetorical, according to preference.) As a matter of fact (technically just an expression, BTW), it’s each reader that decides the meaning of what(ever) he/she/it is reading, as determined by the law of Intertextuality (and quite authoritatively at that, FYI). See, this fantastic law ‘deconstructed’ (as it likes to say [not that I really know what it means]) the myth of ‘authorship’ by revealing that the actual producer of meaning is [drumrole]… thereader! Ergo (just using this word ‘coz I like how The Architect said it in Matrix 2), each ‘meaning’ is equally valid(praise the law of Equality!)—and, ergo, implicitly untrue. Case in point: commenter says this “post” is “garbage”. Therefore, he/she/it (‘they/them’ from now on) is actually right on both counts—provided only that they meant what they said. Then again… …what they said might be totally untrue—who knows? (Rhetorical?—who knows?)
A compilation of my notes from the book: Plagues and Peoples, by William H. McNeill (1976); complimented by my summarizing sub-headings.
As quoted by the Lancet behind the front cover of this book,
Professor McNeill is an American historian with a sound grasp of epidemiological principles.
As McNeill points out himself in this book (which can be seen immediately in the notes to follow), historians systematically gloss-over the significance of epidemic disease.
In choosing to read Plagues and Peoples third in my sequence of pandemic-themed books, I identified it as the one most complimentary to Daniel Defoe’s A Journal of the Plague Year: for while the latter is “the prototype of all accounts of great cities in times of epidemic”, the former has to be one of, if not the most substantial attempts at a historicalinterpretation of epidemics (—which is quite distinct from an epidemiological interpretation of history, I would add).
An arranged compilation of my notes from the book: Viruses and Man, by F. M. Burnet (1953).
As I said in introductions to the first and second posts of this article series, Defoe’s A Journal of the Plague Year was probably the best book to begin this study, as it seems to cover the whole spectrum of situations and incidents that can arise in a pandemic, whilst presenting them in an accessibly narrative form. Following Defoe’s most insightful story, I decided to select one of the academic books in my collection to read next—that being, Viruses and Man, by F. M. Burnet (1953).
A thematic breakdown of the book A Journal of the Plague Year, by Daniel Defoe (1722)
Following my notes (presented in the previous post) on the book A Journal of the Plague Year, which were quite extensive; the following is a categorization of the most significant themes I have discerned from those notes, which are quite concise.
The main categories of the themes are Societal Dynamics, Conduct of Authorities, and Psychological Effects—the first two being the most substantial and thus each being divided into subheadings.
Having completed this list of themes, I find that Defoe’s A Journal of the Plague Year*clearly reveals its striking relevance to 21st century occurrence of plague; and its breadth of insight – within its accessible, narrative form – testifies to its likely being the best book one can start with towards gaining a perspective on pandemics.
An arranged compilation of my notes from the book: A Journal of the Plague Year, by Daniel Defoe (1722).
Following the establishment of a global pandemic a few weeks ago, I went through my personal library of books to select those which have direct relevance to the nature and effects of pandemics: as since these things have suddenly become of utmost significance to all, I think it now appropriate to gain some perspective on the subject.
Of the books I selected for this study of pandemics, Daniel Defoe’s A Journal of the Plague Year* stood out as the best one to begin with, for it thoroughly depicts The Great Plague of London that occurred 1665-1666.
*The full text is in the public domain, and can be accessed for free at Gutenberg.org)