Netflix’s ‘Barbarians’ Is A Sad Reflection Of Our Decaying Times

Netflix’s ‘Barbarians’ Is A Sad Reflection Of Our Decaying Times


There’s a simple subtext observable in any contemporary art form: Authoritative values are considered “unnatural” and “evil,” and the opposite are considered “natural” and “good.” Hierarchy, order, discipline, fortitude, stoicism, subtlety, beauty, deference to authority, grandeur, and civilization are all conservative values. Rebellion, profanity, egalitarianism, sacrilege, and tribalism are not.

As art usually reflects the contemporary political mores of the well-to-do and connected in society, this subtext becomes a pattern. So the British empire is bad, while pirates are good; the Galactic empire is bad, while rebels are good; the Lannisters bad, while the Freefolk are good; and so on.

When there is a rallying cry to “freedom” against “oppression,” it’s easy to predict which side will be glorified in art, just as it is similarly simple to identify the eventual heroes and villains. Needless to say, this sort of thrust often leads to ahistorical results, to the point that it all becomes extremely conventional, simplistic, and often boring

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