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Insights: Satire of Imperialism

Pocket Listing (s6e9) hints (heavily) that Cheryl's pathological mental state and troubled behaviour could be a consequence of her being a descendant of a sinister and immoral colonial family, and brought up with 'old colonial / capitalist values' (slavery / exploitation / amassing great wealth at the expense of whole continents and the environment). As a beneficiary of great wealth without a hint of remorse for it's acquisition, she is 'karmically damaged goods', so to speak. A cautionary tale perhaps.

This episode also draws unpleasant comparisons between the fictional Durhani royal family - with whom the US is allied - and real life imperial rulers of oil-rich countries. It does this by referring obliquely to King Leopold II in Cheryl's brief but revealing monologue, whose regime brutalised the Congo and ruthlessly extracted the mineral wealth of the region. It is not too much of a leap to suggest that the fictional Durhani state is a satirical version of say, Saudi Arabia, with which the US is allied in exchange for favourable oil prices: a regime which is labelled among the 'worst of the worst ' for human rights abuses, and inflicts horrific tortures and sadistic corporal punishments such as beheadings and removal of limbs, for seemingly inconsequential matters (writing blogs critical of them and the state religion, for instance).[1] The US (as well as other countries) turns a blind eye to these atrocities in exchange for cheap oil: "In Saudi Arabia's case this includes amputations of hands and feet for robbery, and flogging for lesser crimes such as "sexual deviance" and drunkenness."[2][3]

  • In short, this episode satirises the geopolitics, and the relationship certain states have with each other - eg. the US (and the UK) which supposedly value human rights and Saudi Arabia which clearly does not: how states which abuse their own people get a pass for the sake of cheap oil: how economics usurps ethics. Ultimately, it   is a critique of unethical capitalism, and the moral relativism (variability of values) employed by world powers - the double standard which means that the Universal Declaration of Human Rights[4] isn't actually workable in practice, as certain states are allowed to get away with untold atrocities providing they are delivering a service to capitalism. What price human rights, right?


NB: this is speculative

  1. CBS News - Saudi Blogger Flogged - 2007
  2. Human Rights Abuses In Saudi Arabia
  3. The amount Archer drinks, he wouldn't last 5 minutes in Saudi Arabia
  4. Universal Declaration of Human Rights

Author

Communications of the Highest Kind (talk)

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