Adventure Time, Anti-Capitalism and Post Apocalyptic Realities

It’s 5:41 in the morning, and I’m inspired to write this by two things: 1) A very smart PBS short on how BMO is a third wave feminist, and 2) a very scary dream I just had.

In the dream I had I had gotten to where I was by a time machine, only twenty years or so in the past (hmm.). There was a concentration camp, armed brutality, public executions, I had to get out of there. It was snowing everywhere, intolerable blizzard conditions. Still I managed to sneak out, somehow they weren’t bothered by me leaving. I strike it out on my own, trying to find food or life in this place frozen over. All the houses I see no one’s there, no power. This is really a post-apocalyptic wasteland. Civilization and order now cower in the face of terrible and monstrous non-human conditions. Eventually I see a house with a few plants growing in the garage. I enter and there’s a nice elderly lady telling me everything about how the water table in Hawaii has risen in this post-apocalytic world and just in general how to survive using plants. I start searching through her things for something to eat, I put some rice in a tubberware with some beans and just start to eat it raw, and she says something like “Rice without water? Oh, it’s been some time before that’s ever worked! Come to the kitchen and I’ll get you some water,” and I hold off because I don’t trust her, and I tell her that. She then says “You were right not to trust me,” unzips her parka layer by layer to display a frozen heart frozen through her clothes. The winter-magic turned her into an ice-demon. I woke up after that and started writing shortly after, glad to return to my corrupt, twisted, but still entirely orderly world.

What does this have to do with Adventure Time? Adventure Time also takes place in a post-apocalyptic wasteland. The show is about a boy and his magical talking dog friend as they spend their days acting like knights of ages past; going on quests, doing good deeds for princesses, killing bad guys, etc. The world of Adventure Time is a pseudo-feudal world with some twists that just don’t come from the past. All of the people are made out of candy. The main Princess of the land knows string theory and quantum physics. New forms of life appear that have never existed before, talking bubbles, animated, genderless gaming systems, Jake the Dog can stretch to an infinite size. The twist that explains all of this is that the world 1000 years ago as we know it destroyed itself in a nuclear holocaust the people of Adventure Time call “The Mushroom War”. While Finn the Human and Jake the Dog go on their quests and adventures you can always see the past bits of civilization in the background, tanks, shopping bags, computers, sometimes animated into new creatures like Junk Spirits, sometimes not. It is a brand new world built right on top of this one.

A phrase that’s been associated with post-marxist philosopher Slavoj Zizek is the phrase “It’s easier to imagine the end of the world than it is to imagine the end of capitalism.” Capitalism is much much more than just a system to distribute junk. It’s a system for organizing ideas. Capitalism, or I should say Capitalist Realism, defines what is possible and what isn’t. With the destruction of the world in Adventure Time and in my dream, new forms of enchanted reality can come in to fill the void. New ways of imagining reality, not just our dogmatically scientific way of understanding phenomenon that only treat as real things it can prove.

I don’t know where I was going with this. That dream I had was absolutely scary as fuck.

2ndary edit: Just found this.

3rd edit:  Updated links for Mark Fisher’s Capitalist Realism.


3 thoughts on “Adventure Time, Anti-Capitalism and Post Apocalyptic Realities

  1. Just wanted to say that I think the writing posted above is beautiful and insightful. It is very vivid in its detail and imagery.

  2. Pingback: Serious Time | @samu_geo

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