Monday 15 November 2021


Squids, just hangin' there. Image by Altmark / Pixabay

A  stone-broke guy, drowning in debt gets a message to play SQUID GAMES.  Win, you take home millions. Lose you die.” One of the (kid's) games is to take a dalgona* out of its mole without breaking the brittle toffee. Win, you pass. Fail, you get shot in the head. Squid Game is the hottest Netflix series ever – 142 million worldwide viewers and counting. And the media has jumped on the squid bandwagon.

South Korea is on a culture export roll. K-Pop boy bands have been around for a while and are still on top.  The So. Korean president took a group to the UNN meeting in New York - they were part of his entourage.  Another K-Popper had a smash-hit gig in No. Korea – Kim Jung Un was not happy. So. Korean cosmetics have gone mainstream. Young hucksters with perfect skin** tell us we can look like them. We believe.

SQUID's stylish pop-art visuals are part of its pull... The enforcers are dressed head to toe in Shocking pink with a black mask. Contestants wear dull gray jumpsuits and are treated like robots. But the game is hooked to reality: lots of people, especially the young, are stone broke and drowning in debt. At the finale, SQUID's rich investors are invited to watch the on a big screen in cushy comfort - the bet on the losers. Spoiler alert: the winner goes home rich. But he's invited to play in the next Squid Game – he accepts. Cripes. Gimme a shot of tequila.  Leave the bottle.

*Dalgona went viral. It was the Economist 'word of the week'. Recipe: half cup of baking soda, three tablespoons sugar. Mix and melt slowly in a pan. Carefully pour drops on waxed paper. Leave till toffee hardens.

Sources: The Economist, Washington Post, Net, Roberta Nelson

Next week: COP26: report from Glasgow by Anna R.

Correction:  last week, “pack your pistol, no permit need” should have been, “pack your piston, no permit needed to carry.” sorry. 


Well... this is not by any means an original idea: "survivor games to death" movies have been out there for quite a while. Japanese film Battle Royale (Batoru Rowaiaru) comes to mind, as well as the later Hunger Games movies. There probably are predecessors to these, but i'm honestly not interested enough to google for them. 

The thing is, I find this whole genre rather repulsive.

The story, if any, is there only to justify an endless onslaught of ultra-violent and graphic killings. It really is just a film version of the morbid rubbernecking of a lethal car crash when passing by. Or more accurately, it's an endless stream of lethal car crashes. The violence and death and gore are not there to underline a story point, they ARE the story.

So, sure, I do have Netflix, but nope, I don't think I will ever join the 143 million+ onlookers on this car crash highway.


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