Democracy is corrupted not only when the spirit of equality is corrupted, but likewise when they fall into a spirit of extreme equality.”  – Baron de Montesquieu

 

Could you imagine a reality where your uniqueness and everything that makes you special is stripped away for the superficial benefits of those who society labels lesser than you? When watching Chandler Tuttle’s 2018I can visualize the dystopian world as a reality, and that is what makes it the better medium compared to Kurt Vonnegut’s “Harrison Bergeron”. While the short story is successful in simultaneously unnerving you and provoking further thought, the movie allows the story to be perceived in a more rational manner. More context and backstory is given in the movie. When Harrison stands on the stage in the movie, announces that he’s escaped from prison, and reveals what he’s been through in the six years he’s been in custody, it makes him a more well-rounded character. Through his past struggles, we can infer his current wants and fears and how they influence his actions. In addition, the movie emphasizes Harrison’s impact. In the book, from the moment “Clanking, clownish, and huge, Harrison stood – in the centre of the studio” to the demise of him and the ballerina at the hands of Diana Glampers, Harrison appears to the audience for a fleeting moment. The movie expands the time he spends in the spotlight to better convey his importance to the plot. When looking at the other characters, George’s flashbacks of Harrison’s capture by the Handicapper General soldiers makes it apparent that regardless of his own feelings towards the new world order, his body and mind are still fighting against his handicaps. This further explores the bond and similarities between Harrison and his father. After Harrison turns on the device that interrupts the government’s television block, he and his father seem to share a moment together despite them being nowhere near one another. In the story, the only time George really acknowledges or engages with Harrison is when he “correctly identified the earthquake, and well he might have – for many was the time his own home had danced to the same crashing tune”. The movie conveys the emotional connection Harrison shares with his father more effectively than the short story. 2081provided viewers with sensory information that allows them to interpret the message as they will, while the short story is quite blunt and to the point at times. The whimsical nature of the film draws in your senses and opens your mind to the parallels of your world and the fictional one. It’s for these reasons that I believe 2081is the most effective medium to experience the story of Harrison Bergeron.

 

(Side Note: I misplaced my copy of the short story but found an online version which unfortunately didn’t include page numbers, so I apologize for any mistakes in quote integration)