Thursday, December 9, 2010

Electronic Persecution

Like most people in the United States right about now, I'm very excitedly waiting on the film Tron: Legacy . Having downloaded some tracks from Daft Punk's soundtrack to the film, last night I was hyped up enough to dig through my DVD library and find my copy of the original film.

It has been a long time since I've watched it. The last time I can remember seeing the film was about 13 years ago on VHS (though I'm a little fuzzy there, my dates may be messed up). I've learned a lot since then about texts and interpretation and I guess what I am struck by most is this: "Tron" is a dystopian work. For some reason, I remember it being about the struggle between Flynn and Yori and Tron against Sark and the MCP. What I didn't catch until last night (and I feel really stupid for not catching) is that the MCP's takeover of the computer world takes the form of religious persecution. Sark is a monotheist who speaks directly to his "god," the MCP. The programs who are being rounded up are those that still have a belief (which Sark calls archaic) in "the Users." From the way they are spoken of, these "Users" are very much like the Greco-Roman gods to the programs who believe in them--all-powerful, but distant and unknowable. In other words, the central social struggle in "Tron" is that a powerful Monotheist regime is persecuting all of the polytheists that live within its borders. I'm absolutely sure I'm not the first person to think of this; there has to be others who studied the film out there who see it. I was really struck by it, though, and I wonder how much this will play out in to the new film.

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