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Old 02-14-2020, 04:08 PM
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Small "Return of the Archons" Q


Is that the first appearance of a "Purge scenario" in fiction?
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Old 02-14-2020, 04:27 PM
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Chapter 5 of Nineteen Eighty-Four (1949) comes to mind:
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A new poster had suddenly appeared all over London. It had no caption, and represented simply the monstrous figure of a Eurasian soldier, three or four metres high, striding forward with expressionless Mongolian face and enormous boots, a submachine gun pointed from his hip. From whatever angle you looked at the poster, the muzzle of the gun, magnified by the foreshortening, seemed to be pointed straight at you. The thing had been plastered on every blank space on every wall, even outnumbering the portraits of Big Brother. The proles, normally apathetic about the war, were being lashed into one of their periodical frenzies of patriotism. As though to harmonize with the general mood, the rocket bombs had been killing larger numbers of people than usual. One fell on a crowded film theatre in Stepney, burying several hundred victims among the ruins. The whole population of the neighbourhood turned out for a long, trailing funeral which went on for hours and was in effect an indignation meeting. Another bomb fell on a piece of waste ground which was used as a playground and several dozen children were blown to pieces. There were further angry demonstrations, Goldstein was burned in effigy, hundreds of copies of the poster of the Eurasian soldier were torn down and added to the flames, and a number of shops were looted in the turmoil; then a rumour flew round that spies were directing the rocket bombs by means of wireless waves, and an old couple who were suspected of being of foreign extraction had their house set on fire and perished of suffocation.
State-organized mob violence as an emotional outlet. It seems close. There's a similar mob-frenzy at the climax of Brave New World (1932) but the crowd seems more motivated by the novelty of the violence rather than spurred to it by the state.
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Old 02-14-2020, 04:59 PM
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The stories of Roman bacchanalia are pretty purge like. And given the reliability of Roman historians, arguably fictional.
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Old 02-14-2020, 06:31 PM
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"The Lottery" by Shirley Jackson is in the same vein.
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Old 02-14-2020, 06:35 PM
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Originally Posted by RealityChuck View Post
"The Lottery" by Shirley Jackson is in the same vein.
Seems more like highly-ritualized human sacrifice than cathartic mayhem.
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Old Yesterday, 05:34 PM
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On reflection, the "Two Minutes Hate" rituals in Nineteen Eighty-Four seem closer, a daily ceremony of intense propaganda aimed at Party members to whip them into a frenzy:

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Before the Hate had proceeded for thirty seconds, uncontrollable exclamations of rage were breaking out from half the people in the room. The self-satisfied sheep-like face on the screen, and the terrifying power of the Eurasian army behind it, were too much to be borne: besides, the sight or even the thought of Goldstein produced fear and anger automatically. He was an object of hatred more constant than either Eurasia or Eastasia, since when Oceania was at war with one of these Powers it was generally at peace with the other. But what was strange was that although Goldstein was hated and despised by everybody, although every day and a thousand times a day, on platforms, on the telescreen, in newspapers, in books, his theories were refuted, smashed, ridiculed, held up to the general gaze for the pitiful rubbish that they were—in spite of all this, his influence never seemed to grow less. Always there were fresh dupes waiting to be seduced by him.
...
The horrible thing about the Two Minutes Hate was not that one was obliged to act a part, but, on the contrary, that it was impossible to avoid joining in. Within thirty seconds any pretence was always unnecessary. A hideous ecstasy of fear and vindictiveness, a desire to kill, to torture, to smash faces in with a sledgehammer, seemed to flow through the whole group of people like an electric current, turning one even against one’s will into a grimacing, screaming lunatic.
This sounds somewhat similar to the premise of the Purge movies, which I admit I've never seen but I understand carried the subtext of scapegoating where the victims of the Purge were disproportionately the poor. Other passages of nineteen Eighty-Four describe the constant repression of the society, so much so that these violent emotional releases serve as a state-approved outlet.
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Old Yesterday, 07:48 PM
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Heinlein's "If This Goes On" (1940) had periodic attacks on "Pariahs" for the purpose of giving the rest of the population the opportunity to vent their frustrations on an authorized target.
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