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The green old deal

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Since I’ve been known to reference the 1973 dystopian thriller “Soylent Green” in some of my Facebook posts, I feel obligated to announce, “It’s here!” Well, not in the sense of Charlton Heston’s last line, “Green is people” but that it takes place in 2022. This year marks the 49th anniversary of that guilt inducing movie about pollution, over population, euthanasia and depleted resources.

For those who haven’t a clue what I’m talking about, here is a bit of the plot, courtesy of Wikipedia:

“By 2022, the cumulative effects of overpopulation, pollution and an apparent climate catastrophe have caused severe worldwide shortages of food, water and housing. In New York City alone, there are 40 million people, and only the city’s elite can afford spacious apartments, clean water and natural food. The homes of the elite are fortified, with private security and bodyguards for their tenants. Usually, they include concubines (who are referred to as “furniture” and serve the tenants as slaves). The poor live in squalor, haul water from communal spigots, and eat highly processed wafers: Soylent Red, Soylent Yellow and the latest product, far more flavorful and nutritious, Soylent Green.”

Soylent Green notwithstanding, 1973 was a crazy year! We were still embroiled in Vietnam, Watergate was on the horizon and Deep Throat would become a household word, protesters with the American Indian Movement occupied Wounded Knee, South Dakota for 71 days, the Supreme Court overturned the states’ ban on abortion with Roe v. Wade and Charlotte’s Web was released.

My hometown, Houston, was famously in the spotlight for hosting the tennis Battle of the Sexes with 29-year old Billie Jean King’s defeat of 55-year old Bobby Riggs, and infamously, because of serial killer Dean Corll. It was the year FedEx and the Drug Enforcement Administration were founded, the American Psychiatric Association removed homosexuality from its DSM-II, the Exorcist was released, and to the chagrin of many a farmer and rancher, the Endangered Species Act was passed.

The most significant event of my life that year was our move to Colorado and the birth of my third child, my daughter Jessica. I shared in a previous column the tongue lashing I received from complete strangers when my very pregnant self appeared in public with my two other children. These folks were on a Rocky Mountain high before marijuana was legal and had no qualms bullying me for violating the Zero Population Growth theory.

I wasn’t known for being a rebel at the age of 25 but I’m proud to have given them all a thumb in the eye when 17 months later I gave birth to child No. 4, my son Robert, Jr. Those aging liberal hippies can thank ME and mine, including some of my 10 grandchildren who’ve joined the workforce, for shoring up the Social Security system! But I digress.

Looking at 2022 in real time, things aren’t as grim as the Henny Penny’s of 1973 hoped they’d be. On this, Chris Taylor author of “2022 is Soylent Green Year: Here’s Why You Shouldn’t Worry,” and I agree - to a point.

This former Time magazine San Francisco bureau chief appears to give Antifa a pass in his closing paragraph, “Police brutality, particularly towards activists, remains among the most serious issues of 2022. We have plenty of reasons to fear the militarization of law enforcement, and the racism endemic to its ranks. But no police department has followed the authorities in Soylent Green and simply scooped up protesters into a garbage masher. Yet.”

If you have one hour and 37 minutes of your life you don’t care to get back, Soylent Green may be the way to beat the heat this summer. In addition to Charlton Heston, baby boomers may appreciate viewing some true character actors from our childhood like Edward G. Robinson, Joseph Cotten and Chuck Connors but please don’t judge them too harshly for acting in this movie. They had to eat too and Soylent Green as a meal was not quite ready for prime time!

The column represents the thoughts and opinions of Connie Clements. Opinion columns are NOT the opinion of the Navasota Examiner.

Clements is a freelance reporter for the Navasota Examiner and an award-winning columnist.