Margaret Atwood and the Rise of the American ‘Alt-Right’: The Prophetic Punch of the Handmaid's Tale

Artwork made by Dylan Smith

The horrific events in Charlottesville on August 12 provided a sinister snapshot of the transition of the “Alt-Right,” from fringe, hate-spewing online trolls to a critical mass of torch-bearing white men sporting Swastikas and automatic weapons. This assortment of homegrown neo-Nazis,  white supremacists and new generation Klu Klux Klansmen are the foot soldiers of rabidly intolerant ideological groups increasingly empowered by dog-whistle affirmation from President Donald J. Trump.

That toxic ideology – and the government’s deference to it – was the seedbed of Margaret Atwood’s dystopian “speculative fiction” classic,  The Handmaid’s Tale. Atwood conjured a future in which elements recognizable in “alt-right” ideology fueled a violent takeover of the United States of America and its remaking into a totalitarian theocracy called the Republic of Gilead. She channeled the gender dynamics and the collective fears of North American women of the 1980s into a chilling conception of a near-future that seems spookily less-speculative since Charlottesville and its aftermath. Her vision of Gilead and its origins provide stark, relevant warnings for the direction of U.S. society that are more a call for collective action than predictive lament.

Join the resistance with an evening of spirited discussion about the intersection of the predictive punch of The Handmaid’s Tale and the warnings from Charlottesville.




Location: Berg'n

899 Bergen St, Brooklyn, NY 11238

Hip, late-night beer hall featuring microbrews & food vendors in a spacious, industrial-chic venue. Classes will be held in the private room.




Interdisciplinary Learning with the Best Professors


Think Olio is not about learning a new skill or adding credentials to your resume. It is about getting together with other people and expanding our worldview. It exists as a conduit for fruitful discussions, a dissent from the regurgitation of facts, and an embrace of new perspectives.


Learn about joining the Scenius for $10 / month



Other upcoming Olios


Apr 24

Desire

Taught by Jeanne Proust
7:30 p.m. at Berg'n

Sign Up - $15

Apr 25

Art or Image?

Taught by Vishwa Adluri
7 p.m. at Strand Bookstore

Sign Up - $20

Apr 27

OlioHouse | Found Poetry: Literary Collages in Ordinary Places

Taught by Heather O'Neill
noon at OlioHouse | Wassaic, NY

Sign Up - $150

May 3

The Holy Fool

Taught by Geoff Klock
7 p.m. at Strand Bookstore

Sign Up - $20

May 7

Olio Movie Night | Eraserhead

Taught by Geoff Klock
8 p.m. at Nitehawk Cinema Williamsburg

Sign Up - $0

May 10

Cuba and The Commu-Capitalist Reality of Today

Taught by Teresita Levy
7 p.m. at Strand Bookstore

Sign Up - $20

May 15

Marriage?

Taught by Skye Cleary
7:30 p.m. at Berg'n

Sign Up - $20

May 22

Stoicism in a World out of Your Control

Taught by Massimo Pigliucci
7:30 p.m. at The Assemblage | NoMad

Sign Up - $20

May 24

Sex, Pleasure & Intimacy in the Time of Capitalism

Taught by Kim Nguyen
7 p.m. at Strand Bookstore

Sign Up - $20

May 29

Composing Beauty: Mapplethorpe’s Quest for Perfection

Taught by Jeanne Proust
7 p.m. at BAM Fisher

Sign Up - $20


Find out when we launch new classes!