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Safe Society: Leftist Politics in a Bioshock World

“Safe Society” is an 11-part audio drama about what happens when leftist politics go too far. Created by independent filmmaker Chris Shimojima, uses non-humorous satire in the vein of “Bioshock” with very mixed results. You can listen to the first three episodes today. If you want the full experience now, you can hear it on the Apollo iOS and Android app with its plus subscription service (Apollo+).

Politics and Plot: A Leftist Rapture Above the Water

If I had to sum up this horror audio drama it would be “Bioshock” meets “Quiet Part Loud” from Gimlet. It takes the libertarian satire of Bioshock and the story, both the diegetic and non-diegetic aspects of it, and flips them on its head. Instead of a libertarian utopia turned dystopia, Shimojima pulls out all the stops to make you feel afraid to the point where the sounds are more terrifying than the ideas it belittles.

The premise is almost identical to “Quiet Part Loud” just with the politics flipped. Instead of a conservative radio host, you get a spokesman for a company who takes leftist politics to the extreme. It wasn’t too clear what each character wanted as it blended together in a sort of hive mind of extremely liberal policies. Surveillance of people to make sure they follow the law, rules, or both. It’s not quite clear what’s going on with those moments of verbal irony. Up until that point, I was starting to understand the story. It’s very much high concept, which I could respect if it weren’t for the overt and implicit messaging intrinsically linked to the plot.

Conservative Red Flags and Horror in Sound

For the sounds alone, this horror audio drama is well mixed. However, the subject matter of this podcast isThe series demonizes leftist politics to the point where the satire feels more preachy than something profound. Reading the show’s synopsis and the use of words like “woke” are a red flag for someone who thinks that word isn’t definable and a buzz word that has lost all meaning. However I was willing to give it the benefit of the doubt and listen through to the end with an open mind.

Throughout this audio drama about leftist politics run amuck, I waited for some revelation that would give this conservative show something other than simply being hostile toward democratic ideas. The more it went on, the more it felt like something resembling a nightmare a D. Wire employee might have about the fall of western civilization. The biggest pitfall, in my opinion, is that it feels more like an anti-liberal tirade than a pro-conservative message. Story unfortunately feels like an afterthought as well. Anti-left and pro-right messaging might seem like the same thing. It’s the same tactic as making fun of someone in order to persuade them. It has the opposite effect and furthers divides people.

Leftist Straw People and Conservatism’s “Purity”

The dystopian world of “Safe Society” isn’t as rich in depth as the one the “Bioshock’s” creators brought to life. Its story isn’t much better than “Quiet Part Loud” in terms of breadth. If serious satire is your thing and you’re a horror fan, by all means this is for you. Even more so if you’re a conservative who thinks the culture war is a thing.

In short, the audio mix does a lot of the heavy lifting with regard to the horror aspects. These include disturbing and unnerving sounds and it does all of it extremely well. Perhaps another listen was needed, but I’m the guy who closes his ears and eyes during horror movie trailers. I’m definitely not the target audience.

7.5/10- Stars