Tuesday, December 1, 2015
Welcome to Nightvale (2/3)
Another similarity I want to point out between Nightvale and Camus has to focus on the time period in which Camus was writing his essays, which was in France in 1941. Now, of course, because of the spread of National Socialism going on at that time, specifically meaning the German Nazis, Camus was probably experiencing a lot of the things that Cecil speaks about in his radio broadcasts, including the Secret Police, strange helicopters always flying overhead, and people disappearing without a clue. Camus was actually an activist in the French Resistance, which from a big picture perspective holds the theme of him struggling against this much larger force.
There was a point in Nightvale where books had suddenly stopped working, and the government simply said that they have always been dangerous to begin with. “Listeners, we are currently fielding numerous reports that books have stopped working. It seems that all over Night Vale, books have simply ceased functioning…The exact problem is currently unclear, but some of the words being used include ‘sparks,’ ‘meat smell,’ ‘biting,’ and ‘lethal gas’…The city council has released only a brief statement, indicating that their stance on books has not changed, and that, as always, they believe that books are dangerous and inadvisable, and should not be kept in private homes,” (Episode 3). Likewise in Germany at the time, many written pieces were being banned and burned that did not go along with the new government regimen.
WTNV Ep 3
Freedom of speech in Nightvale is heavily implied to be highly restricted. Cecil constantly talks about the management of the radio station getting mad at him because of his willingness to question the bizarre things that were going on in the city. There was one time where management (which turned out to be a tentacle beast) came out of their awful and all you can hear is Cecil begging his listeners to send positive reviews to not just keep his job, but also to keep him alive. “Station management has opened its door for the first time in my memory, and is now roaming the building. I don’t know exactly what management looks like, as that is when I took cover under my desk and I can only hope that they are not listening to what’s going out right now or else I may have sealed my fate. I can hear only a kind of clicking footstep, and faint hissing sound like – releasing steam…I am going to see if I can make a break for the door. If you don’t hear from me again, it has truly been a pleasure,” (Episode 3).
Again, this echoes the philosophical idea that we as people are always being controlled and are in fear of a higher power than us. For Camus, he was in the resistance against the Germans, while Cecil is trying to stay alive while also trying to get the people to realize just how bizarre the truth really is. This is quite evident in what we see every day. We hear constant talk of the government invading our privacy, of horrific stories being covered up by the government and how this federal body controls everything. Kind of scary, huh? What exactly is the Freedom of Speech anymore?