Shhh! We’re all about sharing secrets and dropping knowledge on today’s episode of Geek Girl Riot, so settle in and get the popcorn ready. First you’ll hear from our mysterious and magical keeper of 60-second secrets also known as Day, who’s divulging an interesting fact (or two) about The Handmaid’s Tale’s setting, Gilead. Then listen in for a special edition of Kat & Cub…or this time, Cub & Dad. They’re talking Guardians of the Galaxy vol. 2, all of its easter eggs, characters, and of course, the Awesome Mixtape (P.S. we loved it—check out our review) (P.P.S. I am Groot).
Rounding out this episode brings even more secrets and mystery: because season 4 of BBC’s Sherlock came out in January, and we’re still trying to wrap our heads around it. Join Sherin, Sam, and Walker as they attempt to unravel all the intricately woven cleverness-ocity (it’s a word) of the show, talk conspiracy theories, and ask the real questions—like just where is John and Mary’s baby?
Today’s episode consists of two warnings: there be spoilers, and also Cub is feeling particularly, uh, fiery today, so prepare yourself.
If you haven’t heard already, Geek Girl Riot is now on idobi Radio! Tune in every Tuesday at midnight (aka Wednesday morning) for your dose of late-night geekery from our team of rioters. For now, you can find the transcript of Day’s 60-second secret below:
The Handmaid’s Tale
60-second Secret – Transcript
Hi, this is Day with idobi Radio’s Geek Girl Riot.
Usually, I try to pick 60-second secrets from slightly older shows. Why? Because more and more our entertainment world isn’t about regular watching but binging over nights and weekends. But today I’m going to cheat a little bit. I got the opportunity to watch a screener of the upcoming series The Handmaid’s Tale from Hulu. So you’re getting a 60 Second Secret RIGHT AS THE SHOW COMES ON THE AIR!
Actually, these are more like fun Easter Eggs so they won’t ruin the show for you. However, if you are particularly sensitive, you can stop listening now.
You still there? Great.
For those of you unfamiliar, The Handmaid’s tale is the story of Offred, a concubine in near-future America, that is now run by a theocratic government. They have restructured society, forcibly, to reflect their interpretation of biblical ideals. It is a nation at war, where environmental pollution has caused reproductive rates to fail and where a woman’s value is attached to her womb.
The novel takes place in a city referred to as the Republic of Gilead. But Gilead did not spring purely from the imagination of author Margaret Atwood. She very clearly describes Gilead to where we can definitively say, “I know where that is.”
Gilead is Cambridge, Massachusetts. In fact, much of the story, if you go by textual clues, takes place near or on the Harvard campus. Atwood has stated that she set the novel in Massachusetts because of the area’s history of intolerance, forced compliance, and violent repercussions. She is referring to Puritan society with its use of religion as a weapon to wielded against women (and some men), who those in power deemed different.
She also uses visual images to give us some stark contrasts and some very very dark humor. There is a scene in both the book and film, a Wall where resistors and revolutionaries are hanged because of their subversive activities. The wall is the same one that surrounds Harvard University. A wall for those who would seek to destroy society (in the government’s eyes), and it is the same wall that is connected a symbol of education, knowledge, and the freedom it represents.
Atwood has said in several interviews that people say, of dystopias and totalitarian governments – “It can’t happen here.” Her novel says, “Yes, it has already. And it can happen again.”
In fact, she has a very personal connection to this idea. You can find it in the dedication at the front of the book where it says “For Mary Webster.” Mary Webster was an ancestor of hers who was hanged for a witch in Connecticut. Here’s the kicker. Mary Webster didn’t die. They hanged her, and she lived.
As one more little fun secret. The book is set in Cambridge. Cambridge, MA. The film was made in Cambridge. Cambridge, Ontario.
Rachel of Rachel by the Books has a fantastic map on her blog – “The Handmaid’s Guide to Cambridge” where she actually points out where she suspects several of the locations mentioned in the novel to be. Sounds like it’d be a great walking tour.
For those idobi listeners in Cambridge….send us some photos! It’d be awesome to see the real thing.
This is Day with your 60 Second Secret on idobi Radio.