“Saw” as metaphor for government

I got in another argument on DDRfreak recently about the issue of healthcare.  Over the course of it, I did my best to explain why the regulation of insurance companies serves to harm consumers.  Essentially, government intervention forces these companies to restructure their business model from one reliant on investment to one reliant on consumer fees.  As a result of this, insurance companies take on a predatory nature; not just in relation to their consumers, but in relation to each other as the incentive to cartelize increases.

Well, this got me to thinking for some reason about Saw.  The parallels are quite eerie now that I really think about it.  In the films, a madman traps people in rube goldberg-like death mazes which they must navigate, usually while killing each other.  As their prize at the end of the affair, they receive not just their life (which they already owned).  As the antagonist of the film states on many occasions in many words, they also receive a newfound appreciation for life.  A spiritual awakening of sorts, for which the material costs of death and dismemberment are portrayed as a small price to pay.  Saw literally sets a contrast between authenticity and the one dimensional, material world of, well, life.

This is in many respects perverse and confusing already.  It certainly cannot be questioned by anyone familiar with the franchise that this theme is present.  It is recurrent to the point it becomes tedious, and is stated plainly in speech by protagonists and antagonists alike.  However it’s really worth noting how these people come to become authentic, because as you really start to pay attention to it you realize the entire series is a fascist apologetic.

This realization starts with understanding that the antagonist of the film is actually the most sympathetic character.  All of the people trapped in his mazes are tainted by some sin or another, which has been conveniently overlooked by an apathetic, disorganized and clueless society.  Jigsaw, meanwhile, operates with brilliant efficiency.  He understands machines.  With the same meticulous eye, he also understands people.  Jigsaw is God on earth, carrying the ability to launder people’s consciousness and save them from their meandering nihilism.  They go into his infernal machine and suffer horrors, and they come out the other side imbued with meaning.  Suddenly their life has significance to them, their character flaws have been resolved by the transformative power of an absolute, brutal and ruthless control.  A human control, however.  Jigsaw is the central planner, the ubermensch, the dionysian, the lifespring of proper social values.  He does horrible things and people thank him for it.  They could not have become who they were meant to be without his violence.

Rewatch the movies.  Pay attention to the flaws of the protagonists, and how the characters develop.  Count the number of times they seem improved by their experiences.  Listen carefully to the rhetoric of Jigsaw and his apprentices.  Be very mindful of the dialogue involving law enforcement; this is especially telling.  They are portrayed sympathetically, but as ignorant and unambitious.  Their sin is that they aren’t willing to use their power enough.  Admittedly the series sometimes appears to devolve to a purer sort of nihilism itself, but at each point this is the case it serves to emphasize the choice of the characters.  They have free will.  They have the power to choose inauthenticity.  But at no point is the legitimacy of jigsaw’s brutal scheming really called into question.  The horror of Saw is that the system works.  Fascism is the pragmatic solution.

Just two cents from an anarchist.

~ by Kilroy del Dancefighter Estallion the First on August 10, 2009.

2 Responses to ““Saw” as metaphor for government”

  1. nice. never watched the movie, but i like the analysis.
    AnarchIst. Are anarchists for free-trade, exploitation and american imperialism? commie here. we need a revolution.

  2. It depends. I consider free-trade to be the cornerstone of a free society, and also the fairest and most effective economic system. I don’t think the current political economy is representative of what free-trade actually is, and this leads to misunderstandings. If by exploitation you mean wage-slavery, I don’t think the concept is appropriate. American imperialism? I certainly oppose American military programs. If you consider international trade to be oppressive then I would disagree. Or at least it needn’t be, although at present there are plenty of trade agreements which are oppressive. These are by nature agreements between states.

    If you want a solid, general overview of anti-statism you should check out:


    He tries his best to explain positions in clear, value-neutral language. I don’t believe it’s entirely necessary but it doesn’t seem to hurt.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: