While it’s true that our current political-climate is volatile and upsetting at times, it pales in comparison to the fictional upheaval that is taking place within the dystopian America of “The Man in High Castle”. The series imagines a world where the Axis powers won World War II, and most of America is under the control of a Nazi regime. The show is loosely based on the novel written by Philip K. Dick, and Amazon pulled-out all the stops in marketing the show’s new season at SXSW this week. The marketing campaign included the fake radio-station called ‘Resistance Radio,” and ‘secret’ underground Resistance HQs were set up at SXSW to recruit members/viewers. The campaign was elaborate, and wonderfully executed, but it did seem to cause a bit of confusion for conservatives fighting an online battle in real-life.
Not only were people calling-out #ResistanceRadio for being some liberal plot to undermind the government, they seemed to think it was an actual radio-station for real-world Americans. Much like the famous 1938 broadcast created by Orson Welles for “War of the Worlds,” this marketing campaign created some real-world drama for all of us to enjoy.
Before we hit SXSW this year we were sent a ‘Resistance Radio’ kit, an extremely detailed and wonderfully smart introduction to the scene that would be taking place at SXSW this year. On our doorstep, inside a box with German wording and icons, we found everything we needed to help fight our faux German oppressors within “The Man in High Castle” series. We had our record-player, secretly hidden away inside what looked to be a suitcase, our German records, and our instructions on how to fight alongside the Resistance. It was a terrific idea, and only the beginning of what would be a weekend-long immersion into the world of “The Man in High Castle”.
At SWSX, fans of the show and potential newcomers to the series could sign-up to listen to “Resistance Radio”. The space featured live-music hidden within a Resistance-friendly bar created for the event. Inside the space you would find a replicated recording-studio, filled with 60’s era equipment gleaned from the series, and Resistance propaganda strewn about the walls and tables. At the event you couldn’t help but feel the real-world connection to our modern political climate, only exaggerated and overly dramatized for entertainment. Whether Liberal or Conservative, we are constantly reminded to fight the good fight by our respective political parties, through the stakes the characters face within the series are far more severe than our Twitter posts.
It has been a few days since #ResistanceRadio was trending on Twitter, but people are still using the hashtag on both sides of the political aisle. Liberals are using the phrase to callout Russian ties to President Trump’s campaign, exposing the war on oil, or fighting impending budget-cuts. At the same time, Conservatives are damning the radio station as liberal propaganda, and calling the use of the hashtag or radio-service Un-American. In the series, the Nazi rulers are the ones condemning ‘Resistance Radio,’ so it’s a little funny/bizarre to see the same situation play out in real-life. You can watch a music-video for the campaign below, from Amazon’s Prime Video YouTube channel.
No matter which party you belong to in real-life, seeing the whole thing play-out on our real world social-media platforms brings a connection to the characters on the show. Having your fake Resistance group become a real-world Resistance movement isn’t an easy, or an intentional, task to complete. The misuse of the marketing material does highlight how clever the marketing team over at Amazon can be, and shows that a lot of Americans are quick to fire off hashtags before reading the fineprint.
If you haven’t given the original series a chance, you can find “The Man in the High Castle” on Amazon Prime Video. In the series Germany controls much of the East Coast and Japan controls the West Coast. This division has caused the Rocky Mountains to become a “neutral zone” for the growing resistance, led by a mysterious figure known only as “the Man in the High Castle.” You can find some of his propaganda below in the aforementioned Resistance Radio video.
The Man in the High Castle stars Alexa Davalos, Rupert Evans, Luke Kleintank, DJ Qualls, Joel De La Fuente, Brennan Brown, Bella Heathcote, and Callum Keith Rennie with Cary-Hiroyuki Tagawa and Rufus Sewell. The series was developed by Frank Spotnitz with Daniel Percival, Erik Oleson, Isa Dick Hackett, Richard Heus, Ridley Scott, and David W. Zucker serving as executive producers.
You can listen along to Resistance Radio online at resistanceradio.com.