I know that people may be entirely sick of hearing squid game with the plethora of articles published about it. But if you can bear with my crazy, then yes maybe you can see the point I am getting to than making???? Contains spoilers
BY THE WAY IF YOU WATCHED THE DUBBED VERSION THEN YOU PROBABLY WATCHED THE WRONG ONE G
Note: this post is under review
Squid Game is an amazing commentary on the trappings of wealth in a world with a finite amount of resources, or so we are taught to believe, through the present organisation of resources. And it strikes a chord in the current affairs of South East Asia, where loan sharks and organ harvesters prowl the streets for survival, and where the system makes it that whoever has wealth, must rely on the underpaid labour of the poor, to make the lives of those wealthy convenient. It is a difficult wall to break through and any anger at both roles, or a reversal, wouldn’t change anything, because it is a zero-sum game where the contestants’ wellbeing is at the mercy of a few game masters.
- The Vampires
- Meritocracy in a zero sum game
- Money can solve your problems or not? Wealth as appeasement and trappings of a capitalist life
- Pig Symbolism
- Why did no one think about breaking into the piggy bank?
The VIPS [Investors or game masters] that watch the contestants who lose their life, shroud their faces in animal masks symbolising them as faceless men behind squid game; And these masks represents creatures that are associated with having the ability to harm. They possess claws, talons, sharp teeth, and deadly antlers. They are known to be omnivorous and may eat their young. Owl, Bull, Lion, Jaguar, Falcon, Reindeer and Pig. With the exception of the faceless man.
It bears resemblance to Rusty Lake’s click point game the Hotel, in the form of humanoid animal characters, where every night, one character is murdered and their remains, end up on the dining table the next day.
Mechanistic dehumanisation (The more material wealth one has, the more that person resembles a robot) is characterised in the faceless man, due to the power that they hold they lack an individuality to be intimate with audiences because of their cruelty.
However, within the Squid game, the VIPS are the ones in control of this simulation. And they seem to relish in the death of the players or the betrayal between contestants, like a reality tv show. Their clinical demeanour is apparent where they touch upon the misfortunes of the players outcomes as something to measure than empathise with.l
That is not to say that the VIPs are not evil, but these attributes characterise their nature of enjoying schadenfreude and making their evil nature apparent.
MERITOCRACY IN A ZERO SUM GAME
The rules of the game are that if you have the merit, you will pass, if you don’t you will lose your life. And the catch-22 is that to have merit, you can eliminate other opponents by killing them because by default their non-existence helps you to possess the merit to survive. Every time someone loses their life to murder, their non-existence, is filled with a vacuum of liquidity. Essentially meritocracy in squid games means killing others in order to gain or to rephrase, to stop the madness. Killing off others or plotting their demise may seem revolutionary in a split second, but there is nothing to disguise the fact that the cogs are in place and nothing you do inside or gain from it, which can add to its collapse necessarily. Which leads to the trappings of capitalism.
MONEY CAN SOLVE YOUR PROBLEMS? WEALTH AS APPEASEMENT OR TRAPPINGS OF A CAPITALIST LIFE?
Every contestant in the game, is in it to appease the struggles of their lives, whilst riding on the sweet comfort that money can grant them, like for instance protection or security. But even within the folds of material wealth there are trappings within having money. You have to gain from someone losing.
The Piggy Bank almost makes me think of a candy crush game when you cash out every time you line up similar candy, the same way it cashes in on every person’s death.
The Squid games can be likened to the Melbourne cup day ( horse racing and gambling involved). The contestants [the contestants are the horses] get invested based on how well they fared in a previous performance.
The contestants potential is celebrated, but the contestants sanctimonious self is being ignored. For example, Black Caviar is a famous horse that has won many races, but it was rumoured to have been killed into horse meat.
Essentially the piggybank represents the clickbait, the ticket to an easy life or the ticket you gamble upon because if your contestant loses, you lose. But the isolation between the contestant and you are made invisible.
Even if the investment is in a contestant, it does not make them less commodity. And the fact that the death of others means your gain almost creates this insidious situation of people having to stampede one above the other in a never-ending pyramid because your gain is my loss. And clickbait means that for me, you must be gone. Hence, relationships are artificial because they get commodified.
A TikTok Theory pointed that the recruiters game called ‘Ddakji” which involved flipping over a piece with your piece to win, were presented in not just blue, it can also be red. These colours denote the roles that you were to play if you failed the recruiter’s game. Blue piece meant that you may be a contestant if you fail the game, whilst red meant that you may be working behind the scenes of the game. And the main protagonist, dyed his hair red at the end of the season one, indicating that he may return as one of the people working behind the scenes.
WHY DID NO ONE THINK ABOUT BREAKING INTO THE PIGGY BANK?
Darkness encapsulates the room, but golden light spills into the warehouse cabin, heralding the coming of deposits into the piggy bank to further taunt the players. The players stare in awe of the money as if it were water descending onto their parched throats.
Previously their minds had succumbed to the violence encountered in the round of games and successfully survived.
But lingering in their dark eyes may be spitefulness at having won another round, loving someone only to betray them, knowing someone’s life history in barely an hour, or the torment they inflict of not saving the person they knew.
In the scenes of the money being deposited, the bank is lowered by chains holding the pig. We have seen in the fight scene where the contestants had barricaded themselves to keep them safe from others, wanting to eliminate them.
I could argue that they could stack the beds to reach the deposit, that is lowered after the completion of every game. And why not give the resourcefulness of the players who rely on luck or wit to survive. Why didn’t they band together to break the bank? But perhaps wishful thinking wouldn’t make sense in a dystopian series.
In the Stanford prison experiment, it was found that the environment can shape people’s roles according to the norms or rules established; and people may become entrenched in what position is given to them. So an answer to why they didn’t break the bank would be because of the norms established by the game that merit can help them achieve wealth. Which is a message that they continually receive in life. Merit can also be manipulated by cheating or taking the lives of others in a lose-gain situation.
The Historical, Sociological, Political and Psychological Spheres defines their actions and may help to explain them.
It can be argued that the fatalism that the characters have, combined with the norms of the game, and their lack of looking at alternatives, led to the demise, but it may not necessarily be them to blame.
The contestants’ lives outside were already miserable, and they had to rely on chance keystrokes to get by or use others to get by. The characters have a sense of learned helplessness; even though some band together to appear strong, they are ultimately disbanded by the norms set by the game, with the threat of a mere gunshot a second away.
In the first couple of episodes, a quorum was reached where they did not want to participate. And would it be possible if they could change the game’s rules to get rid of death as a part of losing the game? Perhaps not given that money was needed after banking on the dead’s organs. Although the organ banking may have been a side business and not under the observance of the VIPS, and shows a symptom of the dog eat dog world.
But either way, the bank was still in their reach, and they could have formulated a plan to bring it perhaps down and run away from the facility they were in, maybe? That sounds like wishful thinking.