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Spoiler alert: Anyone who hasn’t seen the 1973 film Soylent Green—-well, what have you been waiting for?
In the movie’s dystopian future—-actually the not-that-far-away 2022—-the natural world has been utterly destroyed and the population has exploded to the point where the main food supply is, er, other people, packaged as the titular product.
But before you go into the processing plant, you’re treated to a private Imax-type screening of glorious vistas of the world as it was—-snow-capped mountains majesty, amber waves of grain, etc. The film ends with the doomed Edward G. Robinson strapped to a chair, weeping with delight and sorrow at all that’s been lost.
Like Edward G., my father is dying. Last night, as I approached his room in the very 2001-ish surgical unit of Holy Cross Hospital (if I may mix my filmic metaphors), I saw him strapped to a bed alone in a darkened room. Soft New Age flute and harp music played from an overhead TV, which showed an endless loop of tranquil nature scenes: rolling green hills, deep blue lakes, sailboats in the distance….
I applaud the hospital’s efforts to provide as comfortable an experience as possible. But will Dad be chopped up and sold as dinner? That’s a product even the Chinese wouldn’t try to sell.