The (squid) game

Publish date 14-03-2022

by Marco Grosseti

Every morning a man wakes up and knows that to survive he will have to outrun another man. The game is not a TV series invented to make sense of our boredom, but the sad reality of thousands of people, encamped in the forests like Robin Hood a few hundred kilometers from our homes. They don't want to steal from the rich to give to the poor, they just need to stop being so. They are fleeing Syria, Afghanistan, Pakistan and other places where it is best to leave, even if they call themselves home. The game, as they call it, is one of the many tests to overcome to deserve a new life: crossing the border between Bosnia and Croatia, where they can end up in a frozen river, jump over the mine of an old war or be rejected. from the police and return without even shoes to the starting point after being beaten and robbed.

A cruel fate that closely resembles another game, that of the squid, admired by hundreds of millions of people around the world in recent months, to the point of becoming one of the most viewed TV series in Netfix history. Squid Game is an elimination game in which 456 competitors agree to participate and in which they consciously choose to return at some point, despite having experienced the horror, because they cannot deny that the real hell is their real life. A business card with a circle, a square and a triangle is the pass for this dystopian world, where participants compete in children's games: whoever loses dies before their eyes, while the only lucky winner will exchange his mountain of debt with a mountain of money.

Squid Game is an Animal Farm 2.0, a metaphor for a hyper-competitive society like that of the country in which it is set, South Korea. Circle, square and triangle are the same symbols of the Play-Station, the best-selling video game console to the world, another virtual environment where we real men, we are very happy and well. Squid Game reminds us that we are all in another great game at the same time: we will not lose our lives for having badly cut the shape of a cookie, but in every environment we are used to competing from an early age and even a simple learning disability risks become a stressor for a child such as to compromise his emotional balance and his serenity, increasing anxiety exponentially: but am I really good too? But am I really okay anyway? So why can't I do anything good and they all go faster than me?

Life will not be hell, but it risks becoming an arena where everyone fights against everyone, while someone thinks of saving the world by forbidding children to play 1-2-3 stars. In Turkey, 45 Syrian refugees lost everything to a video about Tiktok in which they ate a banana: the Erdoğan regime did not like their irony, after a Turkish girl had declared in a television broadcast that she could not afford the fruit unlike the invaders who have just arrived in his country, because all men are equal, but some are more equal than others. An Italian couple who had rented a woman's uterus in Ukraine then decided not to accept the long-awaited and desired daughter: "What do I have to do with her?" heartily, wishing the newcomer good luck.

Our children learn by themselves when it is better to crush a circle, square or triangle in a video game, but where they can discover that they cannot be happy if a friend of theirs is sad, that in addition to the screen in which they lose their little lives without any regulation and limitation, are there other lives, with respect to which it would be wonderful if they felt they were centered on something? Meanwhile, for the all-white unisex shoes by Vans worn by the competitors of Squid Game, a trend analysis platform, it found an increase in sales of 7,800%: perhaps more than squid we are all sheep. I just have time to unlock my phone and an Amazon pop-up reminds me of this week's super-discount for the hottest shoes of the moment. I almost buy them too, black friday is about to arrive.

Marco Grossetti
NP Dicembre 2021

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