The Handmaid’s Tale is Hate Speech

The new series from Hulu paints pro-lifers and Christians as sex-obsessed fascists

By John Zmirak Published on April 27, 2017

If you’re like me, you already realized that Hulu is kind of a waste of money and canceled it. The technical glitches alone make it more work to watch a recent episode of The Blacklist than to simply go sit down and write your own.

In an effort to show its relevance and compete with Netflix, Hulu has made a bold move: It took The Handmaid’s Tale, a crackpot feminist meltdown by Canadian typist Margaret Atwood, and made it into a series. Yes, it had already been made into a boring, implausible movie.

Yes, I’ve read it.

No, it’s not remotely credible or compelling.

No, it’s not “suddenly relevant” thanks to the election of Donald Trump. In fact, it wasn’t relevant when Atwood banged it out either. It was simply her shrill, nasty and paranoid reaction to us stupid Yanks electing Ronald Reagan. Now that we’ve gone and elected Donald Trump, it was clearly time to reboot it.

I can’t improve on what Heather Wilhelm wrote over at National Review, explaining just how ludicrous the story is as a critique of orthodox Christianity. Or any form of Christianity that has ever existed anywhere outside of tiny cult compounds.

Please, please go read her column. She points out, truthfully, that there really are large parts of the world where women are enslaved by religious zealots and turned into sexual servants and broodmares. They just aren’t Christian parts of the world.

They belong to … that other religion which we’re not supposed to mention except when we’re trying to get people like Wilhelm fired for criticizing it. HINT: It rhymes with “lip balm.” And there’s no way that Margaret Atwood wants to cop to Lipbalmophobia.

The Totalitarian, Hateful Pro-Life Movement

What drove Atwood to write The Handmaid’s Tale was her outrage and horror at the rise of the pro-life movement. In fact, the novel is nothing more than a paranoid pro-choice tract. Essentially, Atwood’s story shows you what happens when the government tries to protect unborn children:

  1. First, riots in the streets, as the Christian dictators crack down on feminists, nuns, and … Baptists. (Don’t sweat the details here.)
  2. Then some weird plague of infertility afflicts most Christian women, which leads the theocratic heretics running the country to …
  3. Round up all the fertile women and make them breeding slaves to the haughty, sterile Christian wives. These wealthy, manicured Bible-thumpers play along and actively take part as …
  4. Their husbands inseminate the fertile women, to breed the next generation of Christian fascists.

This summary makes you wonder not merely whether Atwood has ever met any Christians. Has she ever met any women?

Just Take Your Xanax

The book really is that foolish. It’s the kind of nightmarish scenario that an unbalanced college girl would tell her therapist, just before he wrote her a prescription for Xanax. So of course it’s on college readings lists around the world. It’s important to screw up young women in the formative years, make them phobic of men and children. That’s part of feminism’s master plan to reduce the birth rate to zero and turn our planet over to the dolphins. But now we’re getting into my own dystopian novel, which remains unwritten. For now …

Comforting the Comfortable, Afflicting the Afflicted

It’s so cheap and easy for academic feminists to fling this wretched book at their students. It doesn’t challenge any group that’s privileged or powerful. In fact, it feeds hateful stereotypes that the wealthy and influential like to spread about a weaker group. In that way, it’s a lot like the infamous Russian forgery, The Protocols of the Elders of Zion. The Russian secret police helped create and distribute that vile book, which claimed to reveal the “secret agenda” of Jews. Their goal, like the Christians’ in The Handmaid’s Tale, was power. They wished to disrupt and destroy other groups to cement their control of society. (No surprise, Hitler reprinted the book and gave it out for free, as Islamists do today throughout the Muslim world.)

Now it was patently absurd to suggest that Jews really ran Europe, or Russia, in 1910. In fact, they suffered various degrees of rank discrimination. Despite a few wealthy donors like the Rothschilds, they were very, very far from exercising dictatorial power — as far as conservative Christians are today, in fact. Nor did Jews have any such ambition. Nor do Christians today. That means that The Protocols were not a legitimate dystopia or satire, but a piece of hate propaganda.

And so is The Handmaid’s Tale.       

If you want to read works of fantasy with real political bite, which actually skewer the powerful and expose disturbing trends, here’s a list I drew up here last year. One thing I can promise you: None of these books will end up as a miniseries on Hulu. 

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  • Jean Shea

    Normally, I find the Stream refreshing, but this commentary/review worked up the sludge that tends to collect at the bottom. “The Handmaid’s Tale” is obviously an extreme and distorted view of Christianity. However, if Zmirak is permitted to call Margaret Atwood a typist, then that makes him one as well. Unless he’s one of those writers who actually have “typists” render his work onto paper or digital form.
    There is a disturbing tendency among Christian denominations and sects to organize themselves along a hierarchy depicted in “The Handmaid’s Tale.” Their practices may not be as extreme. The work is fiction and thus exaggerated for effect. There is a prevailing tendency regarding gender roles among Christians (as well as Muslims and Jews, I might add) that achieves a condescending regard of women by evoking their “ennobled” status, which has had the result of devaluing them.
    When attitudes of a group become institutional thought they become liberating or dangerous, but usually the latter. Denominations, sects, cults operate in degrees of groupthink and as such are the reason why so many people are fleeing organized Christianity.
    The one thing I know is that people are people and prone to foibles in thinking that lead to dangerous institutional thought. It really doesn’t matter whether it is under the banner of Christianity or another religion or no religion. It is why we are constantly reminded to trust God and lean not on our own understanding. That can include systems of belief or worship.
    I didn’t like “The Handmand’s Tale” as a literary work, but elevate the criticism, Zmirak. Ms. Atwood is more than a typist. She is a talented writer, that doesn’t her work is, by definition, akin to Shakespeare. A modicum of respect would be appreciated.
    The 1980 movie was enough for me. I’m not even remotely tempted to even watch the trailer of this series, with or without the benefit of Zmirak’s review. But I see no reason to cast aspersions on a wide berth of people, professions and services. It reminded me that sometimes the secular society does a better job of taking the high road.

    • Patmos

      “The work is fiction and thus exaggerated for effect.”

      If all Atwood can come up with is cheapshots based on ignorance and vague generalities, then “typist” is a kind way to describe her, because she’s more accurately lower than that.

    • Zmirak

      Most ingenious defense of the Protocols I’ve ever read.

      • Karen

        Do you or do you not believe that women should focus our lives exclusively on domesticity and children?

  • Linda Jane

    As a Canadian I have the following observations to offer Americans such as this author. Then tell me who has something to learn from whom:

    Having just come from visiting my mother in hospital, and taking her for an X-ray, I thought of how we will never get a hospital bill or even know how much all her care costs. This, while Americans are fighting tooth-and-nail to avoid paying for health insurance. In Canada we pay a bit of extra income tax and then every single resident gets top quality medical care from conception to death. No questions asked. Never a bill to pay. We are happy to do it. I’ve paid taxes for 40 years and have only availed myself of an annual checkup and two childbirths, and I don’t begrudge my fellow citizens who have perhaps needed millions of dollars of medical care to save their lives. It all balances out.

    Next, while I was downtown I noticed a class of high school students visiting our Parliament Buildings. They were from a neighbouring province. These students were very happy and came in many skin colours. I thought how our largest Ontario school board has had to cancel all schools trips to American destinations. For example, perhaps in prior years that class would have visited New York City or Washington instead of Canada’s capital. Not anymore. Canadians who are the slightest shade of brown or whose names are not English have such a high probability of trouble at the US border that we no longer want to go. A 21 year old girl – born in Canada and holding a Canadian passport – was prevented entry while her two friends were waved through. She is slightly brown skinned and her last name is not Smith or Jones. The three friends were travelling from Toronto to Miami for a wedding. She was never told why she wasn’t allowed in.

    Thirdly, very few Canadians own guns, and no Canadian carries a gun in public, except for law enforcement. Our violent crime is low, lower than comparable US cities. Just this week an American brought a gun in his knapsack into our CN Tower in Toronto. This is terrifying to a Canadian. We don’t want to be near guns. Don’t bring them here.

    Thank you.

    • Patmos

      “Then tell me who has something to learn from whom”

      Okay, you have to learn how to post comments relevant to the topic at hand, something you could learn from… I don’t know, maybe reading the article and responding to the points it makes, rather than drifting off into your own internal dialogue.

      • Linda Jane

        No preaching is worse than a self-righteous American such as the author of the article. You have much to learn from the countries and people you look down upon, but you prefer the sound of your own voices.

        • Billy Chickens

          I love the sound of John Zmirak’s voice. He’s fabulous. And has a great wit. You, Linda Jane, need to look around…er…Canada is it?…(because I really haven’t read anything you said except this criticism of John)…so anyway…look around Canada? while you can before Islam takes over Candisthan (sounds like a yeast infection of some sort) and you’re locked up tight in your house by a husband who won’t let you or his other wives drive because his religion won’t let women drive. Think about it. It might clear your brain a bit.

          • Linda Jane

            Our Prime Ministers have been and continue to be Catholic, with Stephen Harper being a devout member of the Christian and Missionary Alliance church. No fear here.

          • Billy Chickens

            You poor naive person. Evil is always to be feared but these days no one thinks Islam is evil especially Pope Francis, who’s on his way to Egypt to make nice with Islam. If beheading, stoning women, female genital mutilation, forcing people to convert, polygamy, running crowds of people over with trucks, stabbing people on subways, running into skyscrapers and killing 3500 people, beating women, honor killings, kidnapping Christian school girls and so on is not evil then OK. Islam can have Canada and you with it since not to defend against evil is to be swallowed up by it.

          • Linda Jane

            The Bible instructs believers not to fear, the Lord said “let not your hearts be troubled, believe in God, believe also in Me”. Love, joy, peace and patience mark the lives of Christians. Of course I loathe militant Islam and terrorism, and other liars, and I support all kinds of ministries that send the love of Jesus throughout the world. But I have no fear because I know who wins the final battle. Terrorists and Islam do not threaten my salvation.

          • Billy Chickens

            You misunderstand. I’m not talking about your salvation. I’m talking about life here and now on earth. Do you want to go naively into the dark night of Islam? Seems so. And it says in the Bible that we are supposed to be innocent as doves and wise as serpents, i.e., not to be naive about evil. Terrorists and Islam may not threaten your salvation, unless of course they force you to convert and they’re very good at that. Along with love, joy, peace and patience are courage, prudence, wisdom, fortitude and using our brains to recognize evil when we see it. Remember, we can’t deal with the devil and win, but that’s what you are doing and you will lose that battle.

          • Linda Jane

            Our Canadian wisdom kept us out of the Iraq war, while we were not afraid to shed Canadian blood and lose young lives in Afghanistan and while preparing to fight in other terrorist strongholds. We aren’t giving in to terrorism here by any means. Our Parliament Buildings are inscribed with Psalm 72:8 “He shall have dominion from sea to sea and from the river to the ends of the earth”.

          • Just to be clear. This column did not bash Canada. It criticized one Canadian writer, who bashed the U.S. and Christians. No need for a border war.

          • Billy Chickens

            Yes, well, you’ll do quite well with your head in the sand when your Muslim husband takes you and his other wives back to Saudi Arabia.

          • Linda Jane

            Americans are such a fearful and hateful people. Btw, my husband is Catholic and would never set foot in the Middle East.

        • Linda, I hope you know you are so lucky to not live in a country where the word of God is being spoken to so many heterosexuals. Because they feel his love and grace (and this mind you comes from a book written over 2000 years ago, and still used to run this country). Now how do I know that you ask…well I am a gay man in South Dakota where I’m told I cannot marry a man because it cause those catholics such distress to god (yes he must be one busy god telling his word and distress to so many heteros in this country, letting them interpret to make them feel comfortable. Amazing those are the ones saying my lifestyle i lead is my choice. No not saying, telling me. Never actually asking me, just going off by the whay the thought makes them feel and using god and the bible as the law. The Catholic Religion has mastered the art of discrimination so well, those ignorant men are still able to tell me I cannot express the love I have for the one person I was lucky enough to have met that feels the same for me. Love is a rare thing and should be celebrated 2 human beings find it within each other. Sounds normal to me but those in Washington DC and all over this country are so distressed that I love another man, it just cannot and will not happen for me. No American should believe that we are any better than any other country because we continue to backwards rather than forward. Slavery, Woman’s rights, Slavery…religion runs this country with ignorant men leading the way. We are the Human race, all of us and we will be extinct because of religion, keeping heads down to read the good word rather than looking up and working as a race to ensure our survival. Mother Nature can only warn us so much and she’s getting tired of it!

          • Micha_Elyi

            Whether or not you’re homosexual, Jashiz, as a man you cannot marry a man because marriage is between a man and a woman. Don’t blame religion, blame nature.

            Ahh, but you blame “religion” because the rational people oppose your attempts to pervert the meanings of words and pass off counterfeit marriages as the real thing.

    • ImaginaryDomain

      Hi Linda, thanks for posting. Here’s a few thoughts:

      1) socialized medicine as you have in Canada might work for a country of less than 30 million, with a few major caveats. The first is that Canada rarely invents new drugs and procedures. That yolk has fallen overwhelmingly on the US. We don’t mind inventing for the rest of the world, just recognize that there is a HUGE cost associated with every new development. In fact, for every 1 drug that makes it through a phase 3/4 clinical trial, there are at least 20 others that have failed. Each failure is an enormous cost (10-50 million), but in our capitalists society we encourage failure to promote success. So, you’re very welcome that in all likelihood the next procedure that you get for “free” was developed here in the US and at tremendous cost. Finally on this point, again, what may work for 30 million people does not scale to almost 400 million people. The truth is that Canada does and will deny coverage for the very high risk pool – for example, denying procedures (other than palliative) for dying cancer patients, etc. It is the only way that such a system can possibly work. It doesn’t all just magically “balance out.” That’s economics 101.

      2) I’m am thrilled that officials at the Canadian-US border are scrutinizing who enters our country. Also, your use of the term “trouble” is not defined. “Trouble” as in they need to prove who they are and why they are entering? Or “trouble” as in someone threatens/beats them? I would lay money that it’s the former kind of trouble, and thank God for that. We are pretty sick and tired of our borders being abused. If you’re such a snowflake that you can’t withstand a few questions at our border, perhaps you should rethink your travel plans.

      3) Canada isn’t the US when it comes to guns. A bit of history here. Yamamoto was terribly afraid of a US invasion during WW2. Know why? He knew that there was no way he could shore up against an entire country of individual gun owners. One thing I know is that any foreign invader will have a hell of time taking over this country – thanks to all of us gun owners.

      • Linda Jane

        Trouble at the border means unexpectedly being denied entry for no reason other than ones skin is a shade of brown or ones name is not English. Such as the example I gave. And please note that health care involves much more than pharmaceutical research. Canadians are continually developing and advancing all kinds of health-improving and life-sustaining recommendations, products, therapies and services. Bit of history for you – Canadians were fighting Hitler in Europe for 4 years before the US deigned to take action.

        • Charlie Sutton

          Your mom did not have stage 3 or 4 cancer, but easily treatable cancer. Read what she wrote.

          • Linda Jane

            And how many 90+ year old Americans get top level nursing home care with all the nursing and medical care they need. They aggressively treated her life-threatening sepsis at 93 with a week-long hospital admission and all kinds of specialist intervention. And we didn’t pay a penny.

            You don’t have a clue what you are talking about.

          • Charlie Sutton

            How do you know? I just noted the difference between what the comment to which you responded said, and then what you said. There is a huge difference between skin cancer and internal organ cancer, and the article was talking about internal organ cancer.

            I’m glad that they treated the sepsis; it’s nasty stuff – but it is also a lot more treatable than stage 4 cancer of a liver or a lung.

          • Linda Jane

            If she had stage 4 cancer it would be treated. If they wanted to get rid of her and get her out of the medical system they had their chance when she was septic at 93. Americans lull themselves into superiority complexes by making assumptions and believing lies about other countries with better governments and better social networks. You just can’t bring yourselves to admit your country is not the best place to live on earth. Your citizens are not truly free while worrying about paying medical treatments for themselves or their children. Where a problem childbirth can bankrupt a family. It must be terrible. I can’t imagine what that feels like.

        • Resister

          Another socialist telling everyone how great it is to pay for other people’s responsibilities! It’s always nice to have someone telling everyone else what they should do with their labor!

          This is about you!

          “Of all tyrannies, a tyranny sincerely exercised for the good of its victims may be the most oppressive. It would be better to live under robber barons than under omnipotent moral busybodies. The robber baron’s cruelty may sometimes sleep, his cupidity may at some point be satiated; but those who torment us for our own good will torment us without end for they do so with the approval of their own conscience.”

          ― C.S. Lewis

      • Charlie Sutton

        “Yoke,” not “yolk.” Otherwise, excellent points.

        • ImaginaryDomain

          Ahhh…my wife usually picks up on my many mispellings/wrong words. Your/you’re, its/it’s. Yolk/yoke. Anyway, thanks!

      • Micha_Elyi

        Canada’s scheme provides the finest healthcare the 1970s can offer.
        21st century medicine, not so much.

        • Linda Jane

          Ya keep telling yourself that buddy, as our citizens retire comfortably on Canada pension plans and old age security, and free nursing homes if they need it later on, while the older Americans who don’t succumb to untreated illness keep working at Denny’s and Walmart into their twilight years just to pay for health care.

          Americans are as indoctrinated with propaganda as the Russians are.

  • Rob Klaers

    What I find interesting is that she took something from the Bible and used it as a framework​ for her book. Something Christians themselves do in their own lives, and yet they’ll recognize it when they do it, but if another Christian does it.

  • Sounds like Rifttrax fodder.

    • Hannah

      *throws money at you* Happen please now.

  • Joseph Lukowski

    I never had a technical problem with Hulu. Content, well…another story.

  • chrisinva

    Curious that there are no movies about how Chinese Communist Apparatchiki round up pregnant women by the millions, tie them up, and send them to forced abortions because they’ve gotten pregnant again after the “permitted” birth(s) – one, or two at the most.

    Hollywood doesn’t mind sliming Catholics, but Chicoms?

    This is what Eric Voegelin calls a “forbidden question” – at the root of modern gnosticism.

    • MathairAlainn

      GREAT POINT! Unfortunately, it has always been more fun to slam Catholics.

      • spammy

        No we don’t live in China.

        • MathairAlainn

          No one said we did.

          • MathairAlainn

            Oh.. wait… I identify as a dog according to spammy so the correct response it: “Grrrr… ruff! ruff!”

          • spammy

            No, sorry I still don’t value you’re opinion, because you are a reprehensible person. Too many rights are being taken away from Americans today, especially woman. I believe/hope this movie is satire.

            Actually the term Sheeple has been used by you American hating republicans for a long time.

            Good like messing up America. You’re making it “Great” again.

  • Hmmm…

    I am personally very grateful for John Zmirak, thankful to God for men of his high caliber among us at such a time as this.

    • mj

      And he’s funny, too! Bonus!

  • Karen

    So controlling Congress, the Presidency, the Supreme Court, and 30 state legislatures isn’t controlling anything?

    • MathairAlainn

      Yes..just like the democrats controlled everything during Obama’s 8 years.

      • Karen

        The Dems controlled Congress for two years. Republicans controlled the House and most state legislatures after 2010 and the House and Senate in 2014.

        You still haven’t answered my question, so I’ll make it simpler for you: do conservative Christians control the Republican Party and does the Republican Party control the federal government in 2017?

        • Micha_Elyi

          I enjoy the panic I see in the eyes of the baby-eating Left.
          They’re afraid they’ll starve.

          • Karen

            You call yourself a Christian, don’t you? If you are the contemporary church I understand why young people are leaving it in droves.

          • spammy

            Since the Right cares only about infants before they leave the womb I don’t value your opinion. You’re insulting for no reason it only proves that you know little. You should panic for your own children’s future, but you’re too busy making childish comments.

          • MathairAlainn

            There’s that inclusiveness and tolerance again… “I don’t value your opinion if it is different then mine.”

          • MathairAlainn

            Tolerant aren’t they? Calling people “trained dogs.” Wow. Way to be “inclusive.” They’re such snarky little hypocrites.

        • spammy

          He doesn’t understand anything. He’s a low level “Grunt” republican. His masters told him what to think on Fox. You re talking to the human equivalent of a trained dog. A “Sheeple” if you will. Say “Pro-choice” and he’ll bark.

        • MathairAlainn

          Thankfully they finally do! Hopefully they won’t act like democrats.

          P.S. Thanks for dumbing it down for me. Ruff! Ruff!

  • Karen

    Conservative Christians don’t want power? You all have stopped running for office and won’t be introducing abortion bans in state legislatures anymore? No one will kill thousands of pixels arguing for policies that force women to continue pregnancies they don’t want or will kill them? No one is going to spend hours suggesting that emancipated women with jobs destroyed everything good in the world? Tell me where this world is because I want to move there.

  • MathairAlainn

    Great article! LOVE the “lip-balm” reference!

  • This question seeks information; it is not rhetorical.

    Over the last thirty years, the political Left has regularly accused conservative Christians of wanting to establish a theocracy. Why, when it comes to Islam, does the Left show no fear that Muslims might want a theocracy?

  • Howard Rosenbaum

    A “Hulu original” – theres nothing “original” in this “timely” retelling of Ms Atwoods tortured feminist fantasy narrative.
    The scurrilous implications & misconstrued accusations meant to enlighten viewers to the perils of theocratic rule in the era of Trump is hardly original. Most despots from Hitler to Khamenei have drawn upon these themes in one way or another to cement their doctrine w/in the hardened hearts of the deceived. For the left to suggest that this story is relevant to the worst fears our country faces under Trump is as inappropriate as would be The Protocols , Mr Zmirak references being published & distributed freely by say, The American Bible society or perhaps The Jewish Anti Defamation League.
    Though it seems unsurprising that the media is busy singing it’s praises – they’re apparently tone deaf – very tone deaf …

  • cestusdei

    Students should demand a safe space if this book is assigned.

  • carlmelcher

    It is sad that the over-arching Garbage Culture inflicts movies and books like this on young people. If only there were interesting, well-written novels by traditional folks that told the other side. Maybe novels that explored how 21st Century America really works… how dysfunctional it is, it’s struggles with political correctness and racial relations. If only there were novels like that. Then maybe young people would have options. Maybe we could change the culture by changing young people. Gee. If I could I write something about what it would be like for a young man from Philly, who ‘dies’ in 1966 and ‘wakes in 2015, and attempts to make his way home. All the cultural changes that we’ve had to adjust to over the last 48 years would be thrust on him almost immediately. I would give the book a title something like… Van Ripplewink: You Can’t Go Home Again. Of course, if nobody ever heard about it, it wouldn’t change a thing. The left-controlled literati would never mention it; they’d disappear it. And on the right, it’s every man for himself. Interesting post.

    • Rocky Rocketeer

      Go write a book dirtbag .. Don’t expect success though..

  • James

    The Gilead regime considers Catholics to be enemies of the state (for obvious reasons) and is depicted as destroying Catholic Churches.

    Think of Gilead as a Christian version of ISIS, but it need not be Christian.

    I see it as a warning about the importance of the Second Amendment, to keep dictatorships from carting off my wife and daughters, which is probably not what Atwood intended.

  • Rocky Rocketeer

    I can’t wait to stick it to you funny Christians .. Not sarcasm.

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