What Will it Take for Us to Quit Playing the Squid Game?

Do you really believe there’s a way to win?

K M Brown


Photo by Vadim Bogulov on Unsplash

By now, you’ve heard both sides of the Squid Game paradox. It’s drawn more people to Netflix’s streaming subscription service than any other series to date even though it’s been criticized for its stilted dialogue and histrionic overacting. On one hand, you’ve got to see it. On the other, it’s not very good.

We’re drawn to it the way our eyes are drawn to grisly car wrecks when we pass. Even when we can’t look, we cannot look away.

Squid Game, the series, grips us because we relate to it. We know we’re playing it in real life. Overlords in the form of CEOs and elected officials, bored by their ability to have whatever they want, toy with us for their own amusement. They hold all the power, and they use it to pit us against one another and put us in situations we would never choose for ourselves. They keep us impoverished, and our poverty makes us believe we have no other choice but to play.

The rich feed off the poor

That is the overt message of Squid Game’s first season. And it’s easy to think of the guards as a bunch of mid-level bad guys. They’re the ones holding guns as they hover over players during games, waiting to eliminate the losers. They’re the ones who concoct a scheme to vivisect mortally wounded competitors so they can harvest their organs and sell them to wealthy patients in need.

It’s easy to focus on the Front Man and on the silly, self-indulgent, and blood-thirsty Guests who come to watch the final game and wager on the players. Even though they’ve got millions on the table, they’ve nothing to lose; they have more money than they will ever need. They’re looking for places to throw it away, and this is where it lands.

The evil of the overclass is only half the story

Focusing on what the overclass is doing wrong has become the national pastime. Pick a team, a team you believe will help you be a winner. Then fight the opposing team to the death. That’s what the Squid Game players did.

And it’s what a lot of us do every day through various media, social or otherwise. We read something we don’t…



K M Brown

Retired psychotherapist who loves a good story. Author of From Fear to There: Becoming a Confident Traveler https://tinyurl.com/26uhya