I get an email from my workplace, and what’s the first image in the content?

Someone hasn't seen the Matrix.Yup, it’s a scattering of blue pills. Of course, for someone who hasn’t seen or didn’t care for The Matrix, this has no real symbolic significance at all. It’s an appropriate image for the link to an article about the impending launch of a College of Pharmacy at our campus.

But for someone who’s seen The Matrix, the Blue Pill has a rather ominous meaning, for Morpheus tells Neo that if you take the Blue Pill, “the story ends, you wake up in your bed and believe whatever you want to believe.” That is, if you swallow the blue pill, you return to the Matrix and live as a slave inside the fantasy that an anti-human machine has constructed to enslave all of humanity.

Or you can take the red pill and wake up to the fullness of this oppressive reality, and fight back using the tools of the master’s house — that is, the Matrix itself — to achieve freedom and resstablish humans, rather than the tools they have constructed, as the top of the food chain.

Yeah, I’m thinking that a (pop-)culturally aware member of the promotions staff for a University in the West probably would have looked for an image of yellow pills, or a green pills, or white ones, or some other-colored pills. But there are layers of irony in the presence of that image that amused me to no end, so… ha.

Confession: I actually included (I think it was) a blue pill in a story once and people called me on it, saying, “What, is this a Matrix reference? If not, it feels like one.” I didn’t get it right away. But then, The Matrix was not such a big deal to me. I liked it, but… anyway.

I’ve also decided to launch a poll, after reading the same newsletter from work.

It seems the form can’t be embedded on my site, so here’s the link! (And someone please let me know if that isn’t working!)

4 thoughts on “Bluepill

  1. I think that an automatic blue pills=The Matrix association is probably generally restricted to people in the SF community these days. To me, the words “blue pills” just make me think of Viagra.

  2. Associations of specific memories / thoughts with otherwise generic images – sure, there’s irony there. I thought of the same Matrix reference, without knowing the irony of it. At the same time, I’m sure it was neither an ironic move or a jab at the future changes. Guessing a stock photo pulled from a website with little thought as to cultural references?

  3. Chris,

    Yeah, it’s definitely not self-conscious, or a jab at the new Pharmacy Department. I’ve heard many people express different opinions about that, but dissent under the new regime seems even more quiet and behind-closed-doors than dissent under the previous regime.

    I think it’s probably a stock photo too. I can’t make out any details on the picture but it’d be funny if it was viagra.

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