Escape from the Wasteland

jennifer mei
1 min readJul 26, 2022

The Broken Promises of Utopia and the Relentlessly Optimistic Nihilism of Mad Max: Fury Road

I’ve thought a lot about optimistic nihilism lately, and about what it looks like in practice, which led me back to the wasteland of Mad Max: Fury Road. This deck began as an excuse to watch one of my favorite movies a million times, but I was also curious about how far off we are from the utopia and/or dystopia sold to us by fiction and pop culture, given our simultaneous epidemiological, social, political, environmental, and moral crises. I argue that the universe of Mad Max: Fury Road provides an excellent framework for both surviving the apocalypse and moving forward after an event of total collapse.

Hot tip: Make sure you read my notes in the comments for context; just click the three dots and select “open speaker notes”

Originally published at on July 25th, 2022.