Tuesday, September 6, 2016

Picture a boot stomping on a prozac tab forever

Before their deaths, Orwell conceded to Huxley that Huxley had their future correct, but Orwell spoke only of the immediate development of society, not its perpetuity. We guzzle Soma, we expose infants, we sexualize everything, yes, and so Huxley is proven correct again after being partly wrong for a while, and soon Orwell will be proven correct again, in his time, as the Huxleyan excesses give way to the veritable jackboot. No, not the benevolent wolfsangel, but the Cheka's secret shame, for you're reading Huxley and Orwell in only the most facile of ways. It was not the sex and sexualization themselves that were bad in Huxley's world, just as it was not the technology and commitment that were themselves bad in Orwell's. Misunderstood, library fines are Big Brother and a warm tortilla is Soma, for we should not forget that all authorities and all chemical reliefs depend upon appropriate scale to be properly felt and described.

The message of Brave New World was not that sex is bad, and 1984 wasn't countering Huxley when Winston and Julia stole away to the wilds to have secret non-marital sex and eat organic jam. The Junior Anti-Sex League was not the remedy to Huxley; Bernard Max was not some anticitizen one, some token two-minute Goldstein or Osama, some new Napoleon the Pig paradigmatically demonstrating the freedom for which we should strive. Farnham's Freehold (+Shannon) found its paradise in books, not fag-hanging or condom-banning, and Starship Troopers fought the hordes of Klenadathu, not slow dancing.

Read your Huxley again: Bernard Marx is a perspective-character, not a hero. He is a broken, pitiful turd, a message of error, and he and the rest of the pitiful society he dwells in are juxtaposed against the character Helmholtz Watson, who enjoys lots of pleasures and has lots of kinky sex and is presented sympathetically by Huxley in so doing. Helmholtz is no cowardly Christian running to follow 12-step NoFap programs or hunt down cross-dressers in his spare time. And so too was John Spartan John Savage, who rejected the broken society rather than trying to salvage twisted Lenina for some above-replacement-rate parenting. Huxley's message was clearly against the real evils of joint social-pharmaceutical nothingness, and the use of various pleasures--sexual and tablet--for replacing meaningful interactions and the perpetuation of life itself, but he was equally clear in demonstrating that Bernard Marx' passionate striving for Christianity, as a cover to justify his hatred of women for choosing lovers other than himself, was exactly the petty foolishness that perpetuated the world of drugged drones and tube-babies. Huxley was not advocating that we ban acetaminophen or Tinder, but rather that we not let our societies and our selves become so terrible that excessive and exclusive trash is the only thing keeping us going. Huxley did not want to extol Bernard's covetous emptiness; he used that character, and described Bernard's spiritual and physical wretchedness so deeply, in order that his work would not be mistaken for a puritanical tract. Yet the dimwitted reader's version has persisted in popular memory, cherry-picking Brave New World of a few plot points in order to make people think of it as a simplistic anti-sex and prohibition polemic, just as Animal Farm is so often likened to a strictly Soviet analogy.

And so, a few generations after our ancestors permitted the spread of that somatic bleakness, we see Huxley meet Orwell somewhere in the middle, as the tot-pot Alphas of the world rush off to create new Anti-Sex Leagues of their own, becoming the hypocritical trash that both Orwell and Huxley warned against last century. Now, to turn against their own mangled insides, the very Serena Joys and Bernard Marxes we saw mocked are craving the Mormon pajamas and the omnipresent Big Brothers of which 1984 was supposed to warn us.

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