The Exorcist meets The Time Machine meets Blue Velvet. Walter and I discuss Bradbury's classic warning about Martians with white picket fences
I have read it twice, once as a youth in the 1950s, recently as an old person. The first reading, I thought "what an odd story." As an old person, I cried. I grew up not with New England picket fences but barbed wire fences in rural SW Missouri. Two parents, brother and sister, grandparents living up the road a mile, surrounded by uncles, aunts, cousins. School and church center of life. It was good. I wish heaven were like that and that when I die I could go back there. Instead I and my grandchildren live in this degraded, perverted, and criminal world. It has not been a positive change.
Walter said, "Puritan small town is a very fucking scary place." Isn't that parroting something he learned in school? Such language reminds me of a fellow in the bushes who, upon seeing something he doesn't understand, calls it a monster or a demon. Does any American training, teaching, higher or lower education understand anything about matters that are different from themselves or are they simply holding up mirrors and declaring the beauty they observe? That makes Walter as much a victim of higher education as the rest of us. I suspect the Puritans didn't look at their lives the same way Walter did and that matters.
There are no words..you two make morality and following GOD'S laws into a joke. You forget that those universities are filled with evil and elites. You forget that the people who have high jacked our government came from those universities and others like them. You people with all the education and letters behind your names who think you are superior to everyone are people without common sense. The Bible says the "wise" will become foolish and the foolish, wise..
What a depressing article, because the fellas hit on a truth I hadn't conceptualized, the snitch / puritan society we've become and have been. Political correctness, cancel culture and witch hunts.
It seems that factions of our country would prefer a totalitarian society where wrong think can be punished and the government dictates all aspects of our lives. Seems that we are heading in that direction. Why? Because human nature seems to demand it.
"I definitely lean more towards The Scarlet Letter/The Lottery version of America, where actually there’s something sick and cannibalistic in the middle of us that we can’t quite get rid of. "
I see a love of violence that there is no attempt to get rid of. To avert mass shootings they propose that school teachers carry sidearms. That should tell you something.
You guys are channeling all my compulsive sci fi stuff from more youthful times. I just bought 1984 to read again. Thanks.
"Let’s think back to the experience of a little kid at the time of the Salem witch hunts. You got to peek through people’s windows. You got to gossip about their liaisons in the woods. You got to run around. You were a junior detective, and everybody turns into a junior detective in a witch hunt or a moral panic. Everybody gets to turn somebody in, find a clue, overhear a damaging conversation."
A recent trend that's emerged among high school age children has been to start public google docs where kids maintain a spreadsheet that documents which students and faculty members are guilty of being racist/misogynist/homophobic, etc. Did your teacher utter an actual slur, or did they say something mildly awkward about a protected class of people? Put their name on the list!
Obviously, anyone is capable of lying on these spreadsheets and the criteria of what constitutes bigotry is constantly expanding. Chilling, to say the least.
Philip K. Dick (I think) also wrote a story about astronauts coming to a world where everything is perfect including the white picket fences. I think in the end it quietly eats them.
Shirley Jackson wrote "The Lottery" in which a victim is selected by lottery and is killed (by stoning) to ensure good crops and profits. It's another vision of "The Ones Who Walk Away From Omelas" only in the latter the victim, instead of being disposed of quickly, is slowly tortured to death, locked in a closet.
The central theme of all these stories seems to be that Utopia is death and requires victims. You could say that about a lot of gods. The only ones who escape are in LeGuin's story, who walk away from Utopia. Not many of those.
What's interesting is who creates the illusions. In this story, it's the Martians. In 1984, it's a totalitarian government. In Brave New World, everyone kind of creates their own. The conditions can change, the creators can change, but the susceptibility to believe the mirage is real remains more or less a constant theme. In non-fiction Thucydides provided maybe the earliest example of this kind of thing in the History of the Peloponnesian War.
The article made me think of the Villages in Florida. They’ve built Baby Boomer nostalgia down there. It is its own bubble, that no one needs to leave. A person can truly forget about the reality of what goes on in the outside world if they want to. It’s a shared dream built on memories of ‘how things were’. People easily flock to it just like the crew of the ship running to a past that doesn’t exist anymore. Some see it as a perfect place to relax and retire in. Others view it as a singular community that’s practically a cult. Two views of the same place. Walter and Matt did a good job exploring the classic writers and how they explored the dichotomy of the Quaint New England town. Is it all white picket fences and apple pie or the set of a Stephen King horror tale? Sometimes it’s all about perspective.
Panic at the Disco now makes sense. The vibe I'm getting from this post is Matt and Walter are having a bit of dark fun with a few of the reflections. Which is ok. Just remind me in the next post how we get through this last little phase here in the U.S. where we're about to be told we're not thirsty ( i.e. "you don't like meat...you never did" or "you're not a man...you never were" or "you can't use cash...it's just better this new digital way"). I just go back to the tribalism wheel and wonder where we are on it here in the U.S or globally. The tribe always follows the strongest leader out of wars and consolidation (where they crushed their enemies) into the leader's new Utopia, only to figure out they have been duped and, at that point, the leader is put down (for good), the tribe splits and the process starts over. Many of the current front-runners to consolidate, from what I can see, don't really live in the U.S. and may not have to fire a shot to consolidate, all while holding out the white picket fence and green lawn of their NWO.
Keep it coming. So good. Thanks.
I think the Spanish beat the Harvard guys to NM by almost three centuries. Coronado was looking for gold rather than artifacts, though
The theme of people telling each other polite fibs to maintain the illusion of a functioning society has appeared in all three of the stories discussed thus far. I wonder if this hints at something not generally acknowledged about the human condition. Maybe we always have one foot in and one foot out of whatever particular society we find ourselves in, living less in its reality than in some kind of necessary, conventional narrative about it. Consider the following passage from the novel, Yarnless In Steerage:
Brian went to say goodbye to Agaete John, who gave him some parting advice. “You’re bound to forget this,” he predicted, “but the world doesn’t run on merit, or reward it. It runs on self-interest.”
“So I've heard.”
“And not according to reason, but according to the will.”
“I can see that too,” said Brian.
“But you will inevitably lose sight of it,” the other man sighed. “You’re going back to school where your focus will revert to formal learning, which relies on sound reading comprehension and an ability to distinguish true from false, or at any rate the plausible from the implausible. You may even think you're distinguishing the wise and good from the foolish and bad. You’ll evaluate ideas on their merits and devise airtight arguments, because your textbooks and professors will encourage you to see how neatly the puzzle pieces fit together and reward you to the extent that you 'get it.' The attachment to reason this engenders will make it harder to remember a more alien truth, that it matters less which ideas have the surest epistemological foundation and more which ones are widely accepted, whether they deserve to be or not.”
“Surely there’s some relation between the quality of an idea and the degree to which it’s accepted,” objected Brian. This was something he knew perfectly well was only likely amongst those sufficiently competent to discern such quality. But he wanted it to be true at least to this extent if it couldn't be true universally.
“Not enough for you to make sense of the world if you presume human decision-making to be guided by reason or even rational self-interest,” said Agaete John. “That’s an Enlightenment fantasy. There are other kinds of agreements that govern the way people coexist and, as in law, precedent and tradition can count for more than reason and logic. People also collude to support social fictions that you offend at great peril. Are you familiar with the story of the emperor’s new clothes?”
“Yes, it’s a fairy tale.”
“It’s a short story by Hans Christian Anderson,” said Agaete John. “What lesson do you draw from it?”
“Well, that people can outsmart themselves, I suppose, or be tripped up by their own vanity. The emperor ends up wearing no clothes because neither he nor anyone around him wants to be thought a fool, and they all end up being bigger fools for it.”
“I’d say that’s a fairly standard interpretation,” said Agaete John. “What about the role of the child?”
“He hasn’t learned to be a hypocrite yet, so he speaks the simple truth.”
“The lonely voice in the crowd, speaking a truth that others fail to see or can’t acknowledge.”
“I gather you’re about to give me a different interpretation,” said Brian. “Okay, what’s wrong with the standard one?”
“Oh, nothing… I’m sure you’ve read the story correctly, got the right idea. Maybe it’s even the one the author had in mind—who can say? Try this, though: what if everyone in the crowd already realizes the emperor has no clothes before the boy sees fit to speak? What if they understand perfectly well that, in the nature of things, he could never have any clothes, that the relationship between a ruler and his subjects is a make-believe fantasy which collapses unless everyone colludes to sustain it? What becomes of the boy’s action then? Doesn't it betray his own ignorance and misunderstanding, excusable only because of his immaturity? In an adult, wouldn't it be a social blunder of the worst sort? Instead of conveying news others don't know and need to hear, the child simply shows he doesn’t yet grasp that there are some truths one doesn’t shout aloud. An insight that is inimical to us is better left unvoiced."
“So, the lesson is… we have to live with lies?”
Agaete John smiled. “All I’m saying is that if you plan to be the boy in the crowd, make sure you fully understand what you’re talking about and the implications of delivering your message. There may be good reasons why you haven’t heard others bellowing the same truths that seem so obvious to you.”
“All right, I’ll remember. Thanks, John. Thanks for everything.”
“You’re welcome. The same to you. Oh! One more thing…”
“When you graduate, you might consider seeking employment as an interviewer.” He chuckled. “You draw me out more than anyone has in years.”
With recent revelations of a Secret Space Program on June 12, 2023 at the National Press Club You Tube testimony of whistle blowers, it is fair and reasonable to assume that they have already taken up residence on Mars, the Moon and elsewhere-wherever they may be welcome., we have a lot to be very concerned with especially since they obviously have plants inside the DOD and elsewhere assisting them in doing their dirty work. Congress needs to jump on this 70 years ago, because time is of the essence as the future of humanity is at stake. This group no doubt is behind the World Domination movement and would like nothing less that control humanity.
Therefore every person must contact their Senators and Reps and demand that they do a full investigation inclusive of visiting every inch of every deep underground base run by the government or any Corporation or jointly. These evil secret entities have been controlling humanity with assistance from within the Military Industrial Complex and Congress. So any Senator who refuses to take a hard line on tis issue and go after this group, is likely complicit with their evil deeds.
This is a matter of the utmost highest order. Nothing comes close to the future existential aspect of humanity at a time when things are in such turmoil.
We need to know what Congresspersons stand with humanity and its right to self-determination and what members do not and remove them wherever they are..
Anyone who thinks this is a joke or false need not become involved as they will only interfere with the investigation. The power this group has developed after 70 plus years of secret development to the point where they now have 300 foot discs abducting humans for slavery and other insane purposes is staggering, and we must be prepared to lose our lives if need be to save this planet for all of humanity. Not against ET's strangely enough, but HUMANS> Sick Sociopaths and Psychopaths hell bent on dominating our every move.
If this is not enough to get honest people in government to do the right thing, then we the people need to expose this and every detail involved. Any Congressperson found protecting this group should be charged with Treason as well as any person in the military who has been bribed to turn their heads etc. This is so egregious that nothing in our history compares.
If you care about this please forward tis to anyone who may read it, and take action to demand that Government get this group under control NOW.
Namaste Edward William Case
"We have Always Lived in the Castle," by Shirley Jackson, is a more explicit critique of the underside of these idyllic places. Or pretty much anything by Jackson, come to that.
I just finished a book called The Once and Future Witches, that takes place in New Salem a generation after the Salem Witch Trials. It has a chilling amount of history in it and a dire view of human nature, particularly men's. In the middle of it, I read Caitlin Johnstone on Australia's new proposed censorship laws, levying millions of dollars of fines on companies that don't crack down. There was an eerie correspondence between the two.