Unfortunately, we lost March 2nd because of my cold but we covered a good deal of material on the 4rth before viewing Andrew Niccol's Gattaca on the 9th. Those points made about Huxley's Brave New World include:
- The idea of the simulacrum (cf pp. 60, 101, and 128 in Brave New World (BNW) and pp. 29, 30, and 46 in Brave New World Revisited--BNWR).
- The idea that ideology functions like a machine, separate from the concerns of individual people (cf pp. 31, 175, 180 in BNW).
- The former point was illustrated by examining the break-up of the narrative that occurs on pp. 21-44. The suggestion being made is that ideology is affecting the thoughts and words of various individual people in specific situations.
- The ambiguous nature of the Brave New World. When the world is described to John the Savage by his mother, he imagines it as a true utopia (cf. p. 98) but, when he confronts it in actuality, his reaction is one of abjection: he actually throws up (cf. p. 122). In the end, we are presented, in fact, with a dystopia.
- The idea of the anti-hero, a discussion which tied together Frankenstein, Bladerunner, and Brave New World.
- Mass society and economic models of consumption, what is termed in the book the "conscription of consumption" (p. 37). Thanks to this endless consumption, there is "no leisure from pleasure, not a moment to sit down and think" (43). As John the Savage puts it on p. 183, "What you need... is something with tears for a change. Nothing costs enough here."
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