Babysnatching. Suspiciously self-satisfied toilet-cleaning. Pervasive pornlessness.

Taking a class on Utopias is depressing.

They, Utopias, ought to be these Candyland wonderbars where you pay for Almond Joys with the gold you scrape off the road and then have consensual sex with lots of models, since everybody in Utopia looks like a model, but, incredibly, everybody is still as attractive to everybody else as models are to ugly people in our non-Utopian world. And then you ought to go home and tell your long-term Utopian domestic partner about the Utopian sex you had with a lot of bookish, Wilde-witty, generous but also commanding utopomodels you just met at the milk bar and it ought to get you both riled up and you ought to have sex that's so good that it actually sublates the sex you just had with the utopomodels into a new kind of utoposex. And that utoposex ought not be followed by any kind of existential hangover -- no! No burning hatred, no staring the void in the face. Everything will be just as good tomorrow as it was today, and today was fucking great! For everybody! The afterglow lasts forever, and it's not even after anything. It's just a glow, an all-consuming heavenly halo draped around your neck like a dayglo noose that just squeezes tighter and tighter and makes you happier and happier until your head's just about to blow. Utopia is a total vacuum of phenomenality that puffs you up like an enormous blood-bloated tick -- one those ticks so full of blood that their legs wiggle in space and they can't even walk -- and then pops you with the business-end of a lawndart of ecstasy, and your jouissance, uncontainable in such a humble, limited vessel of happiness as yourself, splatters all onlookers sticky. "Dude! You got your joy on me! Awesome!"

That's what a Utopia is, don't you know. In theory.

But that's not the way Utopias read. Because that kind of description always hinges on one thing: being in a good mood. And when everybody's in a good mood, as everyone in a Utopia must be, it's not a good thing. It's just fucking creepy. Church group creepy. People get along, go along, in tremendous moods, cutting hay because it feels good, and caring about art but not that much because attendance to art is tantamount to an acknowledgment of suffering. Not ever having any desires unfulfilled or any crises or bafflements. They're never stifled. They're never unhappy -- just occasionally less than giddy. And when they are giddy, it's even creepier. Like those church people who actually go into mildly orgasmic enthusiasms when the Word of God is being read out loud, but you can totally tell they're faking their scripturegasms. But, as with all fakers, you'd never be able to get them to fess up, because once a fake is out, you can't get it back in the bottle.

Partly, Utopias are terrible because -- and I'm speaking for myself -- it's in my nature to begrudge the fuck out of people who seem content, satisfied, stationary. Partly they're terrible because of an instinctual suspicion to the tenets of groupthink, no matter how right that groupthink may be. (It never ends up being all that right.)

Utopias have a responsibility to deal with every person individually. Every person has to be just as happy as every other person. But it's impossible to deal with every person in a Utopian fiction. Utopian fictions don't even deal with one person. They inject a stranger into Utopias and just kind of let them run around finding out how looney and different this world is than their own world -- generally, in this case, the world of fin de siecle Britain, which is one of the most stodgy environments in history.

So we never get portraits of a unilaterally satisfied toilet-cleaner, going from toilet to toilet, repeating the mantra, "There's no thing as undignified work, only undignified wages, gee-hyuck!" No, we never get that.

We never get the wife who had the misfortune of marrying the guy who has the vast collection of German porn hidden under the floorboards, and one day when he's out of town she calls in a repairman to fix the leaky pipes and he says, "We're going to have to rip up some of this groundwork." And then, after they're done having a passionate love-affair against the antique table that's been passed down from generation to generation (on the husband's side), the repairman actually gets around to putting circular saw to hardwood and...

We don't get people saying, "That fucking guy, there's no way that guy is smarter than me, why did he get an A on his paper and I got a B." (Not nearly enough rhyming in Utopian inner monologues.) Instead, we get third-hand reports from officials who toss off whole conceptual rubrics that don't even make any sense, like, "We only want those best suited to motherhood to be mothers, so if a woman can't hack it, we take her babies! She had her chance! She can't complain!"

This is the machinery of Utopia. Babysnatching. Suspiciously self-satisfied toilet-cleaning. Pervasive pornlessness. In fact, general Freudlessness. A total lack of sensitivity parading as perfect sympathy.

Staying up late at night to read these tracts and manifestos of bloodless, mild, ultimately bankrupt happiness is like being locked in a gym with your high school valedictorian. The one who opted out of any and all offered honors courses because they would bring down her GPA and keep her from getting into the private school that's named after the state you're from, except it has a directional epithet attached to the front -- East Montana, or Southwest West Virginia State, or North South Carolina of Ohio... Tech. And she just got engaged. She used to do sodomy because she thought if she just went "all the way" with her beau she would go to hell.

But she's not going to tell you that. Not in this gym.

She's going to tell you about how they've picked out a perfect set of doilies for their kitchen table -- it's an eat-in kitchen, you know, with a perfect little booth that replicates the feel of a 50s nostalgia diner! They were able to get just the perfect little suite from student housing because, you know, student housing saves the best suites for the people who are happily married and oh, it's fabulous, you really should try it some time.

You swear to god she says under her breath, I installed a virus on Kim's hard drive so it would crash the day the paper was due so she wouldn't get a better grade than me because the class was on a curve and she's smarter than me but she didn't deserve it because I worked so hard.

You say, What?


Put me in the gym, and lock the door. I'm off, once again, to try to tame the screeching Victorian demon that is Utopian fiction.

Note: I must be getting bored again. I'm turning back into an ironic pervert. What kind of a way to combat boredom is that, anyway? Ironography.

1 comment:

Sisyphus said...

I have one word for you, Dude: Schmoo.

"And why, Walter, would you be so obsessed with the Utopian potential of the Schmoo," asked Sisyphus as she paged through her copy of the Arcades Project. "Really, Schmoo? What's up with that?"

Answer this and you would have the utoptian-ly perfect Utopianism paper. Unless you're supposed to write something _dys_topic? Hmm.