Over the festive season the blogsphere has been awash with happy feelings about the Time Magazine Person of the year – YOU.   Many bloggers have given themselves a 2.0 pat on the back.   I got that warm glow too, but then I felt  a little uneasy about it.  It felt a little “Brave New World” for my liking, but I wasn’t sure how to blog it.

I came across this post on Furious Seasons today via Nick Carr’s blog.  Nick called it a fine rant.

Read it.  I wish I could have written it…

This yearning we’ve got nowadays to be actualized through an idealized self that isn’t real at all, but that everyone thinks is real!, is pervasive and so deeply-enmeshed in our culture and who we are that I don’t even need to cite my sources—and to the point where Time magazine, as you no doubt know, has dubbed it all a social good, a flowering of democracy, and named the You of the Web 2.0 as its “Person of the Year.” (Apparently, reality took the year off—or is meta-reality, watered-down and flattened, the new reality?) I think that the social networking, YouTubery and such has its place and its uses (duh!). But the problem with it is that when real people (the flesh and blood ones) learn that they are nothing close to their hyper-idealized selves (and they will find out), then look out. Depression. Anxiety. Here come the SSRIs. This culture we have created makes us suckers for the quick fix—or, tragically, the quick end—because we are so desperate to see ourselves and our new next best friends in our perfect false world that we will take anything to get back to that sweet spot of self-actualization. We will do anything, except for the psychological grunt work that is truly required for any anti-depressant to be worth a shit in the first place.

I suppose it is odd to use Wikipedia to look up a quote for a post that dares to question omnipotence of  “you” but I have been called confused before.

Social Critic Neil Postman contrasts the worlds of 1984 and Brave New World in the foreword of his 1986 book Amusing Ourselves to Death. He writes:

What Orwell feared were those who would ban books. What Huxley feared was that there would be no reason to ban a book, for there would be no one who wanted to read one. Orwell feared those who would deprive us of information. Huxley feared those who would give us so much that we would be reduced to passivity and egoism. Orwell feared that the truth would be concealed from us. Huxley feared the truth would be drowned in a sea of irrelevance. Orwell feared we would become a captive culture. Huxley feared we would become a trivial culture, preoccupied with some equivalent of the feelies, the orgy porgy, and the centrifugal bumblepuppy. As Huxley remarked in Brave New World Revisited, the civil libertarians and rationalists who are ever on the alert to oppose tyranny “failed to take into account man’s almost infinite appetite for distractions.” In 1984, Huxley added, people are controlled by inflicting pain. In Brave New World,  they are controlled by inflicting pleasure. In short, Orwell feared that what we hate will ruin us. Huxley feared that what we love will ruin us


Huxley got the title from the Shakespeare’s Tempest.

“O wonder!

How many goodly creatures are there here!

How beautious mankind is!

O brave new world,

That has such people in’t!”

My first  new year’s resolutions is to read Brave New World again.  Second one is to  hug a journalist.


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6 thoughts on “You……bumblepuppy”

  1. Thomas you are quite clever but I think your priorities are a bit out of whack. Even though Brave New World is a quick read, I would make hugging a journalist my number one priority

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