Wednesday, March 06, 2024

Flow My Tears


Around the time of my infancy Phillip K. Dick determined that his favourite composer was John Dowland

Then on November 17, 1971 the music in his life was abruptly muted when his California home was broken into, his stereo stolen and his steel-plated filing cabinet relieved of its contents via the use of dynamite.

When he reported this rather brutal burglary to the police, their immediate response was like the title of this book, but in the sarcastic register. Treating him as a troublemaker, they advised him to leave town rather than open an investigation.

Dick immediately wondered what dangerous truths he might have inadvertently stumbled upon. Eventually he concluded that the problem was this very novel, which he had abandoned.

He recalled having recently discussed its premise with a random bloke who’d crashed at his place, this man having confided that the CIA were indeed looking into a pill that would catapult users into a reality in which they were completely disconnected.

When he’d started Flow My Tears…the author had thrown his celebrity protagonist Jason Taverner into a new day in which he found himself utterly forgotten. The mechanism for moving across to this alternative, authoritarian reality would turn out to be a rather nasty narcotic, but as Dick picked up where he’d left off, he was starting to think that the flip-side world had actually been hiding in plain sight. He might indeed have stumbled upon an alarming insight.

In their native environments totalist societies do ‘exactly what it says on the tin’. But in order to gain traction within the ‘liberal’ world, they tend to have to make use of cunning subterfuge.

‘Queers for Palestine’ is precisely the kind of absurdist role play which only makes sense in this export grade idiom of inversion, tailored for gullible westerners. Outside that protective bubble, it would be an open invitation to oppression. It’s more a trick of perspective than an acid trip.

Dick duly concluded that that Nixon was probably a communist sleeper agent.


No comments: