Saturday, November 8, 2014

Transfer to a brave new world

I was going through some of my father’s old books and came across this copy of Brave New World with a '70s TTC transfer stuck between pages 78 and 79.
My father went to university later in life than most students. I was a preteen at the time, and he thought it was fine to pass on some of his books for me to read when he was done with them. In retrospect, I seemed to travel from Beatrix Potter to The Hardy Boys to Brave New World pretty fast. I don’t know if it was all for the good, but that’s what happened. He may have thought Brave New World was an antidote to the trashy science fiction I was reading. If so, he was right, although I can’t remember exactly what I thought of Brave New World back then. I suspect most of what it had to say was lost on me. But, as an adult, it’s frightening and prescient. Today we’re more-or-less living it. Check out this exchange between Bernard and Lenina from the top of page 79 where the transfer was wedged,

"Don't you wish you were free, Lenina?"
"I don't know what you mean. I am free. Free to have the most wonderful time. Everybody's happy nowadays."
He laughed, "Yes, 'Everybody's happy nowadays.' We begin giving the children that at five. But wouldn't you like to be free to be happy in some other way, Lenina? In your own way, for example; not in everybody else's way."
"I don't know what you mean," she repeated.

If you’re reading this post on a TTC bus, streetcar or subway right now, stop and download a copy of Brave New World and read something better.

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