F.R. Duplantier reporting Behind The Headlines
Week of:
September 3, 2000
Wake Up! You're Having a Nightmare



F.R. Duplantier

by: F.R. Duplantier

Three new books examine the nightmare culture that has characterized the Twentieth Century.



BOOMER ANGST
They'd prefer that it not be recalled
How their youthful behavior appalled:
"Trust none over thirty,"
Roared the young and the dirty,
But that was before they went bald.

In the preface to the newly released paperback edition of his 1993 book, The Dream and the Nightmare, Myron Magnet describes how "America tried its grand experiment with the elite cultural values of the 1960s. It loosened its crime and welfare policies," he observes, "it had its fling with the sexual revolution, it remade its mores from top to bottom, it instituted affirmative action, it turned its universities into academies of the new culture. In due course all this produced real-world consequences, plain to see," says Magnet: "cities made unlivable by the crime, incivility, and squalor generated by the underclass and the homeless; children damaged when the 'if it feels good, do it' ethos broke up their families. . . ." The "dream," in short, became a nightmare, one from which we're just now emerging.

In Monsters from the Id, E. Michael Jones traces the development of the horror story from its earliest incarnations in the novels Frankenstein and Dracula to its modern and postmodern manifestations in films like The Forbidden Planet, Them, The Body Snatchers, Psycho, and Alien. Jones interprets horror stories as "protests against the Enlightenment's desacraliza- tion of man." If man has "no transcendent purpose," he stipulates, "then he can do with his body what he wants. But, if he can use other bodies in that fashion, then other bodies can use him. And so the transformation of man into a machine -- that is, sexual liberation -- is quickly followed by terror."

All totalitarian societies exhibit "hostility to the autonomy and dignity of the individual human being," declares Tzvetan Todorov of the National Center for Scientific Research in Paris. "Autonomy and dignity are experienced when one behaves according to one's own decisions and will," he explains in the introduction to Voices from the Gulag, a collection of reminiscences from the victims of Bulgarian Communism. "Our sense of dignity is founded upon the interpretations we offer for our acts, and our very humanity begins with the possibility to refuse, to resist, to say no. Yet everything about a totalitarian society," says Todorov, "aims to prevent the individual's autonomy. . . . In a totalitarian world," he emphasizes, "the most highly rewarded of virtues is docility, and the least tolerated of principles is liberty."

THE LIKENESS MONSTER*
How grim is the socialist plan
To create a new socialist man,
Who'll be malleably meek
And in no way unique
In a world that is hopelessly bland.


* from Politickles: Limericks Lampooning the Lunatic Left
by F.R. Duplantier (Merril Press, 2000),
available at Amazon.com and other online locations.

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