Tuesday, September 13, 2005

The Ten Stupidest Utopias! | Strange Horizons Articles

A good read looking at ten of the more interesting notions people have had of what constitutes a perfect world, from the elitism and mysoginy of Plato's Republic to the unbridled disappointment of the Internet.

""Over the next decade, computer networks will expand their bandwidth by factors of thousands and reconstruct the entire US economy in their image," wrote George Gilder, the right-wing Timothy Leary of the Internet boom, in 1994. "TV will expire and transpire into a new cornucopia of choice and empowerment . . . Hollywood and Wall Street will totter and diffuse to all points of the nation and the globe. . . . The most deprived ghetto child in the most blighted project will gain educational opportunities exceeding those of today's suburban preppie." Instead, within ten years the hallucinatory hype ended in a wave of lay-offs, litigation, and consolidation of media ownership. Today the Internet looks less like utopia and more like a battlefield that reflects all the conflicts of the real world."

Strange Horizons Articles: The Ten Stupidest Utopias!, by Jeremy Adam Smith

A lot of these notions, while not necessarily new to me, were interesting to get some background and another perspective on.

Also by the same author, and even more fun to read (by definition), is

The Ten Sexiest Dystopias

Looking through the idea of Christian Hell through Las Vegas to the movie The Matrix and the game Grand Theft Auto: Vice City, these seemingly desparate places all have one thing in common; they plug in to fantasies of what's most base in people.

"Sure, the Matrix is a simulacrum of our dystopian contemporary world—but it is simultaneously an animistic and magical realm, a Gnostic daydream where each of us may transcend the limits of our bodies. Take a red pill, and hey, you can do physics-bending Kung Fu. You also get, as a special bonus, an unlimited supply of cool weaponry and black leather clothes. You'll look great, and you can wreck sports cars and kill with impunity."

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