Hideout: Bibliodiscoteque #22
Philip K. Dick
“It reminds me of a headline that appeared in a California newspaper just before I flew here. SCIENTISTS SAY THAT MICE CANNOT BE MADE TO LOOK LIKE HUMAN BEINGS. It was a federally funded research program, I suppose. Just think: Someone in this world is an authority on the topic of whether mice can or cannot put on two-tone shoes, derby hats, pinstriped shirts, and Dacron pants, and pass as humans.”
- Philip K. Dick
On of the greatest casualties of this internet fad is the hard search. As a young, impressionable, college student, I traveled around the Lehigh Valley on my Saturday afternoons digging through every yard sale, used book shop, and antique store, on a single-minded quest for Philip K. Dick novels.
I got to know the area really well, met great people, and experienced life in a way most will not. Book collecting for me is not the simple act of trophy hunting, but a reason to be out and about. Certainly the wonderful world of the internet puts rare and low print books directly into my grubby greedy hands, but in the least personal way possible. There is no humanity to the web; despite the over abundance of social networking.
Philip K Dick’s legacy for humanity is a warning. His claustrophobic and dystopian futures are steeped in the paranoia of losing humanity at the sake of advancement. In Dick’s worlds androids flee at the promise of being shut down, wives prefer alien replicas of their emotionally detached husbands, histories we were sure of yesterday become questionable and we are all only apparently real.
In my favorite of Dick’s short stories, the fictional (as opposed to science-fictional) “Strange Memories of Death”, the protagonist ruminates about his insane neighbor known only as the Lysol Lady. She is an elderly woman who has made her world anti-septic to the point it kills her. Through this deconstruction of her insanity, Dick brings up Brenda Spencer (the 17 year old girl who shot eleven people) because, as the Boomtown Rats so eloquently sum up in their track “(Tell Me Why) I Don’t Like Mondays”, “I just did it for the fun of it. I don’t like Mondays. This livens up the day. I have to go now. I shot a pig. I think and I want to shoot more. I’m having too much fun.”
In the story, Dick deftly differentiates the motives of the insane as taking a more difficult path while deceiving themselves into believing it is the easiest. He writes:
“Brenda Spenser, for instance, could nave walked to the local supermarket and bought a carton of chocolate milk instead of shooting eleven people, most of them children. The psychotic person actually chooses the more difficult path; he forces his way uphill. It is not true that he takes the line of least resistance, but he thinks that he does. There, precisely, lies his error. The basis of psychosis, in a nutshell, is the chronic inability to see the easy way out. All the behavior, all that constitutes psychotic activity and the psychotic lifestyle, stems from this perceptual flaw.”
Sure the easy way is to kill everyone or make life completely sanitary, but the more you clean the worse the dirt comes out and through killing everyone, you gift the world with psychosis and inhumanity. Both separate us from the world.
Dick’s remedy is to be human. To suffer the outrageous slings and arrows, get dirty and be hurt. That sane way is the human way and that is the hardest part of living.
Rage Well, === Episode 22 – Philip K. Dick
- Atomic Garden – Bad Religion
- Let’s Go To Outerspace – Quadrajets
- 50, 000 Spaceships (Watching Over Me) – Groovie Ghoulies
- Flying Saucer Attack – The Rezillos
- Space Invaders – The Titty Twisters Orchestra
- Flying Saucers Rock ‘n’ Roll – Billy Lee Riley
- Martian Girl – Hysterians (music alley)
- Surfing Through A Creepy Castle Driving The Monkey To The Airport – MONSTERS FROM MARS
- Walking On The Surface Of The Moon – Wreckless Eric
- I Turned Into a Martian – The Misfits
- Stereo Sanctity – Sonic Youth
- Man in Space – Billy Collins
- Vampire Girls From Outerspace – Rumble Club
- Attack Of Robot Atomico – The Ghastly Ones
- (No One Likes A) Smart Arsed Robot – The Del Sonics
- Clones – Epoxies
- Happenings Ten Years Time Ago – The Yardbirds
- LSD - Go Devils
- Lutin Au LSD – Curlee Wurlee
- White Rabbit - THE OVALTINES
- Canonize Philip K. Dick, OK – World / Inferno Friendship Society
- The Great Atomic Power – Southern Culture on the Skids
88,4 MHz - Pi Radio