Monday Review: Bald New World
I’m a be honest here:
I’m not entirely sure what I just read.
Definitely a commentary on the evils of corporate culture and the paternalistic manner in which the majority of governments treat their citizens. And also on how horrifically, insanely vain most of us are, whether or not we want to admit it. How the things we think will equalize us actually serve, in reality, to divide us further. The fluidity of morality when what we want exceeds that which we already have.
I think the story is secondary. I think? Maybe?
Or maybe I missed something?
Why the Great Baldification? Why is losing one’s hair any worse than losing some other body part?
Personally speaking, my hair is one of the only aspects of my appearance upon which I fixate on a regular basis. It’s part of my identity. It’s something I can change that will return to original form (ish). I can use it to express myself, change the color or style, to make me more me. Many women (and men) I know feel the same way.
All of the aforementioned are within my control.
If I lost my hair, I would be devastated.
A leg can be lost in an accident (and please, don’t mistake my casual style for any sort of glibness. Losing a limb is a tragic and difficult thing) but hair… hair usually sticks around or, at the very least, grows back. Losing one’s hair before a certain age means something is inherently wrong with she who has lost: alopecia or cancer or one of a million other diagnoses.
Symbolically, then, for the majority to lose their hair means there is something wrong with the majority of us.
One would think something that affects the majority would normalize said occurrence. In the case of Bald New World, it merely serves to further stratify society: those who make the wigs vs those who don’t, those who can afford the best vs those who cannot, those who wear wigs vs those who tattoo, those who adorn their scalps vs those who remain bare headed (completely and literally).
Because, in the end, the majority of us are assholes.
Perhaps the only way to be free is to divest oneself of every last trapping of society, of all civility and civilization.
To have nothing. To expect nothing.
To return to our animal natures, the herd mentality.
And then what?
All of that said, I’m still not entirely sure what I read.
Would I recommend it? Yes? Probably? Maybe?
If for no other reason that I think this is one of those books people should read as part of a class or a group so as not to get swallowed, to understand more deeply and fully (I liked The Satanic Verses the first time I read it, but I didn’t fully understand it until I discussed it with others) and I’m curious as to what you all out there think.
The imagery is powerful, the concept is fascinating, and the writing itself is masterfully executed. The adjective “dystopian” often induces me to steer clear but, in this case, Liu has enough faith in his readers to trust they know what such societies are like and lets then participate in the reading by filling in their own blanks.
I am especially a fan of this last.
Reservations? All of the women are “simpering” (literally, I lost count of how many times Liu used the word) fuckwits with absolutely no redeeming qualities whatsoever. I can’t claim to actually have “cared” about the MC, though I was interested to see what happened to him in the way one rubbernecks on the freeway. The gear grinding about mid way through made me clench my teeth.
Hard to say for sure on this one. Reading it certainly isn’t a waste of your time. What you get out of this one is sort of up to you.
Somewhere between three and four fingers on the hand of glory, depending on the aspect being rated. Middle finger for the depiction of women.
Have you read it? What did you think?
Do you plan to? Why or why not?
Shout at me in the comments and let me know!