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Arthur Meiselman

2 Pickles and 20 Pieces of Garlic

There are, have been, and will be many books, paintings, films and box-tops about utopia, dystopia, human evolution, devolution and 'seeds in the universe'. Among all of these windows to our collective consciousness is Aldous Huxley's  Brave New World. With Brave New World Revisited (1958), he raised the alarm even higher.

He wrote:

    "In 1931, when Brave New World was being written, I was convinced that there was still plenty of time. The completely organized society, the scientific caste system, the abolition of free will by methodical conditioning, the servitude made acceptable by regular doses of chemically induced happiness, the orthodoxies drummed in by nightly courses of sleep-teaching – these things were coming all right, but not in my time, not even in the time of my grandchildren. "

And he wrote:

    "Twenty-seven years later, in this third quarter of the twentieth century A.D., and long before the end of the first century A.F., I feel a good deal less optimistic than I did when I was writing Brave New World. The prophecies made in 1931 are coming true much sooner than I thought they would. The blessed interval between too little order and the nightmare of too much has not begun and shows no sign of beginning. In the West, it is true, individual men and women still enjoy a large measure of freedom. But even in those countries that have a tradition of democratic government, this freedom and even the desire for this freedom seem to be on the wane. In the rest of the world freedom for individuals has already gone, or is manifestly about to go. The nightmare of total organization, which I had situated in the seventh century After Ford, has emerged from the safe, remote future and is now awaiting us, just around the next corner.

Someone (not Huxley) once said, "everything is 90% about sex and 10% about nothing else." Fair enough... better than if that were reversed. And if a part of Huxley’s nightmare is that 90% inundation, then the ‘pursuit and pursued’ is a bright-burning aspect.

In many countries, prostitution is legal. In many, it is "look-the-other-way" illegal. It's also evident that when prostitution is de-criminalized the crime by-product is virtually eradicated, just as de-criminalizing drugs eliminates the promotion of crime.

The American society learned this the hard way before it finally  made its No. 1 drug,  Alcohol... legal. It still finds it hard to practice what it learned. Pity it's roots in Puritan definitions of dirty and clean.

Pay-for-sex is almost as old in human history as the evolution of language. There are literally thousands of writings from ancient texts to contemporary commentary on the acts, commerce, morality and social impact of you get what you pay for, sexually speaking that is. It's all about sex, isn't it? No.

As our 'we' history evolved, a pyramid of classes developed. The broad base comprises the denizens of the street, the saloon, the club, the brothel, the telephone and the internet. At the top are the Courtesans, the Gigolos, the Mistresses and 'Manpanions', and maybe, the Concubines. Each group has its customs, its traditions, practices, rules and cultural brouhahas. Interesting (and titillating). After all, it's a big part of the 90%.

One of the relationships that intrigues me is between the very rich and the "hookers" that they buy. These "johns" (mostly men) can afford and keep the most exotic sexual trophies they can find. Yet many of them pursue the dangerous?, the unknown?, the ping-pong? of pay today gone tomorrow sex. And they generally run after it and catch it in both hooker-legal and illegal countries... with money-talks impunity. I wonder what the difference is between paying for sex and cheating on one's spouse, and cheating while not paying for sex? Pity the founding of the U.S. in Puritan definitions of dirty and clean.

The millionaire and those 50% below and certainly those above the seven-figure level can do whatever they want. That's an irrefutable historical fact. Are the hookers they pay top dollar for victims or criminals? Are the johns criminalizers or victimizers? Is sex good? Is monogamy healthy? Is marriage, gay, straight or otherwise, believable? Are the Christian bible, the Muslim koran, and the Jewish old testament the words of an angry alien in the sky or just the mutterings of disenchanted self-appointed moralizers and meddling printers' apprentices down through the centuries?

Today there are seven billion (and counting) answers to these poly-regurgitated questions. Who knows and why do they know?

I like to mull these conscious questions sitting under an umbrella in a warm pre-dawn rain, nibbling on a half-raw pickle and sauteed garlic cloves, washed down in heavenly fashion with a sliver of a glass of Prosecco. Among his many agonizing contradictions, Huxley was, above all, prescient and penetratingly perceptive. Here's to you, Aldous, and your grandfather and your brothers... high, high up on the human family tree.

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Arthur Meiselman is a writer and the Editor of Scene4. His latest books include The Lyriana Nocturnes and Of Modigliani in Midnight Mourning. He also directs the Talos Ensemble and produces for Aemagefilms.
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©2017 Arthur Meiselman
©2017 Publication Scene4 Magazine

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