Utopian on the Dole

An afternoon's reading of Bolo'Bolo by "P.M." leaves the reader wondering what the New York State Council on the Arts is doing giving public money to Columbia University to publish such books. A futuristic Utopian tract, Bolo'Bolo is as inane as it is self-indulgent. Its author, P.M., a slave to every cliche of the untutored stylist, boldly decries (a la Parisian literary theory) the "deal" the "Planetary Work Machine" has wrought upon us whilst it builds on "its inner contradictions to expand its control and to refine its instruments." Desperately, "every worker makes his or her own little extra-deal, depending on particular job and specific situation," but then all "has been standardized, rationalized, anonymized." What, alas, can be done? P.M. advocates the destruction of industry and the state through sabotage and violence.

The new order will lead to "direct relations of material exchange between farmers and city-dwellers," who will adopt a new language—"a strictly subjective . . . reality of dreams"— that P.M. has conveniently outlined in his (or her) text(e). The reader must wend his way through the twisted prose of "trico" and "taku," of "kana," "yalu," "pali," and "tega," each symbolic of the simplified transactions of the new age. P.M.'s cuneiform...

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