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Brave New World/1984 — The Sequel

In the drugstore today I noticed a new (to me at least) product. I had to look twice, but the second look con-firmed what it was: A home test kit for marijuana. 99.9% effective. Now that the parents are adequately neutralized with mountains of anti-depressants and other psycho-adjusters, tranquilizers, stimulants, sleeping pills, painkillers, etc., they now have a means of finding out if the kids are on drugs. Mr. Huxley, meet Mr. Orwell. The kit is promoted as a “deterrent.” A quick Google search reveals dozens of different brand names selling these kits, for pot, cocaine, and other “street” drugs.

“We have a hotline to the narco squad, Johnny. Here’s the jar, now let’s have your sample.”

Is it only a matter of time until over-the-counter tests are available for impure thoughts, bad feelings about elected officials or uniformed authorities, vegetarianism?

My experience with the fascisti on the internet forums has taught me that anti-war equals “anti-American.” Therefore, if we can develop a drugstore test that detects a longing for peace or disdain for war and militarism, we may be scant steps away from being once-and-for-all able to imprison pacifists for Thought Crimes against the state. Urine never lies!

But wait — what about an antidote? My urologist has a certificate from Pfizer, maker of Viagra, on the wall in his office. It must be just a coincidence that he inquires about my erectile capability every visit, because we wouldn’t want to think he’s pimping the drug for a corporate sponsor. We have boners in a pill, can patriotism enhancement be far behind? Loyalty suppositories?

“Men, do you fail to feel the thrill when the Star-Spangled Banner plays, or when a Sousa march blares out in the local pumpkin festival parade? Is your flag pin tarnished? Have you lost that tingling in your spine when Old Glory is hoisted aloft; is your hand-over-the-heart salute listless, not crisp and tight? Your worries are now over — with Blastemol, the guaranteed patriotic picker-upper. When you hear the national anthem you’ll feel ready to burst like bombs in the air, full to the brim with the nationalistic pride that is the birthright, the duty, of all Americans! Caution: may cause high blood pressure due to increased sightings of possible terrorists and liberals.”

I asked a pharmacist in Port Townsend, WA, how many people in the town, a reasonable enough microcosm of the USA, were on Prozac. He said, “A lot.” That was ten years ago and Americans are more medicated than ever now, on an ever-increasing cornucopia of chemicals. Is this related to the political climate? Is it coincidence that all the network news programs are sponsored almost entirely by pharmaceutical companies pushing new pills? I’d have to guess it is.

Congratulations, Mr. Huxley, Mr. Orwell. You were both right.

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