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Rocky Horror Freely Essay, Research Paper

The Rocky Horror Picture Show, an instant cult classic from the 70’s. Documenting a “Sweet Transvestite’s” longing for the perfect lover, with no strings attached. Genetic Engineering along with lighting, a dark castle, and a few unorthodox love scenes made a few laugh, a few cry, and left many disgusted. Yet just how many sweet transvestites could there be in the world; certainly Aldous Huxley’s Brave New World’s idealized social and sexual interaction could have influenced this Transelvanian utopia, however odd it may seem. Also, the more we document the differences between Huxley’s creation and our world, be it in entertainment or real life the more similarities stand out. In regards to social interaction Huxley’s ideas coincide with present day existence, the explanations of physical lust, love, pure emotion, and scientific research that enhances and hinders all of these, best describe our society in media and real life.

One of humankinds’ most unique emotions, sympathy, is rarely shown in Huxley’s world. It seems that in this present day and age people are far less concerned with the well being of others. Death, the end of life as we know it concerns many when it pertains to them, however compassion is rarely given to the thousands who die daily. Unlike the ancient Egyptians who regard the dead with reverence, going as far as to preserve a body.

“To prepare the deceased for the afterlife during pharaonic times, funerary workers removed most internal organs, then sterilized the body and dried it by packing it-inside and out-with natron salts. About 40 days later the body was wrapped in linen stripes, placed in a series of wooden cases and an outer stone coffin, and laid in a crypt. The body faced east to greet the rising sun in symbolic rebirth.” {Webster 80}

In Brave New World the idea of death is of no interest, a distinctly far cry from the Egyptians careful packaging of a mere body, in fact it seems more of a curiosity than a doomed fate.

“A sudden noise of shrill voices made him open his eyes and, after hastily brushing away his tears, look round. What seemed an interminable stream of identical eight-year old male twins was pouring into the room. Twin after twin, twin after twin, they came–a nightmare. Their faces, their repeated face–for there was only one between the lot of them–puggishly stared, all nostrils and pale goggling eyes. Their uniform was khaki. All their mouths hung open. Squealing and chattering they entered. In a moment, it seemed, the ward was maggoty with them. They swarmed between the beds, clambered over, crawled under, peeped into the television boxes, made faces at the patients.” {Huxley 207}

This lack of feeling regarding death is by far one of the most outlandish ideas in the novel, but is our world all that different? After the Heaven’s gate mass suicide 39 religious followers were subjected to the harshest discrimination any group could endure, but these people could not defend themselves. In there final resting places they were photographed and displayed throughout the world as oddities, such as Linda dying in front of a group of youngsters. Shrouded by a triangular purple cloth, dressed alike, and carrying similar items{Miller} they were dismissed as another subject for comic relief. Many magazines interviewed Rio DiAngelo an ex-member of the cult, describing him as, “…the last insider; the survivor who knows what really happened in the weird world of Heaven’s gate.” {Miller 29}. Perhaps our questioning is more like the children in the hospital than we think, as the youths depart they exclaim, “Isn’t she awful?” {Huxley207}, regarding the Savage’s dying mother. Are our insults and childish taunts really that different from the adolescents in Brave New World when considering the death of human beings, these feelings about our demise show complete lack of emotion, and this is not the only place where lack of feeling is prevalent.

Marriage, a foreign word in the society that Lenina and Richard Marx live in, but would they have married in our world. They had no true love, but who needs love in this day and age to get married? After becoming intimate Lenina could have become pregnant, after all she was fertile. Not uncommon to our society, people are forced to marry after a pregnancy. Love is never a factor in Brave New World and that mentality is making itself known in our world today. However, the fact remains that without love there is a void in every one of us, attempts to fulfill that space with several sexual partners{Dixon} often leaves us feeling worthless. Many people in our society have now adopted the attitude of Huxley’s characters, ‘Love them and Leave them’. Yet some people in Brave New World do show weakness, Richard Marx feels a need for Lenina, as Lenina feels a need for John the Savage.

“This need to be valued, affirmed, cared for and understood appears on the day of birth and remains until the day of death. It is therefore a more constant drive than sex alone, yet often muddled with it. This search for love can drive some people to have more sexual partners but a far greater number have less…” {Dixon 3}

This ‘drive’ is what makes Lenina need John. Her idea of love is sex, therefore to show her love and adoration for John she proposes sex. John is far more conservative; he has been trained to view monogamy as the correct pathway in life, like our society advocates. Yet a chosen few have strayed, multiple partners, once nearly unheard of, sparks a mild fascination in most people today. Once again the consequences are usually not thought of until too late, multiple partners means multiple pregnancies. So, do the children of today receive as much care and schooling to get them by in life as the children of Brave New World?

Another aspect of the loss of love can be seen with the caretaking of our children. Huxley’s ideas make us cringe, how could potential mothers never conceive and be happy, and how could the society’s children live without mothers and be content. Yet the span of time that we leave our offspring is increasing. Day care, school, baby-sitters, and nannies all take away from the time the child would normally be with the parents, while the parents are busy working so they can support all the extra care their child now requires. Are the labs in Brave New World which teach their children everything they will need to know the next step in our civilization? It seems that Aldous Huxley has predicted our future family orientation. When eating dinner together will be a filthy idea and “Erotic Play”{Brave 29} is the accepted medium of family life.

Thoughts and ideas regarding sex before marriage have changed considerably since Huxley first wrote Brave New World. These sexual explorations were ridiculed and dismissed, where now more than 60 years later people take a step back to note similarities in sexual encounters. Although many young adults find sexual activity with many partners an interesting idea,{Dixon} many also believe there future husband or wife will have had few previous partners. Why does this double standard exist? Human nature relegates that when we find love it will be ours, monogamy is the underlying tone amongst 99% of marriages in America. Lenina and Richards Marx’s world is fueled by happiness, and keeping oneself satisfied attains this happiness{Dixon}. An important factor in all this is an abundance of sexual activity, why deprive oneself when it makes you miserable.

One of the most important discoveries of the twentieth century occurred not long ago. The distinction of taking this particular drug meant you were not only cured but now everyone knew you had erectile disfunction. Viagra, said to save failing marriages, better the sexual chemistry between two people, and make a man feel like a man. Thirty-six thousand prescriptions in the first two weeks on the market{Handy}. Might as well hand this stuff out along with your daily ration of Soma. Interesting facts regarding the price of Viagra, which is taken each time one wants to partake in the bedtime activity, can be found in most any HMO guide{Handy}. Does this mean that soon our insurers will be telling us how much sex is reimbursable, normal, or necessary? Will our HMO’s soon have control over recreational activities, will doctors soon be prescribing ‘feelies’ as treatment. Not only do men receive medical advice regarding procreation, but woman as well, birth control is not the only way to stop the childbearing process either. Lenina takes numerous medications to curb her urges for a child. Though she is one of the few females still fertile there are plenty of ways to stop her from becoming pregnant. The most important, simply making sure she is happy not being pregnant. Keeping Lenina and many others on Soma enables people to feel free and have fun. Having fun is valuable to everyone, from gamma to delta to alpha. The Brave New World citizens regard their Soma as gold, in much the same way ancient and modern societies regard olive oil.

“The Mediterranean world has regarded the olive as sacred for thousands of years. The ancient Egyptians credited the goddess Isis with teaching mankind its cultivation and uses. The Greeks believed that Athena, goddess of wisdom, bestowed the olive on mankind, thereby winning a contest among the gods for presenting the most useful gift.” {Zwingle 73}

Is Soma the gift that Ford may have bestowed upon his people, or just a scientific advance to keep people in check? Citizens are taught catchy phrases, “A gramme is better than a damn”, and given this chemical daily to keep them in a euphoric state, much like any drug of this day and age.

Brave New World is not only a direct mirror of our sexual interactions it also acts as a guide to many atrocities throughout our world. The majority of the populace is sterile, in an effort to control what types of people are put to work. From 1935 up until 1976 nearly 60,000 Swedes were sterilized. All of these considered, “…inferior, flawed by bad eyesight, having mental retardation, or ‘undesirable’ racial characteristics.”{Forced}. The government-enforced program began as a pursuit of eugenics, or a “movement to improve humanity by controlling genetic factors in reproduction”{Forced}. Most of these occurred during Nazi occupation, a time when many people were brainwashed by the German leader Adolf Hitler. Hitler, so obsessed with building up his Arian race had built a literal caste system with himself the Alpha male, and the minority Jews as worker Deltas. In The Communist Manifesto, Carl Marx attempts to create a utopia of happy, equal citizens, this will eventually backfire. Yet it gives Huxley a grand idea, that should everyone be happy, production would increase and corruption would fall. Not only does America reflect the ideas In Brave New World but Brave New World mirrors political ideas in the past. Yet political power usually creates unrest, so Huxley leaves people alone, to be happy, he uses science to hit them when they are most vulnerable, when they don’t yet exist. Gregory Mendell, the father of genetics{Shreeve}, for all our genetic research in this day and age he should be our Ford, our messiah. One of the most prominent ideas regarding their reproduction methods has to be test-tube babies. Once again Huxley must have looked into a crystal ball to predict the actual fertilization and development of a human in a plastic tube. Yet once again we meet with the wall of moral obligations that must be fulfilled, plastic tube replaces mother, erotic play replaces moral instruction, and sleep teaching replaces school. A few years ago using fertility drugs a group of septuplets were born, to a family with already one child. Is this the first sign of the future of mass-production mothers? Without regard to the mother’s health or the baby’s well being all seven survived luckily{Leo}. What will these parents do when the children grow; seven kindergartners, seven little campers, seven teenagers, seven college tuitions. Without the resources of the government how could one family deal with a virtual baby boom, both parents must work to support these children. Once again we are back to the disintegration of the family as a moral support unit due to lack of interaction.

Janet and Brad find out in The Rocky Horror Picture Show what the savage, John, discovers about his Brave New World, it is fast paced, emotionless, and machine-like. Something that our world is slowly but surely morphing into, it makes you step back and truly wonder if one hundred years from now everyone will be robotically happy. With the effects of Soma sounding very similar to other drugs in our country one must wonder when they will be legalized, when one day you may be stepping into a line for your daily ration of any number of hallucinogens. Perhaps Huxley has a grand idea after all, no worries, no fears, happiness, free to do as you wish because no other thoughts could enter your mind. Who was it that said, “Ignorance is Bliss”?

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