But the new ones are so stupid and horrible. Those plays, where theres nothing but helicopters flying about and you feel the people kissing. He made a grimace. Goats and monkeys! Only in Othellos words could he find an adequate vehicle for his contempt and hatred.
Nice tame animals, anyhow, the Controller murmured parenthetically.
Why dont you let them see Othello instead?
Ive told you; its old. Besides, they couldnt understand it.
Yes, that was true. He remembered how Helmholtz had laughed at Romeo and Juliet. Well, then, he said, after a pause, something new thats like Othello, and that they could understand.
Thats what weve all been wanting to write, said Helmholtz, breaking a long silence.
And its what you never will write, said the Controller. Because, if it were really like Othello nobody could understand it, however new it might be. And if it were new, it couldnt possibly be like Othello.
Yes, why not? Helmholtz repeated. He too was forgetting the unpleasant realities of the situation. Green with anxiety and apprehension, only Bernard remembered them; the others ignored him. Why not?
Because our world is not the same as Othellos world. You cant make flivvers without steeland you cant make tragedies without social instability. The worlds stable now. People are happy; they get what they want, and they never want what they cant get. Theyre well off; theyre safe; theyre never ill; theyre not afraid of death; theyre blissfully ignorant of passion and old age; theyre plagued with no mothers or fathers; theyve got no wives, or children, or lovers to feel strongly about; theyre so conditioned that they practically cant help behaving as they ought to behave. And if anything should go wrong, theres soma. Which you go and chuck out of the window in the name of liberty, Mr. Savage. Liberty! He laughed. Expecting Deltas to know what liberty is! And now expecting them to understand Othello! My good boy!
The Savage was silent for a little. All the same, he insisted obstinately, Othellos good, Othellos better than those feelies.
Of course it is, the Controller agreed. But thats the price we have to pay for stability. Youve got to choose between happiness and what people used to call high art. Weve sacrificed the high art. We have the feelies and the scent organ instead.
But they dont mean anything.
They mean themselves; they mean a lot of agreeable sensations to the audience.
But theyre theyre told by an idiot.
The Controller laughed. Youre not being very polite to your friend, Mr. Watson. One of our most distinguished Emotional Engineers
But hes right, said Helmholtz gloomily. Because it is idiotic. Writing when theres nothing to say
Precisely. But that requires the most enormous ingenuity. Youre making flivvers out of the absolute minimum of steelworks of art out of practically nothing but pure sensation.
The Savage shook his head. It all seems to me quite horrible.
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