Wednesday, April 7, 2010

I've felt for a long time that people in the US get too uppity when it comes to certain aspects of communal thinking. Some things that happen regularly here might seem rather Orwellian to a majority of Americans... and probably most of Western Europe.

Many of the aspects of the beginning of the new school year have reminded me of what a strange place this is, and illuminated certain value differences between here and my home. I drove to school yesterday surprised dozens of uniformed men and women at every intersection on our small town main street. I can't say whether the purpose of their presence was more about safety or simply the idea that this was an important day. The town speaker system was also in use. I can never understand it well, its usually spoken in a way beyond my normal range of politeness, but it must have been asking the citizens to watch out for students on their way to school. The speaker system is usually used exactly twice a day monday through friday to announce the departure of students from schools (once for elementary and once of middle); it was a special day indeed. The feeling you get of first hearing this extremely polite woman's voice echoing off the hills surrounding Akan is quite odd, it was creepy exactly just very different.

I think the notion of dystopia is quite different here. I'm not quite sure what it is, but it is not a fear of being told what to do. Taking a quick tally, it seems to be a universal theme in dystopian literature. This needs a lot more looking into, but I think an ultimate fear here is isolation and disconnection. The voice echoing through the town, telling you what to do isn't so bad.

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