jag läste ut en dystopisk bok

"How much misery," Crake said one lunchtime - this must have been when they were in their early twenties and Crake was already at the Watson-Crick Institute - "how much needless despair has been caused by a series of biological mismatches, a misalignment of the hormones and pheromones? Resulting in the fact that the one you love so passionately won't or can't love you. As a species we're pathetic in that way: imperfectly monogamous. If we could only pair-bond for life, like gibbons, or else opt for total guilt-free promiscuity, there'd be no more sexual torment. Better plan - make it cyclical and also inevitable, as in the other mammals. You'd never want someone you couldn't have."
"True enough," Jimmy replied. Or Jim, as he was now insisting, without results: everyone still called him Jimmy. "But think what we'd be giving up."
"Such as?"
"Courtship behaviour. In your plan we'd just be a bunch of hormone robots." Jimmy thought he should put things in Crake's terms, which was why he said
courtship behaviour. What he meant was the challenge, the excitement, the chase. "There'd be no free choice."
"There's courtship behaviour in my plan," said Crake, "except that it would always succeed. And we're hormone robots anyway, only we're faulty ones."
"Well, what about art?" said Jimmy, a little desperately. He was, after all, a student at the Martha Graham Academy, so he felt some need to defend the art-and-creativity turf.
"What about it?" said Crake, smiling his calm smile.
"All that mismatching you talk about. It's been an inspiration, or that's what they say. Think of all the poetry - think Petrarch, think John Donne, think the Vita Nuova, think..."
"Art," said Crake. "I guess they still do a lot of jabbering about that, over where you are. What is it Byron said? Who'd write if they could do otherwise? Something like that."
"That's what I mean," said Jimmy. He was alarmed by the reference to Byron. What right had Crake to poeach on his own shoddy, threadbare territory? Crake should stick to science and leave poor Byron to Jimmy.
do you mean?" said Crake, as if coaching a stutterer.
"I mean, when you can't get the
otherwise, then..."
"Wouldn't you rather be fucking?" said Crake. He wasn't including himself in the question: his tone was one of detached but not very strong interest, as if he were conducting a survey of people's less attractive personal habits, such as nose-picking.
Jimmy found that his face got redder and his voice got squeakier the more outrageous Crake became. He hated that. "When any civilization is dust and ashes," he said, "art is all that's left over. Images, words, music. Imaginative structures. Meaning - human meaning, that is - is defined by them. You have to admit that."
"That's not quite all that's left over," said Crake. "The archeologists are just as interested in gnawed bones and old bricks and ossified shit these days. Sometimes more interested. They think human meaning is defined by those things too."
Jimmy would like to have said
Why are you always putting me down? but he was afraid of the possible answers, because it's so easy being one of them. So instead he said, "What have you got against it?"
"Against what? Ossified shit?"
"Nothing," said Crake lazily. "People can amuse themselves any way they like. If they want to play with themselves in public, whack off over doodling, scribbling, and fiddling, it's fine with me. Anyway it serves a biological purpose."
"Such as?" Jimmy knew that everything depended on keeping his cool. These arguments had to be played through like a game: if he lost his temper, Crake won.
"The male frog, in mating season," said Crake, "makes as much noise as it can. The females are attracted to the male frog with the biggest, deepest voice because it suggests a more powerful frog, one with superior genes. Small male frogs - it's been documented - discover that if they position themselves in empty drainpipes, the pipe acts as a voice amplifier, and the small frog appears much larger than it really is."
"So that's what art is, for the artist," said Crake. "An empty drainpipe. An amplifier. A stab at getting laid."
"Your analogy falls down when it comes to female artists," said Jimmy. "They're not in it to get laid. They'd gain no biological advantage from amplifying themselves, since potential mates would be deterred rather than attracted by that sort of amplification. Men aren't frogs, they don't want women who are ten times bigger than them."
"Female artists are biologically confused," said Crake. "You must have discovered that by now."

Hur hemsk den än var, hur deprimerad den än gjorde mig, så var den åtminstone otroligt intressant. Gav mig mycket att tänka på.
Oryx and Crake av Margaret Atwood.


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