Sunday, May 18, 2008

PKD and Politics: The Simulacra

In The Simulacra, PKD takes on politics. The setting is the future political entity of The United States of Europe and America (USEA). In this future, the true leader is not the President, but the First Lady. Of course, she's a robot (or as PKD would have it, a simulacra). Every four years, the people of the USEA vote in a new husband for her, who becomes the President.

The Simulacra, once again, displays PKD's preternatural gift for describing the future accurately, especially the effect of television on the powers that be. However, in The Simulacra, the people can literally somewhat control what politicians will do or say by turning the knobs on their television sets. If enough of the people press certain buttons on their TVs then the politician will do what they command. 

The Simulacra is a wonderful metaphor for what is actually going on these days, and a nice prism through which to look at the current political situation.

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