People of my generation remember where they were when the news came of Kennedy’s assassination. (I was in 7th grade study hall.) Other traumatic public catastrophes would follow. Now we also remember where we were when we learned about the 9/11 attacks. (I was in the basement of Rincker classroom at Concordia Wisconsin, going to my English Lit. class where we were going to study Grendel’s attack on the Hall Heorot in Beowulf.) But JFK, for all of his faults that we learned about later, inspired an idealism that I can still remember to this day, an idealism that was shattered at his assassination and that received further shocks as the century wore on. Stephen King captures the feel of those times perfectly in his novel about time travel to stop Kennedy’s assassination, 11/22/63.
Huxley is associated now with New Age mysticism, what with his advocacy of Eastern religions and the use of LSD (which he wanted to take at the moment of his death). But he deserves to be honored for his dystopia Brave New World, which predicted the future more profoundly than George Orwell’s 1984. [Read more…]