The Congress

The Futurological Congress is very small book, so for this book adaptation they added 1 hour of meta-commentary on showbusiness and some kind of tugging at heartstrings, in case a bleak dystopia where the masses take soma to escape their crapsack worlds was not depressing enough.

Robin Wright is the Robin Wright, from Forest Gump and The Princess Bride. She’s over forty now, so the roles dried up. The head of Miramount (not Miramax, not Paramount), Harvey Weinstein with another name but the same sleaziness, gives her an offer she can’t refuse: selling her soul to the devil, in exchange for unspecified cash. Her looks and personality are scanned into a computer, she is barred from acting ever again, and the studio can put her in any film whatsoever, without her involvement. She tells her that she rather fuck him than do it, apparently a common tit-for-tat for this specific producer.

She then sniffs some kind of soma that turns her into an animated character, like one of the old Fleischer cartoons. Many other references are dropped. This is a trippy segway into the Futurological Congress plot itself. The bossman addresses an ecstatic audience with news of a better soma, then gets assassinated, and an hallucinogenic gas is released into the hotel. Eventually, our protagonist (still Robin Wright) finds out her animated world is a kind of shared consensual hallucination by the masses, as escapism for the bleak and depressing lives they live. Her new fuck buddy gives her a new drug that shows her the “real world” as it is. It’s so bad, she gets back into The Matrix, as if Cypher was right.

If the big revelation was that the world was a drug-fuelled trip, does she really believe yet another drug can show her the real world? In the book, all drugs had erudite names, like uncompromil and rebellium for young punks, brahmanox, apocryphyll, sacrosanctimonium for faith-giving, or dehallucinides to take the edge off. How does she know she’s not fed depressium or nihilium to get her back in the dope train?

This was a couple of years before all the brouhaha about old Harvey jerking off into potted plants was all over the news. I would bet many people involved here had pure, unadulterated access to his private moments. Yuck!


This is my place for ramblings about sequences of images that exploit the human visual limitation know as persistence of vision.

Ephemera of Vision