The Ones Who Walk Away From Omelas–the story I could not get out of my head

A Cossetted Dystopia….

One day, In about, say, 1989 or so, my mother decided to get rid of items at Goodwill and I found my old Norton Anthology of Fiction in the pile sitting in the trunk ready to go. For some reason I decided to save it for awhile longer, maybe because of the very last story in the book, Those Who Walk Away from Omelas.  This story has been blogged a million times according to Google it seems, so let’s waste some more time and read another interpretation.

Ursula le Guin is a very prolific science fiction and fantasy writer since the 1960s.  No doubt many of her works are considered classics.  The tiny epistle that was at the very back of the old brown Norton Reader (same folks that bring you Internet Security) and is all I’ve ever read by her.

The story is about a vaguely utopian society set in Olemas (Salem, Oregon backwards, where the author has lived before) where everyone is happy and free except a single child that sits in a basement cell in filth, alone.  The misery of this child is what guarantees the happiness of the rest of Olemas.

Everyone must see the child at one point in their lives, usually at a young age.  Most feel sad but merely walk away and go on living–some may even sulk for awhile afterwards but get over it.  A few, a very few, walk away from Olemas–to never return.  The understanding of why Olemas  is “happy” disgusts and disillusions them to the point they can not keep on going living in Olemas.

Why the child (who must be periodically replaced from time to time as they die or are killed off) is never rescued by one of the defectors is never explained.  It is as if the defectores are upset at the situation but too selfish and fearful to do anything about it.  See: professional internet conspiracy theorists.  Have they ever saved anyone?

Ti’s are “the child” that sits in a dark room in complete isolation and misery.  We are the sacrifice to your (society) evil “gods” that keep the tottering shell of “society” going.  Someone must suffer for the happiness of others.

Ti’s therefore:

*Keep Dizzyland and Dizzyworld open

*Keep the fast food restaurants serving the slop that fattens up and shortens the lives of Olmensians.

We ti’s:

*Keep the mall open for your convenience 7 days a week

*Keep the endless “holidays” rollin’ for you to live it up with family and friends

*Keep the waterparks open and the chairlifts running.

*The bars and discos open all night

*The busses running and the trains (that always run on time) running.

*The planes flying all over the globe

*The huge blundering cruise ships sailing endless loops of the seas.

*The tourists travelling endlessly (for is not the WHOLE WORLD a tourist attraction now?)

*The grocery stores with thousands upon thousands of overpriced choices to endlessly feed Amerika OPEN ALL NIGHT for your shopping convenience.

*The Walmarts, the Targets (hahaha the irony), and the Kmarts running endless specials of Made in China goods produced by miserable captives of a different sort.

We also provide you with:

*Your 50 pairs of designer jeans, your 60 dresses, and 82 pairs of slacks (your mother had 3 pairs of pants)

*Your 100 t-shirts that show your boobs that you need so you won’t appear in the same thing twice.

*Your 200 dollar boots made of the softest leather, your 20 dollar lipstick and your 100 dollar contraption of tiny expensive cloth you call a bathing suit.

*Your beautiful leather jacket

*Your HUGE late-model SUV gas guzzler you fill up with 3 dollar gas all the time

*Your huge fancy flat screen Television where you watch and watch mind control programming

*Your huge oh so fancy megachurch complete with fancy megapastor or, if you want, a “classy” irreverent stylishly atheist rabbi.

*Your false sense of security occasionally bolstered by little pills when reality seeps in which it does from time to time to the everlasting inconvenience of all Olmesians.

We ti’s are the authors of your

*Jobs, where you get overpaid to spend all day at a desk gossiping with co-workers and playing video games and looking at porn.

*Your lovely cossetted over-accomplished children who flit from lesson to lesson only to become screwed up messes by age 14 or so.

*And…never forget the plastic surgeons when Father Time can be denied no longer.

*Don’t forget all the massages, steam baths, facials, mani and pedi cures!

We ensure your precious safety with

*Cameras, cameras, cameras everywhere with a few mikes thrown in to boot! (or jackboot).

*Tapped telephones, hacked computers and hacked brains…so nobody gets any nasty little thoughts.

*Police on foot, on horse, in cars, SUV’s, on bikes, motorbikes, and flying machines going through the air all the time for your protection! P.S. Let’s not forget the COPS riding in GOLF CARTS now and the little CERT volunteers on Public Transit along with guards with guns.

*Armed security guards posted in every business and every building in the city including on all the public transit and uniformed and un-uniformed guards and spies in the public libraries.

*Gated communities, guards, locks and card keys everywhere so the “other” cannot get in, unless you are ti–they get in then.

It must be lovely to live in Olemas with it’s Spring Festivals, Summer Festivals, Fall Festivals, Winter Festivals, etc and ad nauseum with a side of 20 dollar tapas and a “craft” beer and a damn Valium! Go put on your party clothes, the night is still young.

p.s. I found your sunglasses


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