Morning Thoughts with One Flew Over the Cuckkoo’s Nest

The country home accepted our offer, even stated they would let us rent or occupy in the interim of the loan being finalized, while we make necessary improvements if needed. Now we just have a house to sell. Feeling good about that. Woke up with headache. It gets in my eyeballs, cold pressure helps. So does thinking through it.

Reading Ken Kesey’s “One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest, great book, scary as shit really. One of my deepest fears is being institutionalized, committed, held against your will, for being a little weird. I saw the movie when I was younger loved it then. The book is even better I think. I note when I read it how well they movie captured the genius of the prose. I wondered about that because I’d heard beforehand it was written from the Indian’s perspective. As an author I note how brilliantly this works in the novel, offering another space and time away from the institutional setting. Got to get outside, ain’t that the truth?
As a kid I saw it as a heroic tale, much like I assumed the heroic elements of the counter culture at first. Nurse Ratched, greatest character name ever, was the enemy. McMurphy (Nicholson) was the hero/anti-hero disturbing and over turning the oppressive social order. Only in adult times though, would it all sort of change. Of course all these details are there obvious to Kesey and his contemporaries, but not to twelve year old me in 1994. The book is an allegory, in the vein of Orwell’s Animal Farm, but also a product of the author’s time as an “orderly” at Menlo Park, California, psychiatric facility.

The first aspect opens the reader up to the question, whose running things, to what end, and how the fuck do we get off this farm? Answer, you can’t and you don’t want to. You just want to play a game. The second aspect is even more disturbing in light of Kesey’s connection to Mk-ultra programs and the powerful hallucinogenic drug LSD. In the book the specter of electric shock therapy is being supplanted by a fog of narcotics, which interestingly enough mirrors what’s taking place in the broader social situation. It’s worth noting on the surface Kesey’s book is given some credit in changing the common perspective towards crazy people and their confinement, the book in fact is a reaction to that movement itself and a deep, deep, indictment of it.

The label “conspiracy theorist” has lost its power to dismiss. I think the current presidential debacle has even the most level headed, scratching their heads and saying this is ugly. We don’t like to consider things like “the combine” and “social programming” but these things are real. Prozac. Ritalin. Valium. Morphine. These are the little knobs that Nurse Ratchet is turning trying to engineer her, and really the combine’s perfect world. We don’t like to think about it. Leave the little wizard behind his curtain he’s not hurting anyone, we like to think. The medicine cans make us a feel better, and two hots and a cot, better then nothing right? Makes me think of that Bullet With Butterfly Wings line, “despite all my rage, I am still just a rat in cage.” You can fight, but it’s a Chinese finger trap, you self exclude or your surrender, you will not change it.

So they say. Pay attention. It’s up to you. I think there are ways to fight it. Not the sort of thing you would just piddle out on the internet, I imagine. Maybe. You know they read it all, got cybertronically enhanced super-apes reading it in the basement of the Pentagon. They feed them nothing but Dubstep, Monster energy drinks, and Krispy Kreme doughtnuts. Random closing thought, Billy Corgan looks like a rehabbed, “found myself in middle-age” Voldemort. (11:30AM)

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2 thoughts on “Morning Thoughts with One Flew Over the Cuckkoo’s Nest

  1. I think I read a play version of that when I was acting in college and yes, I recall it was from the Indian’s POV. Congrats on the house situation! That’s huge! HUGE. Didn’t know it was an allegory, that’s cool. I have Animal Farm on my list, having read 1984 for the first time earlier this year, and had my mind blown by it. Good timing to read that, now. Probably always good timing.

    1. yeah I don’t know if Kesey meant it as a strict allegory, but it reads like that, characters and scenes having that poignant archtypal association. Finished the book last night, and then watched the presidential debate. Lots of dialogue was going between those two things. Saw strong allegory in that, Nurse Ratched/Clinton/the Combine vs. Trump/McMurphy/”individualism”. And just like the book, neither side really feels all that great. The Indian way, i.e. fleeing the reservation, seems to be the only way to go, to my mind (obviously since I’m packing my clan of seven up and moving them into a dilapidated 1900s farmhouse).

      Yeah, the house moving is going to be crazy and exciting. I’m especially excited to share that part of the journey on here with fine folks like yourself.

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