Never Let Me Go depicts a dystopia of England’s past. An imagined one, as distinct from the dystopias actually lived there over the last century and right up to the present.

In the film, the young people, to the extent that they are viewed as people, exhibit a sexlessness. The picture makes this characteristic overt enough that you could probably talk about it over coffee after seeing the movie, assuming you still had any will to live at that point given what happens. Christopher Hitchens once witnessed an actual state-sanctioned execution, which he said “unmanned” him. Though that happened in his beloved United States and the movie happens in England, I appreciate that one is supposed to be appalled to the core at the inhumanity of which the British have always been capable.

What I doubt anyone else will bother talking about is the complete lack of masculine characteristics among the boys, and how this may be a harbinger of the future.

In screenshots, well-dressed young adults sit shoulder to shoulder or peer shoulder to shoulder through a shop window

A lack of masculine characteristics manifests itself as an affect largely indistinguishable from feminine characteristics. The Venn diagram overlaps considerably, as it does with a conceptually distinct circle, that of human characteristics. But it really is three circles, not one.

These kids slot themselves down right next to each other like month-old puppies (or Gaysians on the subway – observe for yourself). There’s no effort to assert personal space. There truly aren’t any differentiating features, save for wardrobe, that identify boys or girls. As befitting their role in the story, they are interchangeable. And, on the whole, they are happy with their lives.

This is indeed the future I see for today’s children aged ten and younger. Their hovercraft mothers, their teachers (easily four out of five, and essentially all those teaching Grade 5 and lower), their university TAs, and their office-job bosses will be female. Except for tough dykes and trannies, girls and young women will flourish in this environment, which will view as natural the suppression of instinctual male differences. Those will be sanded down to a glossy shine so that boys and young men will look, talk, act, move, and behave like women – not, I clarify again, like people generically conceived.

They’ll view each other as equal in every way and will be proud of having many friends of the opposite sex and of any sexuality. Having spent no time alone or disconnected save for actual sleep, they will hunt in gumtoothed packs and crowd themselves into restaurant booths and the like as though they were conjoined.

And nobody, at all, will think anything is wrong with this outcome, because it just stands to reason that the way women look, talk, act, move, and behave is better. Except for those of us who think it sometimes isn’t. How beastly of us, you might say. But in Never Let Me Go, yesterday’s models of future comportment are clones we cut up for their organs. Quite possibly the whole thing, whatever the era, is something to be avoided.

The foregoing posting appeared on Joe Clark’s personal Weblog on 2011.06.14 16:32. This presentation was designed for printing and omits components that make sense only onscreen. (If you are seeing this on a screen, then the page stylesheet was not loaded or not loaded properly.) The permanent link is:

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