Drugs and A Scanner Darkly

Aug 9, 17:48 by IROSF
Another thread for A Scanner Darkly, but this time with commentary on Miller's analysis.

The article can be found here.
Aug 15, 11:53 by Mike Emery
I thought the film very well done. It remained true to PKD's themes & is the most faithful film adaptation we may ever have of his work. Working out of the early 21st century, the filmmakers had to make adjustments to the story, but it has some elements that are accurate of the '70s as well. While watching it, I couldn't stop thinking of one of my favorite statements Dick made (I'm paraphrasing): "I'm not afraid of my neighbor, I'm afraid of my neighbor's lawn." In that spirit, it's no surprise that the film ends in a field of plants.
Aug 25, 16:28 by Michael Andre-Driussi
caricatures such as the brainy and kooky Jim Barris (Morton Downey Jr.),


I believe that should be _Robert_ Downey Jr.
Aug 26, 11:36 by Carey McGee
I believe that should be _Robert_ Downey Jr.

Yikes. Fixed.
Aug 29, 23:21 by Joe Prisco
How much funnier though, with Morton Downey Jr. ;-)

While we must cringe at all the supposed Dickian adaptations in recent years, I hadn't expected this one, and will check it out. Meanwhile, I thought TOTAL RECALL to be a fair adaptation (admittedly, I only read the short story after seeing the movie), and that the movie's additions had some of the spirit of PKD's work (e.g., the three-breasted barfly), if not quite his kind of ending.
Mar 22, 10:45 by Ryder W. Miller
They have made his work so full of explosions and chases, but his novels are far more sensitive. hifrommike65, great story.
Sep 12, 15:43 by D. Nicklin-Dunbar
A Scanner Darkly is less a cautionary drug tale and more a cogent exploration of the paranoia inherent in a society where one can never know who their accusors are. The twin devices of the scramble suit and remote audio/visual surveillance remove the right of the accused to face his accusor. Modern society, of course, already has one of these things.

While there are subtexts of caution against drug abuse (but not use), Substance D is merely Dick's device to allow the ultraparanoia of Arctor to develop. Arctor's absurd position can only occur because of the unique properties of Substance D, although the same effect could have been created by some other device. Dick's decision to make it a drug provided him with a ready made infrastructure of government to rail against.

That is Dick's main theme in A Scanner Darkly. The novel is neither pro-, nor anti-drug. It is anti-government (or at least the repressive elements of government). While Miller raises a number of interesting points in support of his thesis, I feel it his argument is misdirected.

A Scanner Darkly is frequently commented on as either a pro- or anti-drug novel, as is Stanislaw Lem's The Futuralogical Congress. Both novels deal primarily with the repression exercised by governments on their populace rather than drug use. I would recommend reading Lem's The Futuralogical Congress to anyone interested in a clearer understanding of the use of drugs as a device to allow commentary on governmental systems. Any reader of A Scanner Darkly will benefit from reading Lem.
Aug 19, 21:29 by Ryder W. Miller
Part of PKD's success is due to his exploration of the counter culture of the 1960's. A Scanner Darkly gave a twisted take on the future of the drug culture and law enforcement, but it also reflected the government oppression of his time. A Scanner Darkly is so effective because of people's interest and concerns about drug use.
Aug 24, 17:05 by Luke Jackson
Part of what Philip K. Dick so interesting is that he was so personally conflicted and contradictory. For example, some people identify him with the 60s counterculture, and he was paranoid about the FBI agents who came to visit him, but he was equally paranoid about Stanislaw Lem's invitation to travel to the Warsaw Pact countries, and provided that request to the FBI. He was much the same re drugs-- whereas many countercultural figures had a rather idyllic view of drug use, A Scanner Darkly represents the flip side of that coin and reveals the disaster it can wreak in people's lives.
   

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