Utopia & Dystopia
Perfect worlds are games to be played by following the rules to the letter.
Paul La Farge
More than a few years ago now, when I was living in San Francisco, I happened to walk by the office of a dot-com, a competitor in the online-pet-supply business, that had gone bust. It was midnight when I passed its brilliantly lit atrium, void of humans and furniture, except for a single desk where a night watchman sat looking dejectedly at the street. A huge white banner hung over his head, with red letters five feet high, spelling out THIS IS PETOPIA. I don't mean to be flip or to equate the company's marketing strategy with any genuine utopian impulse, but it did occur to me that the idea of utopia is strangely persistent. It crops up in all kinds of places; this was one of them. Even people who haven't read Sir Thomas More's 1516 Utopia, or any of the other books in the utopian tradition—which is to say,
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