Tuesday, January 29, 2008

Hippie Days Are Here Again

Over in the Creative Writing forum on PPMB has appeared the newest segment in a great old tale: Roentgen's "New Drum, Same Tune," begun in 2005. (Profuse thanks to Scissors MacGillicutty for posting the new material.) This intriguing alternate universe assumes that Jake and Helen stayed hippies from the late 1960s into the late 1990s. As a result, the older Morgendorffers are burned out from drug use, hiding from the law (they sell the drugs they don't use), and barely have two nickels to rub together. That last bit is the pivot on which the AU turns: a severe change in socioeconomic status. These Morgendorffers have survived at the poverty level for years, are at the poverty level now, and will likely remain at the poverty level for years to come.

What makes this especially interesting is that in canon both Helen and Jake held left-wing political views in their hippie days, believing a great class struggle exists between capitalist haves and repressed proletarian have-nots (per the numerous references and flashbacks to their college days presented in "College Bored," "The Teachings of Don Jake," "That Was Then, This Was Dumb," and "Sappy Anniversary"). Helen once even gave Jake a copy of Marx's Das Kapital. The story brings the Morgendorffers full circle in their politico-economic philosophy: They are now the underclass, paranoid about "The Man" and refusing to engage with the greater society.

In a sense, "New Drum, Same Tune" spins off from the meeting between the Morgendorffers and the Yeagers in "That Was Then, This Was Dumb." The leftover-hippie Yeagers were finally won over to the Morgendorffers' modern views on Darwinian capitalism. Here, the enormous consequences of Jake and Helen keeping their old lifestyle are made plain . . . and Daria and Quinn must pay the price.

In the TV series, Daria proved that some of her parents' leftist class-vs.-class philosophy had rubbed off on her when she began to criticize Tom Sloane essentially for being rich. I had some trouble imagining anyone but Daria even thinking of doing such a thing. Isn't hunting for rich guys what most stereotypical girls want to do? The Daria in Roentgen's story might of sheer necessity have a different view, as the threats to her own health and well-being (not to mention her dreams of college) have clearly made her less interested than in canon in the welfare of others, who must fend for themselves in a dog-eat-dog world just as she does.

I look forward to more of this story, with its twisted AU twist. It'll be interesting too to see how Quinn claws her way out of poverty. Wonder where Rita and Amy are. Hmmm.

1 comment:

The Angst Guy, elsewhere, said...

No comments from the peanut gallery? Hmmm. Well, anyway, I do want to blog about some stories that catch my attention. I realized that most of my posts on PPMB/SFMB were of the "woo-hoo!" variety that don't say much, so I thought I could do better by making longer blogs about fewer stories. I do read the stories and love it, just want to avoid sounding like too much of a nutbar.