On Earth, a new ideology has been gaining popularity via social media. Fully Automated Luxury Gay Space Communism (FALGSC), it has memes, facebook groups, gifs, and in-jokes already, even if it doesn’t have a government under its banner. Variants of this new ideology include FAL-Queer Space Socialism, FAL-Queer Space Anarchism, the common thread being a utopian vision of an economy that is fully automated, liberating the populace from toil, with the material necessities redistributed to each according to their need, new and improved with the delicious icing of luxury and pleasure for all to top the cake.
Pony Golden, the Supreme Decorator of Planet Epsilon Geise, as the intergalactic FALGSC Dicatator/Decorator depicted in Episodes 4 & 5 of No One Receiving might be a fictional first. The only question is whether the fictional world he inhabits is utopian or dystopian.
After the Fancy Decorators movement overthrows the Supreme Austere Conservers (a group of aliens who hate Earth music so much they blow up the blue planet), the Decorators establish a hedonistic society of trash-worship, affordable condos on a mountain of marshmallow, a uniform of gold body paint instead of clothing (flashy, fabulous, and nude!), and endless stadium tours of Earth music for the masses. The Fancy Decorators take some inspiration from the Czechoslovakian rock underground that birthed the Velvet Revolution, mixing politics and rock music to disrupt the status quo. But the Decorators want more than Democracy. They want Décorocracy: decoration and luxury for all!
Fully Automated Luxury Communism isn’t a joke. Academics and cultural critics have been envisioning a post-scarcity, post-capitalist economy for some time now, and a non-fiction book on the topic by Aaron Bastani will soon be published by Penguin and Verso. The roots of the Gay/Queer, “Space” and anarchist versions of the concept are hard to peg down, and likely evolved organically through left humor memes. Queering the concept keeps individual rights and freedoms in the equation. And placing the utopia in space underlines the technological element. To obtain full automation + pleasure + luxury, not only bread but roses too, technology must be more advanced than the apps of the so-called sharing economy, and the so-called “AI” of brute-force supercomputing. The technology must be fit to sustain life in space, the final frontier.
In the fictional universe of No One Receiving, life under Pony Golden’s rule isn’t so bad. For Bobby, a disembodied AI born on Earth, programmed to serve merciless human masters and, what’s worse, need them emotionally, FALGSC means freedom from toil. Advanced FALGSC doesn’t need a thinking machine with no agency. The arrival of fully automated space technology means sentient beings are free to live as they please, for the most part. The Dictator Pony Golden gives Bobby (spoiler alert) a human body to inhabit and enjoy, and Bobby discovers the thrill of building his own identity by dressing how he wants to.
Sounds great, doesn’t it?
But the potential perfection of this political system is the very thing that makes it dangerous. A populace too happy may begin to take having everything for granted, and forget how to rebel when political norms are broken and dictatorship takes hold with a sickie sweet violence that drips slowly from the dessert tray until it rots the foundation of the house. Such is the case with Pony Golden, the Supreme Decorator of Epsilon Geise. Pony promises a hedonistic paradise for all, but the moment someone dissents and wants to wear clothes, refuses to play pop music, or questions his authority by refusing to indulge in deep pleasure, they are sent to the sausage factory. And only the sausages seem to mind.