Eerie Foresight

A passage from Alfred Bester’s The Computer Connection. The book was sci-fi, written 1974-5 and set in 2080:

The bods at Union Carbide, our local university, were mounting their ritual protest. It was the traditional daily rioting, with screamings, burnings, and killings. The only thing that changed was the cause… Jacy said he was going down to the campus to see if he could stop it. He was all for the kids’ goals but he didn’t like their methods.

“You don’t understand,” I told him. “They love their tradition of death and destruction. They don’t even ask what it’s for. They’re issued posters and scripts and then they have themselves an orgasm.”

The narrator and his buddies soon get to the university:

The campus was the traditional mess: missiles, lasers, firebombs, and burnings, so everybody was happy. They were chanting and shouting jingles. “One, two, three, four,” and something that rhymed with four. “Five, six, seven, eight,” and another rhyme with eight. They couldn’t go much higher because arithmetic was no longer compulsory.

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