Bongo Typology

A little dialogue on the three types of mutant from Children of the Void

"Tell us about type-3s," said the insatiable Sinta.

"Does any one mind our going over all this elementary business?" asked Emma Kadrina of the assembled company.

"Not at all," said Lehnya. "One needs to keep familiarising oneself with the concepts, and you pettes seem to do it better every time."

"Oh, thank you. Well, in that case, type-3s are type-3 mutants. All Pit-dwellers are mutants because they have all been strangely changed from the human beings they would have been if the Eclipse had not happened. They are deracinated, in short. But they differ in how far they are mutated; and, for convenience we divide them into three types, named, rather originally, Type-1, Type-2 and Type-3.

"Now the type-2 mutant is the average, no-frills bongo. The ordinary television watcher who has taken in all the nonsense of the Pit, dresses the way the Pit tells her to, but all in an average sort of way. She is not super-Pittish, just a passive receiver of all the propaganda.

"The type-2 is, as it were the central mutant. The ordinary Pit-product, and the other two types are, as it were, measured against her. The type-1 mutant is the mutant who has really not mutated very well at all. She is affected by the Pit, of course, as she has no intellectual protection against it, but as far as she can be, she is quite a lot the same person she would have been if the Eclipse had not happened. Older people often come into this category, and some less intelligent people, who really have not the brains to take in the propaganda. But there are a few young, intelligent type-1s who really just don't get on with the Pit and haven't ingested it very well. Type-1s tend to be rather passive, and not to have a conscious analysis of the Pit, only a sort of stolid, half-conscious refusal to accept its values. Many ordinary, decent well-educated people, especially those who retain a strong sense of family, are type-1s. But some type-1s are the sort of people most of us were before they entered Aristasia-very intelligent people with a real dislike of the ugliness and anti-romanticism of the Pit, who are looking for an answer to it. It is quite possible that people like us would have become type-3s if we were just a little less intelligent, and could not see through the falseness of the Pit's internal oppositions.

"Type-3s are at the opposite extreme to type-1s. They are the super-bongos. The ones who collaborate in their own mutation more than they need to, and adopt, willingly, the more extreme manifestations of the Pit disease. Obvious examples are the sort of people who tattoo themselves or pierce their bodies, radical 'feminists', hairy 'ecology' types, shaven-headed 'dykes', campaigners for bongo causes of all sorts, New Age types, people who attend Silly Monkey clubs, bongo-pop 'musicians', television producers, practitioners of alternative psychotherapy, and in general, all those specimens who look, think and sound just a bit more like people who could never have existed before the Eclipse than their neighbours.

They see themselves on the whole as being "rebellious" but it is important to realise that culturally they run the Pit. Not only "arty" cultural activities but virtually all cultural activities are dominated by type-threes. Television is made by type-threes for type-twos. That is why type-twos are degenerating so rapidly.

The thing to bear in mind here is that a certain number of these type-3s actually dislike the Pit quite a lot. They become what they are because they are falling into the trap of reacting against one tentacle of the Octopus by clinging more tightly to another. The whole point about the tentacles is that many of them are in phoney opposition to one another, and whatever aspect of the Pit you dislike, there is always another tentacle 'opposing' it: and the more 'rebellious' the tentacle, the more bongo and mutated it makes its victims. So type-3 girls can be potential Aristasians if one can unglue them from the particular Pit sub-cult they are involved in."

"Julie Leaver was like that in The Feminine RĂ©gime," said Lehnya.

"Yes, that's right. She was a typical type-3 who was so because she disliked the Pit and who turned into a very good Aristasian quite quickly. Janet was similar, only I suspect she was a bit of a mixture of type-1 and type-3, which sounds odd, but it happens. People who are fundamentally type-1 often latch onto some particular Pit-cult or tentacle for protection, or to find some sort of identity in their reaction against certain aspects of the Pit, and become type-3s, in most exterior respects, while still being type-1 at heart."

"Time now, ladies," cried Charmian.

"It seems strange," mused Lehnya, "that the more a girl rebels against the Pit the more Pittish she becomes."

"That," said Emma Kadrina, "is because the whole of the Pit is based on a sort of false rebellion. Setting oneself against authority brings about exactly the sort of atomised, anarchic mentality that the Pit is trying to induce. Because every rebellion against order is symbolically a rebellion against the Golden Order."

"But when the authority is a false authority, the 'authority' of the Pit itself--"

"Exactly. It is a double-bind of the most brilliant devising. Obey the Pit and you are obviously Pittish. Rebel against the Pit and you end up even more Pittish. You turn ito a type-3, which is exactly the sort of person the Pit is trying to create. Type-3s are much better than type-2s from the Pit point of view. Much more complete Pit-creatures."