Bad Readers Reviews: "Hystopia" and American Conspiracy Theories

Bad Readers Reviews: "Hystopia" and American Conspiracy Theories

This novel is not for the casual beach reader

This novel is not for the casual beach reader. David Means’ “Hystopia” features an inventive plot, nuanced characters, and an unsettling tone of writing. While the novel is primarily a novel within a novel, both the fictionalized story and the overarching framework itself take place in a revised post-Vietnam War America: in President John F. Kennedy’s third term, soldiers returning home from the war have the opportunity to have their traumatic experiences enfolded within their brains so that they can return to normal lives.

However, as expected, there’s a catch, for those who do not “enfold” successfully have to live with a doubled-down version of their traumas, as is the case with one of the interior novel’s characters, Rake. Following Rake and the parallel narrative of the enfolded soldier who is managing his veteran case, the story aims to analyze how trauma is nuanced and personal, yet blanketed and simplified in society. At the same time, readers know the story they are reading was written by Eugene Allen, a former Vietnam soldier who may or may not have been enfolded himself, for he exists within the same reality of his novel. The only thing readers know for fact is that the novel within the novel is believable in this alternative, revisioned history. Simply put, the story takes too many turns and flips too many established facts for a simple review or summary.

The appeal of the story comes when the reader puts everything they hold to be true about post-War American history on the shelf and accept both Means’s and Allen’s revised history. Revisionist histories are not uncommon, per se: when you think about it, the most infamous revisionist histories oddly happen to be large scale conspiracy theories (think: Bush Did 9/11, Holocaust Denial). As we all remember, I am a born again conspiracy theorist. But, more importantly, I’m also a history major and hold facts to the highest standard, which places me at odds with everything a conspiracy theory is.

To me, this begs the question: is fact or perception more important? Is an instance more or less true based on how an individual believes it unfolded or how a history textbook records it? In the instances like the Holocaust when there is real, undeniable proof, why is narrative denial still relevant?

Maybe, for the same reason that “Hystopia” is fascinating to readers despite being convoluted and confusing, we are invested or at least attracted to the concept of a conspiracy theory as fact: for the same reason we crave escapism in media, or to watch the aftermath of a car crash on the side of the highway, we want to be entertained by something traumatic or at least a little scarring in which we walk away unscathed.

The root of the conspiracy theories, of revisionist histories, and the basis of its appeal to the American population (smartly represented by the federal Psych Corps in the novel) is in the desire to witness other people's trauma so that we never have to face our own.

Cover Image Credit: Emily Sharp

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A Beginner's Guide to Milwaukee Sports

Part I: The Bucks


Being a college student in Milwaukee has its perks, especially for sports fans. Now, while some may have brought their hometown teams to college, others (myself included) may have warmed up to the Cream City teams without knowing much about them. If this is the case for you, then these pointers can help you start enjoying Milwaukee basketball without looking and sounding like a bandwagon fan.

Quick History

Here are some facts about the Bucks that can make you feel more knowledgeable about the franchise:

- They have only won one championship (back in 1971) and have lost one NBA Finals series (1974) (Land of Basketball)

- They have only had one* MVP-caliber player in Kareem Abdul-Jabbar (#33) during the 1971, 1972, and 1974 seasons (Land of Basketball)

- Other Notable Players Include: Oscar Robertson (#1), Sidney Moncrief (#4), Jon McGlocklin (#14) and Ray Allen (#34) (Land of Basketball)

*Giannis Antetokounmpo may win the MVP award this year


Gear Up

This one is a bit of a no-brainer. Wearing team's colors or spirit wear is a must, especially if you're going to a game. Most items like hats and t-shirts are perfectly acceptable, and these are great if you're not trying to break the bank. Buying your gear from a sporting goods store will usually be cheaper than buying them from the team store (the main one of which is located in Fiserv Forum). Most online stores like, Fanatics, Fansedge, and sometimes even the team's online store will have sales on sports gear, so getting a good deal on team wear is always a plus!

A Word of Caution: Jerseys

All three of these players are not part of the 2018-2019 roster and #77 and #3 have been reused by current players Ersan Ilyasova (#77) and George Hill (#3)

If you're willing to go the extra mile, buying a jersey can really get you into locked in and pumped for the live action. However, it should be kept in mind that official Nike NBA jerseys range from $110-$250, so they definitely are an investment. While there are other options available like the FastBreak jerseys by Fanatics, they are a simpler (still official) knockoff of the Nike jerseys. Also; beware buying sale jerseys. There are usually three reasons why jerseys are ever on sale (aside from a storewide sale): a player is injured, a player doesn't play much and is about to be traded, or a player has been traded. While there is nothing wrong with having the jersey of a player who went on to another team (like Kareem and Allen), you are not exactly going to get brownie points for wearing a Jabari Parker or a Thon Maker jersey anytime soon.

Know The Current Squad

Fiserv Forum, Home of the Milwaukee Bucks

Everyone in Milwaukee has heard of Giannis Antetokounmpo, but who else is part of the supporting cast?

Starting Five for the 2018-2019 Milwaukee Bucks (Basketball Reference):

- #6 Eric Bledsoe at Point Guard

- #13 Malcolm "The President" Brogdon at Shooting Guard

- #22 Khris "Money" Middleton at Small Forward

- #34 Giannis "The Greek Freak" Antetokounmpo at Power Forward

- #11 Brook "Splash Mountain" Lopez at Center

Student Perk

Using your university email, you can get special discount ticket offers for home games by signing up for the Bucks' Student Rush Program. Tickets usually start at $15 per ticket, and the seats available may depend on who the Bucks are playing (and how well they are doing during the season).

Get Involved and Have Fun!

Mascot Crawl GIF by NBA - Find & Share on GIPHY Giphy

Don't be afraid to get into it! The Bucks are an amazing team to watch and they love Bucks Nation. In addition to cheering at games, going to team events and player appearances can be great ways to make memories and even get an autograph or two!

Are You a Bucks Fan Now?🦌

I think Giannis would agree!

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