From the archive
There’s a complicated network of motifs: in addition to body-part removal and replacement, recurring images include mountain zebras, women laying wooden or silver eggs and people drinking sherry cobblers (iced cocktails mentioned in Martin Chuzzlewit, as a character explains). Here and there, we’re filled in on the HoH’s humanitarian aspects. They have ‘an airplane that flies around sucking up bad porn from cities’; the porn is piped into holding tanks where it unexpectedly gives rise to a sentient ‘tumorousness of overstimulated desire’. And sometimes there are glimpses of the outside world. Online porn – a non-issue when Baker was writing Vox – has a counterpart at the HoH’s Porndecahedron, a multi-screened experience that solo visitors find exhausting and dispiriting after a while. A man uses mystic powers to combat the fashion for pubic hair removal and tattooing – ‘a way of not being naked while being naked’, he says dismissively. A woman with ‘big patriotic tits’, who causes havoc by confiscating people’s clitorises, derives her authority from the 9/11 attacks, being an employee of the federal Transportation Security Administration.