Sep 13, 2010

2010 09 13 But He Does Like Robo Cop

From Jonah Campbell's guest post about why the Terminator isn't a cyborg, at Quiet Babylon:

Part of why I think cyborgs are interesting, why they are interesting to us, culturally, is how they play on our anxieties about the human, and about the unity/disruption of the human body. The biggest question on the mind of every cyborg and every person who is afraid of cyborgs is "how many augmentations before they're no longer human?"

And then:

Now obviously the Terminator plays on some cultural anxieties (I mean it's a robot skeleton, right?), but I don't think these are the same anxieties, the same tensions. The Terminator comes from a long line of Creations Gone Awry/Don't Play God/By Our Hubris Undone/Science Run Amok sort of tropes, of which killer robots are merely one strand. In their unstoppable robotic march we manifest our fear of being replaced by our technological creations, but there is something much more insidious about being"invaded by our technology, being compromised in our fundamental organicism.


The cyborg, in its more dystopian moments, is an icon of body horror. Of course it is altogether different things in different lights "“ it is progress, it is the advent of the posthuman, it is testament to our capacity for adaptation, for expressing our mastery over or indifference to both Nature with a capital N and nature with a lower-case one...

More at Quiet Babylon, who's doing 50 posts about cyborgs to commemorate the 50th anniversary of the coining of the term.


photo credit: Bistro Savage