Saturday, November 26, 2011

Cyborg + PostHuman Theory

Read Donna Haraway's “A Cyborg Manifesto” at least from pages 149-152 and 164-165.
What are the effects of a Posthuman society, specifically the cyborg, in terms of gender roles?

Cyborg Manifesto Link

Haraway's criticism and point is masked in a myriad smoke screen of undefined links of word play and diluted meanings bound to a meandering stream of conscious (I just got done reading another book by Haraway so maybe I'm burned out on this style). Haraway's meaning in her excerpt could be summed up in one word: subversion. This is a highly reduced form obviously but at the same time cuts away the massive amount of intentional obfuscation that she incorporates into her argument. In conjunction with the posthuman, this attribute is seen in play primarily in boundary issues: "class, ethnic and cultural differences" (Hailes 85). The act of subverting boundaries is a primary issue here even beyond that of gender roles; it is a questioning of how cybernetics and all posthuman properties effect current social paradigms. One could comment (for whatever reason I'm not sure) on how "bestiality has a new status in this cycle of marriage exchange" (Haraway 152) or one could focus on more important, clear questions as the one posed by Wiener: "Where should the cybernetic dissolution of boundaries stop" (Hailes 85)? A possible response to this would be to question if there even should be a stop to these types of dissolutions. It is here where rhetoric and politics step in. Which boundaries and who do they serve? In today's society there are many of these boundary/power/dissolution/cybernetic switches ( I mash these all together as they seem to be entangled). One good example would be of the recent UC Davis incident. Everyone has seen the police officer pepper spraying the students (if not go here: but fast forward to the end (6:10ish) of the video to where the cops are making a strategic retreat and Mr. PepperCop steps back to the forefront dual wielding can's like a Rogue out of an MMO but wait! Fifty hands raise up holding not signs but video cameras, IPods, IPads, recording devices of every kind and Mr. PepperCop stops dead in his tracks, decides retreat is the better part of cowardice and continues retreating with his fellow cops. These devices become an extension if not a part of the students involved in this incident. Multiple boundaries are dissolved at this moment: power dynamics, human/machine, device intended usage/ immediate utility, etc... I divert to this example because this is what is being spoken of (albeit not specifically gender) on a social/boundary level that is taking place centrally to our lives.

Thursday, November 24, 2011

100 Followers and Turkey Day

I was about to upload my most recent school project today since I have a little time before the big feast later and lo and behold: I'm at 100 followers!  I just want to take a moment to express thanks for everyone who supports this blog; I know at times the material can be boring (blame the professors for the prompts, I do my best to make it interesting).  This is especially an apt time seeing as though it's Thanksgiving day.  I hope everyone is having an adequate to extremely good day (hopefully its better then your average day).  I know holidays can sometimes be rougher then regular days; I know this first hand.  With that said, eat lots of food, veg out infront of the TV with family (if possible) or friends and take a day to just breath a little easier. Alright, putting the sentiments aside.  Thanks again for following!!

Sunday, November 20, 2011

Semper F.U?

As a veteran of the US military this appalls me to no ends.  My friend forwarded this Colbert report earlier to me and was just enraged by what I saw.

"We believe no constituency better understands the challenge America faces, and no constituency is better suited to, again, lead by example putting country first"

This is a response from the VA (who are supposed to support the veterans) to the Super committee who now wants to cut active and veterans military benefits including health services....    There's plenty of more reliable links out there but Colbert is funny so meh: 4:30 into Colbert report.  I love the rhetoric involved in that letter :(

Anyway just to summarize.  The super committee was created when Obama wanted to raise the debt ceiling.  They were remanded with the task to cut 1.6ish trillion and if not then an automatic deep cut would be taken out of the military defense budget.  So now they want to target veteran AND active military service members benefits (as mentioned above)  Cause you know... fuck them right?  Even if you don't agree with the war and what the government is doing, we should still be supporting the troops.    Just another travesty in a long line of injustices.

Movement to Posthuman

In the interview, Gibson states that he predicted cyberspace would become banal and commonplace. However, in his novel he depicts cyberspace as exciting. Bearing this in mind, in what ways do you think literature affects reality and reality affects literature?

The literature/reality dynamic is complex. In the 1950' era up to the point of personal computer/internet emerging this interaction used to have an external relationship insomuch that sci-fi predicted much of our technological advancements: rockets to the moon, cybernetics, etc. However, as technology today seems to advance not as quickly on the physical plane (although it does advance, just not at the same ratio prior) on the virtual/data reality there seems to be no boundaries. There has been a shift from physical advancement to the virtual. Strictly speak about sci-fi for the moment, the previous external focus that was seen, hasn't shift along with the technological 'shift'. The previous focus and flare for the external machine has not yet been fully realized for the virtual. This is not to say that there aren't authors writing about the virtual, there are quite a few, the point here is that there seems to be a reluctance that wasn't there for physical technology. Much of the sci-fi writing about 0's and 1's tends to be a current depiction with less of a "F"uture look.

Gibson talks about his reticent desire to move forward with the emergent technology so as not to lose his objectivity as well as the point that the banality of this technology comes not from the technology itself but comes from what we 'do' with it. These two issues subtext a possibly greater concern. As Gibson mentions that technology changes the user, the subtext concern could in fact be a concern for the literature/reality interaction. As new technology emerges, how we interact and how literature interacts with reality changes. All around us book stores are closing; more and more we see 'literature' moving from a physical state of being to a digital state. Despite how the words and content effect reality, just the fact that there is a shift of literature itself would demarcate an external change. This shift goes back to Gibson's statement of how the distinction between the real and cyberspace is eroding. We physically react to 0's and 1's much like Gibson mentions when he first viewed children playing video games and how what they were "yearning for was on the other side of the glass... [to] be in there with the color whirling data". With literature moving to a 0/1 existence there almost seems to be a loop forming. We interact with literature and literature interacts with reality but then with a move to virtual space and our 'physicality' with this data that was previously solid would then indicated a reality shift to virtual. This seems obvious but the change that this will bring isn't as clear. It's almost a posthuman move from human consciousness to a computer consciousness. With the medium changing so to will the data be affected.

Thursday, November 17, 2011

(post) Walkabout

Well this post is a bit late but I'll blame that on an insane work load this week.  Anyway, the walkabout was a very interesting experience.  The group (turns out a total of 5 of us showed up) met at a local museum that is the center for the arts district in my town.  Instead of going in we decided to just wander the area aimlessly to see what cool stuff we could find (hence walkabout).  Now I'm not an artsy person but we found places that had amazing objects aka art, inside.  I think the highlight was when we found a private studio that had a rendition of mount Rushmore done in cardboard but tweaked into a anti corporate message.  It's hard to explain but there was a old school Tonka truck with a 32oz bottle of ketchup near it.  Win.  Anyway, we closed the day with a meal in the little Ethiopia district that turned out to be very tasty.  All in all a fun day of randomness.

Saturday, November 12, 2011

(pre) Walkabout

So despite today's weather being unable to decide whether it wants to rain or not, a group of my friends decided to do a 'walkabout' later.  It's kind of an interesting concept based on an Australian origination of the word.  But today it's more defined as: "A person's desire to travel without a planned itinerary or set destination".  We're going to basically go downtown and wander around looking for inspiration for further writing adventures.  It should be interesting.  Hopefully it won't rain; or at least not too much so that we get sick.  I'll post my adventure later :)

Friday, November 4, 2011

College Library - interum post

So I was at the Cal State University in Northridge's library for the 3rd day in a row and two thoughts came to me.  A) UCLA's library is much better (but I'm not motivated enough to go out of my way on a non school day to go)  B) I'm spending waaaay to much time there.   It's like my home away from home.  I guess when your working on a research project/thesis it's a normal thing but my mentality hasn't caught up with the realities of Graduate work.  Oh well.  I'll have a new post up in a day or two, I've just been behind in everything this week.   At least it's raining today.  That always makes things better.