Sunday, March 31, 2013

Dollhouse - Week 11

PW, this is the final post for this course.

Does Jesus actually say anything like "there is no 'I' without desire, and no desire without the 'I'"? (248) It seems Hawk is referring to self-identity ("I"); I'm not sure of the link between her comment and Jesus, but surely it can be unpacked at length (by someone, but perhaps not us).

Does Echo transcend desires? (249) What about her relationship with Ballard? Can the "I" function at all without some sort of desire at work?

The last part of the paragraph at the top of p.250 is important. I like the sentiment, but I'm not sure I accept it.
No longer caught in the subject – object dyad, Ech enacted a truly queer relationship by allowing deeper penetration – unshackled to sexual reproduction or hegemonic heteronormativity – than is possible for any human subject. Her post humanity allowed for, and, indeed, necessitated, a rearticulation of the fulfillment of desire. She was able to transcend desires as well as the physical and mortal constraints of humanity by integrating the man she loved into her very self.
Apple is posthuman, not only post-PC. Are our very being mapped onto social networks? I suppose.

These last two articles have been refreshingly complex and clever.

1 comment:

Phil Wiebe said...

I found this article a bit abrasive in its assumption of currently tenuous or equivocal concepts - cyborgs, posthuman - and the stewing morass of technical jargon it threw at us. I don't think Echo had many selves that couldn't still be grouped under one, overriding self (Echo still had an I). I'm not sure that you can say that her ontology/subjectivity or epistemology shifted radically at that point either; at least Hawk doesn't provide any evidence for that claim. I think that there are better Marxist readings of Dollhouse than attributing imprints to capitalist power structure which is reductionist at best and quaintly modern at worst (fantasy, desire, and monetary exchange go back to the beginning of recordest history - prostitution [which the Dollhouse performs, in a glamorous way] is called 'the world's oldest profession' tongue in cheek, but with some reason).

I don't think we can say that Jesus said "there is no I without desire" and vice versa because A) he never said that and B) such ideas about self and desire were not part of his larger message. The idea of Echo transcending desire and becoming some kind of boddhisattva is patently false - in the end, Echo wants the same thing, in the same way, as Caroline: the destruction of Rossum and the liberation of the dolls/humanity. Will/choice seems inseparable from sentient existence, I'm not sure if 'I' can function without desire. As Schopenhauer says, the world is a representation of the will.

"No longer caught in a subject-object dyad, Echo enacted a truly queer relationship by allowing deeper penetration - unshackled to sexual reproduction or hegemonic heteronormativity - than is possible for any human subject" - this one really came out of left field in terms of thematic relevance. If I knew exactly what she was saying, I would disagree - my inner Slavoj tells me that there's something going on here that isn't correct by way of the impossibility of circumventing desire. I need a Zizekian analysis on this one, stat!

To me, Echo is human, all too human. If posthumanity is even conceivable, Dollhouse is not its show. As Nietzsche says, "Man is something to be overcome!" Something that Alpha willfully embraced, and Echo willfully rejected in a reassertion of her humanity.

I think the article lost steam when it produced another shoddy Marxist analysis and then took the metaphor to computing and networking. It was a bit strange for her to criticize all her previous positions, which she had brazenly advanced, at the end. The essay was certainly a fresh take on Dollhouse, but I feel that its bombast outweighed its actual merit.