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Doctor Manhattan.

2009 February 19
by Alexandra Funk

“He deformed the lives of every living creature on the face of this planet…One single being has been allowed to change the entire world, pushing it closer to its eventual destruction in the process…We are all of us living in the shadow of Manhattan.”

I don’t feel that my thoughts are fully formed on my persona from today’s class. I think Docter Manhattan is an amazing character. Very philosophical and very intriguing.

I picked him because I have a lot of questions about him and his world. I’ve gotten, as I think many of us have, very caught up in the idea of technology as an extension of humanity. But what if we are extending in the wrong direction?

Doctor Manhattan transcends the human condition and propells the world down a spiral of destruction. I find it very interesting that he is referred to as the superman, the man to end all wars when actually he only causes more problems and doesn’t end up making much of anything better. He eventually loses all traces of humanity. He has no morality, killing is not a action that requires thought. As George said in class, he is god.

In class I said that I felt he also lives beyond gender. I think I might have been wrong. When he rebuilds his body he chooses to construct a male form, once in this form he still has sexual relationships with women. Throughout the story he is decidedly male. Could gender be something that is so ingrained in our consciousness that it is impossible to get rid of? Perhaps if he was created rather than reformed into this beyond human being, he could exist without gender.

Although I love Watchmen, I find all of the female characters to be a bit unsatisfying. Their roles are completely necessary to the story, but I can’t help but wonder how things would have been different if the first “superman” was a woman.

These are just some half-formed thoughts… I’ve got to work in out in my head. Maybe I’ll munch on some potstickers while I think. There was absolutely no reason for me to link to this post. I just felt like it. It’s a good one.

By the way, the lesbian crime-fighter I was referring to in class is Silhouette.

3 Responses
  1. Solomon Lutze permalink
    February 19, 2009

    Yeah, that book was great but it was really disappointing how thin all the female characters seemed (I meant personality-wise but I guess you could talk about their physical shape, too . . .). Manhattan wasn’t my favorite character, though; Rorschach was. It took me awhile to figure out why, since normally I hate the whole “My-way-is-right-other-ways-are-wrong” personality, but then I realized that the reason I like that in Rorschach is that for him it’s entirely selfless; for most, it’s entirely selfish.

    anyway. back to the topic at hand, I DO remember being like “Mystique? I don’t think the name was Mystique . . .” also, wasn’t Mothman gay, and did something bad happen to him? I don’t remember . . .

    also, thanks for the random link. ^_^

  2. Hannah Mueller permalink
    February 19, 2009

    I wanted to ask you in class, Dr. Manhattan, why you decided to rebuild yourself as a man if you could have been anything (I guess, not even human). I don’t know if gender is impossible to get rid of, but it definitely is deeply deeply ingrained, and I would say male is the default position, so a superhuman god would “naturally” choose it. (I also wanted to ask why you didn’t feel like wearing clothes after you rebuilt yourself, and why you were blue… did those have anything to do with your gender choice?)
    Calling him a god reminds me of how, when I was a camp counselor at a lutheran camp a couple years ago, we tried to refer to a gender-neutral god, or to alternate between using “He” and “She” to refer to God, and to talk about a Creator instead of God the Father. It was hard to keep up! It takes practice to reframe my thinking about the gender or non-gender of God, because it’s so ingrained in my (I think a lot of people’s) mind(s) that the ‘power’ that is inside/outside everything is male. Not surprising since Christianity is famously patriarchal. But the thinking has definitely got to change, for one thing because now I just don’t believe that God is male.

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  1. Why Watchmen? | Gender and Technology Spring 2009

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