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Tangents, found on the [transgender ——– atomic aliens] spectrum

2009 March 1
by Maddie

This was originally a comment in response to Anne’s comment on my paper, One Small Step for Trans, One Giant Eek for Mankind but I began going off on a few tangents about technology and atomic aliens, and figured I make it a more accessible post.

Anne, you commented, —
“What I think I see you doing is making a distinction between the usefulness of surgical technologies on the individual level, and the problematics of their larger, social effect”
Yes– this is my argument, and I apologize that this was not better articulated.

In class, we did make the claim that “we are all transgender”, however I have to respectfully disagree with this. As a class, we are able to admit that we do not and cannot always be a perfect fit to one gender or another; we cross gender lines daily, both consciously and unconsciously. However I feel that to say we are all transgender undermines the portion of the population that DOES identify as transgender. Though we cross boundaries, I don’t believe that we are a class of 35 transgendered individuals– I don’t see crossing gender lines and being transgender as synonymous. If it were possible to quantify, maybe someone could report being 75% woman and 25% man, but this person still, more or less, falls to one side of the spectrum. Granted– “falling at one end” is different from “falling mostly at one end”, but the latter is what I was attempting to portray.

as for my question about technology– “do the pros outweigh the cons”; I ask this because I think people too often assume that this is the case. In class we said technology “makes something easier” but for who? ALL of society? at ALL times? I do agree that we are stuck with it, and should learn how to make the most of it, but if we always jump to the conclusion that technology is a positive push towards… I’m not sure what… ignorance may get the best of us. This is why I think the “imaginative” panel was so destructive– fiction media (concerning technology) usually plays on the consequences of allowing technology to get out of hand. There is a common theme of pending destruction, foreshadowed by a hero figure saying “we have technology! what could possibly go wrong?!” Yet only in some of these films is there a clear and direct link between humans and technology; technology is treated like an all-powerful new species.

its also interesting to juxtapose the more current use of technology in fiction media with the technology used in the sci-fi films of the early 50’s. The atomic bomb started an entire film revolution, in which technology was the villain, particularly in Japanese sci-fi films. Not only was technology the villain, but it was usually from another planet (see: the US) — the gigantic laser-beaming bugs and genetically altered lizards were from OUTTER SPACE, not from the hand of any human. The hero was a level-headed doctor, who had a great nuclear family, often a cute daughter, and some means of naturally destroying the invasive technology (ha! the giant ants are allergic to water!).

is this theme only relevant to the nuclear age, when technology was seen by many as the villain? And if technology ever does get “out of hand” as a plethora of films suggest, is it ever destroyed by “natural elements”? or is it always a new technology that saves the day? The Terminator is destroyed with the flick of a switch on some sort of steel pounding machine in a factory that the last chase scene conveniently leads to. As his robo-red eyes dramatically fade out, Sarah delivers her famous line, “You’re terminated, fucker”. Technology destroyed by technology. Is it a new species?

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