Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Cavemen, Butlers, and Other Loose Ends


An old DC Comics page e-mailed to me by Michael Malice depicts as glorious the inevitable day when we will all have robot butlers, advising us to “Get Ready for the Robots!” — but a compromise may be possible between the seemingly opposing dreams of having a monkey butler or robot butler: Ron Bailey writes in Reason of the possibility (and the troubling ethical implications) of “resurrecting” dimwitted and largely helpless Neanderthals via cloning (and he makes use of the awesome psychology term “Uncanny Valley,” which sort of sounds like a Marvel-DC crossover comic book series revealing that Azrael is a mutant — but we can discuss that at Lolita Bar one week from tonight).

Of course, a subservient race of semi-humans is exactly what Francis Fukuyama, a decade ago, sternly warned me to expect from our dark future if biotech remains unchecked, saying (almost verbatim) that the future would not be one built along the lines of my naive utilitarian dreams but instead a brutal, Nietzschean world of big-brained supermen and subservient monkey-men. I’m not scared — and I’m something of an expert on the caveman-resurrection issue, having dated a woman back then who had been an extra in the pool party scene in Encino Man.

My current girlfriend, notoriously, prefers monkey butlers (unlike Congress), but she can be made to feel conflicted about her love of the past and her suspicion of high-tech modernity sometimes, as when shown this old-timey footage confirming that surveillance cameras are nothing new — a steampunk panopticon, if you will, pointed out to me by Brian Floca (much more about him and steampunk at a later date, and until then just a quick note that in addition to getting his comic about the race to the moon in April, you might also consider getting this one drawn by the Cannons, one of whom — Kevin Cannon — I’ve met and who also, as noted at the end of that article, draw comics about evolution).

1 comment:

Tim said...

I’m surprised that someone hasn’t pointed out that

significant build and locomotion differences (huge

muscles, wide hips, small semicircular canals, and

short lower legs) might have been their big

disadvantages for anything but a thick forest.

BBC Horizon