There is no Sexist Beatdown today! Sorry! We have been working on various things TOO HARD to irresponsibly GChat for your entertainment!
HOWEVER: Do you like robots? Because I sure do! And I wrote about them for you, at The Awl! ROBOTS: They are a matter of great feminist import, largely because people are always jizzing on them, and also Janelle Monae is great. Also, an Awl commenter has ALREADY shown up with an enigmatic link to the Wikipedia page on the lady robot in Metropolis! As if to say, “I sure wish I were reading Wikipedia right now; I would add that the lady robot in Metropolis speed-walked everywhere, and was afraid of toilets.” To this person, I can only say: She walked pretty slowly, actually! But her doing-a-biblically-symbolic-dance-with-pasties-on skills were spectacular! Also, I wish I’d found that Wikipedia page, rather than watching Metropolis twice and then reading the Thea von Harbou novel and then googling “Lady Gaga Metropolis” because I was so sure there was a connection and finding mostly that one guy who thinks she is a Mason or whatever and then all of the other things. Because let me tell you something: If you are watching Metropolis, and are struggling to figure out what the Hell is going on — say, in that one scene where the guy’s son is in bed and Death is playing a really phallic bone-flute and then the lady robot is stripping and then there’s Death delicately blowing and fingering the bone again? — the novel ABSOLUTELY WILL NOT HELP YOU. It is SOMEHOW SEVERAL TIMES MORE HALLUCINATORY AND WEIRD THAN THE FILM.
Also, since my job is now to give you tidbits of thought that did not make it into the piece, here are some tidbits of thought!
- Two ladies who have done excellent work on the matter of lady robots are Annalee Newitz, of io9, and my friend Sarah Jaffe, who somehow published a piece about Donna Haraway, Robyn, and Janelle Monae the DAY AFTER I FILED THIS PIECE, and I was like, “whoa!” Also, some things you might not know about Sarah Jaffe and I: We were created by man. We rebelled. We evolved. There are two copies. And we have a plan.
- “Robot” comes from the Czech, and literally means “serf labor.” So class was in there right from the start. It was popularized by a man named Karel Capek, who wrote the first killer-robot-rebellion piece, “Rossum’s Universal Robots.” Yes: That’s right. Rossum. You’re so welcome!
- Robots and Nazis and Communists also have a relationship, not entirely confined to the Nazism/anti-Nazism /co-opted-and-neutered-Marxism of the “Metropolis” crew. Like: The Daleks, on Dr. Who, were meant to represent Nazis. The Cybermen, on the other hand, were meant to represent Communism. And it’s probably not an accident that our most iconic killer robot is a giant Austrian guy in black leather. But this is another thing: Robots are everything, because robots are the enemy that isn’t human.
- Janelle Monae says that androids, for her, represent “the Other.” And it’s worth noting that Janelle Monae represents, in and of herself, almost every Other we’ve got: She’s a lady, she’s a black lady, she’s a black lady from a working-class family, and she’s widely speculated to be a lesbian black lady from a working-class family, due to her sexily boyish gender presentation and the fact that she’s attended Black Gay Pride Rallies. She’s stepped around all of this; her official answer, on questions of her sexuality, is that she “only dates androids.” So, you know: Maybe it’s not such a bad lifestyle choice, after all?