Thursday, December 31, 2009

Sex, Lies, and Transhumanism

You know, sometimes from the outside, glimpsing in only now and then via the mass media, it's really hard to credit the existence of disciplines in the Academy such as "queer studies" or "transhumanism." I guess that makes me a stodgy old fart, even though I've long considered disciplinary boundaries to be a pretty good way to guarantee nothing really new under the sun.

We're all in an endless loop now anyhow, wanting always new all the time. Kids electronic games are only good until the next newer cooler one displaces them, just like it used to be with computers-as-toys. Now, the "computer" is mainly a gadget to jack onto the ever changing 'net, if you're not a gamer. So netbook prices have dropped to what a telephone would have cost back when they were delivered "free" as part of your commodity-regulated telephone network. Back in the day when I was a kid. Remember the "Princess" phone, which ushered in the era of choice and new and libidinous tech?

Lots of people predict that Internet devices will soon all be free, and maybe even the connectivity too, for so long as you're willing to accept the branding and have the credit score to promise good transactions.

So yesterday, I was waiting to get my blood drawn among grampas and kids and moms and dads, and there on the big flatscreen was Doctor Phil talking about transactional oral sex in our schools. Now, I hardly ever watch TV, and so Doctor Phil to me is just another phony with a Texas accent who follows the inevitable downslide to sensationalism so that he can be rich and famous.

He's talking about how young girls can be arm-twisted into using oral sex for clothes, favors, money and a kind of fame. He's warning you that this can also happen to your own daughter, no matter how good a job you think you might be doing. I'm looking up to see the sky falling, especially when he's interviewing some dance-chaperon Mom who talked about the freak dancing at the prom and a circle of cell phone wielding freakers surrounding a couple engaged in the actual act itself. Full-on intercourse on the dance floor with the girls hands on the floor like a dog.

Now everyone else in the waiting room is treating this like background noise, since maybe they're more used to it than I am. Or maybe they just look away quickly when I check out who else is paying attention, but I'm pretty much reeling from the whole scene, flashing back to that other time when I emerged from some kind of academic television-less cave to find Saturday Night Live and Televangelism at the same moment in my personal history. I - honest - couldn't tell which one was satire and which one meant to be taken seriously.

The part of the Doctor Phil story which I had to credit was that these young girls, if and when they ever emerge from this abusive transactional sex scheme, show the symptoms common to sexual abuse everywhere. There are permanent scars and lifelong issues. But it has to depend, doesn't it?, on whether you're really a hottie or if the guys are just using you to get off.

Does it? This stuff is so confusing to me, since I just see Doctor Phil himself as his own victim, needing to be that "hot" on television and getting there on the back of everyone else's fears. I mean, there's nothing new about the abuse we heap on gullible peoples' aspirations. A good blow job among equals in hotness can't hurt anyone now can it?

Which is the trouble with "Transhumanism" if you ask me. We have all internalized scales of humanity according to which the really fortunate ones with the high IQs and incomes and bionically arranged perpetual airbrushed bodies seem actually more human than the rest of us. We actually think that evolution will proceed in the direction of those traits which we value the most, in our locust infestation of planet earth. You know, these would be the ones who can abuse the earth the fastest and with the most impunity. And if they choose not to, we almost worship them.

So, I got my bill for the dumpster I had sitting out in front of my recently sold house. I had it there for a full month, and they charged me just the $125 delivery charge plus $30 for the ton of contents gotten rid of. No friend I asked to guess could even come close to that cost. I'll miss that kind of trailer-trash earnest, let me tell you, considering the literal boatload of guilt they hauled away for me. Computers, monitors, artificially fabriced upholstered furniture, TVs, SCUBA wetsuits, hardware and software of all sorts.

It is my contention that what we call humanity does not inhere in our hardware at all. Consciousness is the result of dialogic connections among individuals with recognizable faces which can have a kind of stickiness for love. There have to be hands for deliberate touch, and the proper black box for grammer to our voice box. There has to be a frontal cortex for abstraction and metaphor, and to the extent that we drop the ones beneath our level we drop out of the human race. That's my contention.

So, I'm gonna have to say that Doctor Phil himself is a little bit less than human. He's given in to the logic of the marketplace, and been taken over by transactional humanism. He's giving himself blowjobs, and I find it gross to watch. But hey, I'm sure he's a nice enough guy. I just get confused among Tammy Faye and the one who imitates Sarah Palin. I know which one I like, and which one needed a lot of help. I'm no good with names, though.


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