An introduction

This is a semi-public place to dump text too flimsy to even become a blog post. I wouldn't recommend reading it unless you have a lot of time to waste. You'd be better off at my livejournal. I also have another blog, and write most of the French journal summaries at the Eurozine Review.

Why do I clutter up the internet with this stuff at all? Mainly because I'm trying to get into the habit of displaying as much as possible of what I'm doing in public. Also, Blogger is a decent interface for a notebook

Sunday, December 19, 2010

Celebrity robots, and racist hero/slave polarization

Celebrity robots:

One clever trope that Urasawa introduces, which I think is genuinely an original one – not just with respect to the Tezuka original but with respect to the whole genre of robot fiction – is that in this world there are celebrity robots, like Mont Blanc. The humans revere them. And yet the humans continue to treat the mass of ordinary robots as disposable non-persons, despite the fact that it’s not so clear what would separate your old-model cleaning lady robot from noble Mont Blanc. Is it just that the cleaning lady doesn’t write poetry? I think this is good allegory of typical ethnic conflict patterns. The dominant group somewhat assuages its guilt/uncertainty, by raising just a few members of the minority above even the level of the majority, imbuing them with extra authenticity and heroism, and somehow in this way actually cementing the old majority/minority relations in place, rather than challenging them.

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