Robot Jesus

So we have finished reading I,Robot and it has promise to be the best book we have read in class this semester. It did a great job at holding my attention and compelling me to read onward, which I feel is a necessity in books, though some of the considered “best” books lack this quality. I liked reading little individual stories that contributed to a whole. I found it very similar to many televisions series, such as House, CSI, and even Two and a Half Men.  You, know how its nice to watch one episode and enjoy it without being completely at a lost with what is going on.

Anyways, I figured we can tie a few of the robots in the book to come motifs thought history and literature, because I just could help noticing the robots connections to such frequently used subjects.

The two I have in mind: Robbie and Cutie.

First we have Robbie who can be seen as a metaphor of a southern family and their African American nursemaid in the early 1900’s. (Though this could be because I just watched The Help— BTW GREAT MOVIE)  Gloria’s mother thinks it bad for her daughter to spend to much time with the robot and to treat it like an equal. She fears what society will think. Very similar to white women’s view of black women raising their children. We can even see how Robbie’s favorite story — Cinderella — is suggestive. Its a story of a girl in an almost slave-like position rising up to being in a higher rank than her suppressors.

We look at the chapter featuring Cutie, we can see many biblical motifs. The concepts of creator, master, and greater being arise multiple times throughout the chapter. Cutie this he is some sort of messiah, sent to establish the greater race. Now thinking about it, i guess this could be seen as a Nazi Germany references as well… hmmmm…

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Pet Robots Unite!!

So I read the first chapter of IRobot this week, and I am lacking the witty inspiration to blog about. I mean, all I can really come up with is, “Awwwwwwwwww, Robbie is so freaking adorable. I wish I had a pet robot….” and then I got to thinking. I have had a pet robot, we all have really! ( Please ignore the absolute statement. I did not mean actually every one.)

Remember all the silly toys we had as a child? Barbies and Barnies, Legos and Linkin’ Logs, and do not forget Hot Wheels and Hula Hopps. I’d like to call them timeless toys, because they are still prevalent in today’s culture. Give a little boy a Lego set and he is bound to build something, and give a little girl a few dolls or Barbies and she will most likely create a fantasy life for them. But them there are the toys that only kids in my generation will understand. Many of them were hand-me-down ideas from Japan’s pop culture, just still made a big splash in the US. Yep, I am talking about robots.

1. The Tamagotchi – Remember these little guys?  A digital pet that use raise on a little egged shaped chain that really was a computer? You could name them, raise them, train them, and even breed with your friend’s! Parents loved it because the little pets left no mess on the carpet.

2. The Game Boy Color – Oh, the Holy Grail of all things electronic from the 90’s. The Game Boy is a hunky piece plastic and compute chips that allows access to the wonderful world of Pokemon and many other addictive games. I still play it and I’m 19. Enough said.

AND FINALLY:

3. The Fuby – Probably the creepiest and most life-like robot there is. This little furry buddy haunts many many many people’s dreams… 14 years after it was released into main stream market. According to Wikipedia, “Furbies were the first successful attempt to produce and sell a domestically-aimed robot.” It talked in the middle of the night, required feeding, and needed to be put to sleep. It should have its own chapter reserved in IRobot.

Sensory Overload

When we are born, most of us have the basic five senses: hearing, sight, touch, smell, and taste. They help us take in, process, and understand the world around us. We are powerful beings when we have all five senses — but we may be even more powerful without one or two…

Here are some examples:

While writing Frankenstein, Mary Shelley, conveniently leaves out the details to the monster’s creation. We do not know the specifics of how it came to be living, we just know that life was created. She did this so that we can create the creation scene with our own imaginations. In a way she robbed us of one of our senses — metaphorically speaking. Without the visual description we had to rely on was in our mind, over all making a more horrific scene than Mary Shelley could ever have written.

For those of you that did not know, I grew up on a farm — a horse farm. The best horse we have ever had — and still have — is a horse named Flash. Flash completely trust the ride on his back, and will follow any command you give him — because he has too. He is blind. If he does not listen to the rider on his back he could end up running into a tree… or worse. He lacks a sense, but he has a strong intuition. He is one of the smartest horses I know because he relies on others … maybe this is some advice we should take as humans beings…

My Horse Flash

When we watched Nosferatu in class on Monday many people found it boring because it was a black and white film, but I found it pretty interesting. With out the sound we were able to morph our own personal experience with the film.  Nosferatu voice is supposed to sound horrifying to me, and the easiest way to create a horrifying voice is to imagine it in one’s mind. That way it is personalized with every viewer — a different experience for everyone.  I think that if silent films ever wanted to make a comeback they have a new marketing slogan…

Please tell me I'm not crazy!

Ever notice the similarities between Nosferatu and Mr. Burns from the Simpsons?

Everyone’s Gotta Eat

Have you ever wondered the real motives of the bad guys in stories? of the monsters? Why are they so angry? Are they even angry at all, or do the just appear angry in accordance to out societal norms?

In one of my classes we just finished studying Oedipus, a tragic play written by Greek philosopher Sophocles.About 400 years after the play was written, Aristotle looked back at it and said, “Wow. That is the best tragedy of all time.” Why? Because in the story of Oedipus, everyone is a good guy and has morally strong motives. Even Creon, who is sometimes misconceived as a bad guy because he at the end exiles Oedipus and is some time perceived as his dramatic foil, and ultimately a bad guy. Oedipus can be perceived as pig-headed and arrogant, but when put into the perspective of the time, his attitude was ideal for a king.

It all depends of the perspective.

While reading Bram Stroker’s Dracula, we learn of the monster from it seems everyone’s perspective — but not the actual Count himself? Who is to say his motives were not purely justified in accordance to his set of morals? He NEEDS blood for his survival.  According to Maslow’s hierarchy of needs,  food and water is the basics of all needs. We must  successfully fulfill these needs before we can think about building relationships with others or fulfilling personal goals and aspirations. So what is to say that Dracula’s “evil” deeds were not just sparked by a priminal need and therefore justified?

Everybody has got to eat something at some point or another… Dracula just did it with some style….

 

 

The Many Faces of Dracula

So while looking up different adaptions of Dracula’s Brides/Wives for my previous blog post I stumbled upon some very interesting versions of Dracula including one of my favorite actors of all time: GERALD BUTLER. ( I would just like to add that he is such a talented man and has played such a wide variety of characters and genres: Phantom of the Opera, 300, P.S. I Love You, Bounty Hunter, The Ugly Truth,Beowulf, How to Train a Dragon, Law Abiding Citizen; GAHHHH He is such a beautiful and talented man.)

Mr. McDreamy 🙂 Ahhhh....

Anyways, pardon my gushing about Mr. Butler, Dracula is not only a scary monster because of the way he attacks humans, but also due to his physical appearance.Brom Stoker describes him, through the voice of Jonathan Harker as:

“His face was a strong, a very strong, aquiline, with high bridge of the thin nose and peculiarly arched nostrils, with lofty domed forehead, and hair growing scantily round the temples but profusely elsewhere. His eyebrows were very massive, almost meeting over the nose, and with bushy hair that seemed to curl in its own profusion. The mouth, so far as I could see it under the heavy moustache, was fixed and rather cruel-looking, with peculiarly sharp white teeth. These protruded over the lips, whose remarkable ruddiness showed astonishing vitality in a man of his years. For the rest, his ears were pale, and at the tops extremely pointed. The chin was broad and strong, and the cheeks firm though thin. The general effect was one of extraordinary pallor.”

Well Gerald Butler is more attractive than scary, especially for being an undead. I am pretty sure most woman, and maybe some me, would be fine with him biting and sucking our blood. Here is some more examples of what many movie directors and other groups in society believe Dracula should look like:

 So what do you think? Some characteristics are repeated, the dark brows and the widow’s peak, but does that make them scary? I feel that with the repeated characteristics, we have become immune to Dracula; he is kind of like the cookie monster now — okay, more like Count Count. Is he still scary?

Yes Gerald Butler, you may suck my blood.

The New Woman


In class this week, Molly and I had to present Sally Ledger’s article “The New Woman and the crisis of Victorianism.” Reading the article was a learning experience, such as seeing how the New Woman Movement was connected– sometimes involuntary — with the decadent(sex fiend slutty woman), socialist movement, and eugenics. Now for the main portion of the project I created a photo video montage and stumbled upon so very interesting photos. These photos — which I will include in this post very shortly — got me thinking about who much society has morphed the portrayal of Dracula’s three woman.

Now the above photo is from the movie original  Dracula, filmed in 1931 and directed by Tod Browning. now look at Dracula’s three woman. they appear very modest, obedient, and -well- creepy. Of course they are beautiful woman, but there is no “sparkle” to them- that was not supposed to be a Twilight reference. By sparkle I mean, well, they don’t look like the type of women Jonathan would think of cheating on his fiance with… I feel this is an odd depiction of them, mainly due to the modesty and obedient poses. I felt the book created them to be more harlot like, and defiant of Dracula, after all it is his fault they are undead. Here they just look dull..

Next up are the lovely Dracula women from the 1992 film of Dracula, directed by Francis Ford Coppola. Don’t they look sassy? This is what I expected them too look like, minus the Greek goddess clothing. I think though the wardrobe suits them. It makes them look other worldly and gives them an ancient power of mystery. Since the book fails to tell us their origin, they could actually be from ancient Greek or Roman times. This adaption fails to go with the two brunettes and a blonde description from the novel, but I feel like they are closer to what Brom Stoker visualized than the 1931 version of the three brides/wives/sister or how ever you want to connect them to Dracula.

 

Now to the revamped – hahahahaha PUNNY – version of Dracula’s ladies, featured in Dracula 2000.  I wouldn’t use dull or sassy to describe them — its more like sexy. They reek sex appeal, which is basically what the decadent is.We can also find irony in their solid white dress. White is usually saved for those that a pure and innocent — something they clearly aren’t. Now I think they go a little bit over board on the sexy-ness with these three women, but it did lure in a large audience. I bet if we brought in Jonathan Harker from the 18th century I am pretty sure he would have cheated on Mina with these women.

My Personal Dracula Experience

The Count Himself and Me 🙂

Now, dear blog readers of mine, I am sure you did not know this, but I am a theater major. I’ve been doing theater since sixth grade and have been many a shows, but the first time I was in a leading role was during my sophomore year of high school. The play — The Seven Wives of Dracula. The role — Lucy.

This photo reminded me of in the actual text when Mina observes a dark figure behind Lucy at night during one of her sleep walking fits.

Now in this adaption of the play, Lucy and Jonathan are engaged. Yep. There the sappy annoying couple that just say each other’s name over and over again because they love the sound of it off their lips. It was disgustingly cute. the dialogue when: “Jonathan” Lucy.” Jonathan!” Lucy!” “Jonathan!!!” “Lucy!!!!” What makes it greater was at the end of the play, after Lucy is bitten by the Count their dialogue goes: “Lucy.” “Dracula.” “Lucy!” “Dracula!” ” Oh, Lucy!!!!” ” Oh, Dracula!!!” Showing how easily Lucy is persuaded to love another man. On of the few characteristics of the book carried over in the play — well beside the whole sucking blood vampire bit.

4 of Dracula's 7 Wives --- yes we are scary...

Now the entire place takes place in an insane asylum, which Lucy’s father runs. Again, not much like the book. There is a Renfeld, and he does enjoy eating flies, but mostly to eat them himself. There are also many other “mad” patients in the asylum; including a pair of twin sisters that finished each other’s eery sentences and an old woman obsessed with the undead.

Now, I know this had nothing to do with the reading, however, it shows how we all have our own preconceived ideas about the book, or any piece of literature in fact. Imagine how surprised I was when I read Jonathan was not engaged to Lucy, but to Mina! I felt a little betrayed! It shows how myths and legends, stories and tales become transformed over time.

Jonathan, Lucy, and Van Helsing from Left to Right

Jonathan, Lucy, and Van Helsing from Left to Right