Peace unto, just finished contemplating the work of author Wendy Chun; appreciate she has 2006 and 2011 publications to her name also. In her 2018 talk mentioned here she quotes William Gibson’s (1984) description of Cyberspace which was also quoted by Charles Mills in “The Racial Contract” (1997). This exact quote again is referenced in the 1990 documentary Cyberpunk exploring the role of film, game, book and graphic novel (comic) in contributing to the genre.
Science fiction / fantasy was the basis for much of this. William Gibson not only contributed to the genre through “Neuromancer” but also his 1981 Omni magazine piece, “Johnny Mnemonic”, was, in 1995, adapted into a film. In 1988 “They Live” was produced, adapted from the Ray Nelson short story “8 O Clock in the Morning” (1963.) Other film adaptations include “Soylent Green” and “Logan’s Run”
Philip K Dick is another writer who had their work adapted. His 1968 “Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep” was made into the 1982 film “Blade Runner”. His 1956 “A Minority Report” was also made into a 2002 film, and his 1966 “We Can Remember it For You Wholesale”, became “Total Recall” (1990.) Isaac Asimov had his 1950s stories adapted into the 2004 film I Robot, whilst Ray Bradbury’s “Fahrenheit 451” (1953) was made into a 1966 film. This fate also awaited the work of George Orwell (1948) and Aldous Huxley (1932), whose work seems to have influenced the satirical film “Demolition Man” (1993.)
“Fahrenheit 451” (1953), “Brave New World” (1932), “The Demolition Man” (1993) and “Handmaidens Tale” (1985) all get mentioned in Daphne Patai’s “Heterophobia: Sexual Harassment and the Future of Feminism” / “The Politics of Purity.” It warns against a dystopian future which comes into existence through corporates and governments monopolising the control of everyday life. It followed in the tradition of Philip K Howards “The Death of Common Sense: How Law is Suffocating America” (1994).
Erica Carle “The Hate Factory” (1974) later renamed “Give Us The Young” (1982) also surveyed the predictive programming power of science fiction. Building upon her condemnation of corporate dominance, “Why Things Are the Way They Are” (1996), she implicated Auguste Comte as a key antagonist in the drive to create a scientific dictatorship, in the name of female salvation (cf 1853.)
In his preface to the 1946 edition of Brave New World, Huxley warned “as political and economic freedom diminishes, sexual freedom tends compensatively to increase.” In media there is a similar paradox. Marshal McLuhan pointed this out writing “the potential is tremendous for the advancement of knowledge and understanding through television and electronics.” He went on to caution “the retreat of knowledge and the diminution of understanding” is also a possibility. Neil Postman took this further.
In “Technopoly: The Surrender of Culture to Technology” Neil Postman reminded his reader to manage technology. He seemed to extend the caution advised by Jacques Ellul “The Technological Society” (1954), and to some extent, Carl Jung, The Undiscovered Self (1959). He drew upon McLuhan “Understanding Media; The Extensions of Man” (1964) but also “The Medium is the Message: An Inventory of Effects”, published the same year Debord released “The Society of the Spectacle”
Neil Postman drew upon both Orwell and Huxley in his 1985 “Amusing Ourselves to Death” alongside a plethora of other communication thinkers and theorists in “Crazy Talk Stupid Talk.” (1976.) In “Doublespeak” (1989) William Lutz continued in the tradition of exposing duplicity in language, whilst encouraging critical thought. Neil Postman claimed the capacity to think reflectively was being lost arguing that we are “Informing Ourselves to Death.” He urged to think in meaningful contexts.
Marshal Mcluhan passed away 40 years ago today, 31 December 1980. In 1972, December 31st, Mark Essex went about attempting to exact vengeance against the system he thought had wronged him. He was executed 7th January 1973. On 7 December 1993 Colin Ferguson executed similar acts. In 2016, history repeated and was made. In Dallas, Texas, Micah Johnson killed five police officers (7/7/2016). In retaliation, a drone was used to kill him. In short, they “blew him up using a robot.”