The Code of the Robot
Natalie and I are both flying to Montreal today for the annual academic conference in our field. Since I am behind on a dozen things, including packing and finding my passport, I will offer a few reflections and questions, instead of a full-out post:–while ostensibly the episode was governed by Jack’s day of slumming it with the common man (thanks to a bad case of bedbugs, or as Kenneth tells us Ozark Kisses or Blue Ridge Quilt Ticklers) – another part of the search for the real America – I found his flip-flop ideology of robot verses caring human to be much more salient commentary on American life. As unemployment hits a 26 year record high, lots of Americans – employees and bosses – are caught in exactly this dichotomy: obeying the law of the bottom line with cool, calculating rationalism, or responding to the real human needs, lives, and emotions that are caught up in the economic crisis. In the end it is the caring robot, the only one who extends a helping, if silver painted hand, to ostracized Jack, whose code of conduct is praised. Though hiring him as the new TGS actor only emphasizes what kind of syncophantic bubble Jack still lives in, no matter how many Woodsman’s Companions accompany him through the day.
–I choked on my Pad Thai when they pulled a Susan Boyle. Though I am really glad we didn’t have to watch the grand finale, removed underwear and all.
–Jack asking for assistance transferring to the 4 train: painful, over the top, but oh so accurate in its portrayal of the “look the other way” dynamic. I am amazed at myself, and other metro riders, when a homeless person starts making a plea for money and we all turn up our iPods, look more firmly at the print of our books, or stare blankly ahead. We might as well physically recoil.
–dot.com’s acting turn – I so wish I could have seen that performance of The Seagull.
Posted by Kathryn