Sunday Best: Vol. 8

A tribute to Imperator Furiosa and her ilk, A Woman Warrior’s Work by Jess Zimmerman questions the limits of femininity and celebrates fierce characters like Tamora Pierce’s beloved Alanna.

“Even when you’re wearing heels,” a friend told me, “you walk like you’re wearing combat boots.”

Two worthwhile essays on Ex Machina, which is thus far tied with Mad Max: Fury Road (of course) as the best movie I’ve seen this year: Double Future: Ex Machina wasn’t Her by Nathan Jurgenson, and Feminus Ex Machina by Marysia Jonsson and Aro Velmet. Some great stuff on technology and gender. (And P.S. I loved Her. It was just more Wes Anderson than Stanley Kubrick, yes?)

That the A.I. had to do the bidding of an owner was something Her could forget but Ex Machinacan’t ignore. What Her couldn’t attend to is that objectification, the purchasing of a consciousness for companionship and service, cannot be detethered from gender (as well as other social vulnerabilities like race and sexual orientation that the films rarely explore).

This gendering of AIs as female in popular culture reflects a change in our perceptions of technological possibility. Today, rather than an omnipotent HAL to guide our spaceships and resolve our political differences, we want tactile gadgets that adapt to our emotional needs and remember our preferences: a pocket Stepford wife, voiced by Siri. Technological overreach is less likely to recall visions of a nuclear holocaust and more likely to remind us of our Internet addictions.

Oh look, Abby Norman is making her pants size a striking metaphor in When Your Pants and Your Life Don’t Fit.

I was asking God to help me lose weight. Instead He made me buy bigger pants.

Much has been made of Carrot Quinn’s You Think You Have Time: Hiking the Lowest to Highest Trail, and for good reason. It’s as small as a sip of yellow water and as big as the undistilled sky.

I’m here, living out of my backpack. Because this is what feels like life, and all those other things feel like death, or at the very best a sort of suspended place between life and death.

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