Tuesday, February 20, 2007


My first paper for LIT 6932 (Time, Space, and Science Fiction) is called "Alien/Nations: Cyborg Politics in Lafferty's 'Slow Tuesday Night' and Pohl's 'Day Million.'" As usual, I picked a couple of stories so obscure that there has been absolutely no scholarly research done on them since the year 2000.

On the other hand, I also picked a contemporary critical theorist, Donna Haraway, who is (in)famous for her works "A Manifesto for Cyborgs" and "The Promises of Monsters: A Regenerative Politics for Inappropriate/d Others." I'm using Haraway's ideology, generally known as "Cyborg Theory," as a springboard for a more general discussion of transhumanism. That brings me out of the postmodern wilderness and back to more familiar territory: political ideology, especially social justice, which is my primary specialty in political science.

Here's my outline:

A. Transhumanism and Cyborg Theory
1. What is Transhumanism?
2. Cyborg Theory = Transhumanism + Feminism + Socialism
B. Significance of the Cyborg Manifesto
1. Feminism (but Transhumanist)

2. Socialism (but Transhumanist)

3. Transhumanism (but Socialist)
4. Very popular, famous, critical theory (anthologized in Norton)
C. "Slow Tuesday Night" and "Day Million" as responses to the same phenomena that engaged Haraway

A. Romance vs. Enlightenment (Brin)
1. Neophobia vs. Neophilia
2. Third Axis of Political Spectrum
3. Luddites vs. Transhumanists in all camps
B. Transhumanism
1. Definition and Camps
2. Significance: All Your Luddites Are Belong To Us (dustbin of history)
3. Post-Scarcity and Distribution of Goods (quote Ackerman and Friedman)
4. Identity Crisis; Property Rights Over One's Own Body (quote Friedman and Locke)

A. Transhumanism
1. Extropianism (Libertarian Transhumanism)
2. Democratic Transhumanism
3. Technoconservatism (Anti-Transhumanism)
B. Cyborg Theory as a branch of Transhumanism
1. Primary aspects
2. Relationship to Feminism

3. Relationship to Socialism

4. Relationship to Transhumanism

A. "Slow Tuesday Night"
1. Postmodernist (critique of Modernism), and Romantic (prefers good old days);
2. "playful and sarcastic" "ironic political fable" like Haraway
3. Critique of Capitalism (Postmodernist)
a. Alienation of Labor
b. Fetishism of Commodity
c. Financial insecurity (giant roulette wheel)
4. Critique of Sexism
5. Critique of Consumerism/Materialism

B. "Day Million" -- A Transhuman Future!
1. Description/Classifications
a.Modernist (Pohl is an old-fashioned Social Democrat)
b. Enlightenment (pro-future)
c. Not ironic about self (Modernist, not PoMo)
d. Humanist
e. Socialist by Interpolation (from Pohl's views)
f. Uses colloquial language, friendly attitude, dialogue with the reader

2. Cyborgs With A Human Face
a. Fits all of Haraway's definitions of Cyborgs (three transgressions), and all her other characteristics as well. These folks are literally cyborgs as well as being genetically engineered.
b. Alienation of Reproduction from Sex (Sulva) -- it's a Cyborg Sex Story!
c. Individualist Transhumanism, plus Socialism, and Feminism

A. Romance vs. Enlightenment (been around since ~1800)
D. These Two Stories Showcase All This!

Viscus: The Problem with Legalizing Drugs

Viscus suggests that Ilya Somin's article in favor of drug re-legalization (at the Volokh Conspiracy) misses the point when it apparently claims the main benefit would be reducing prison rapes (by reducing the number of people in prison). Instead, Viscus asks "Would it make cases like, People v. Bell, more or less common?"

I completely agree with Viscus on that -- I support drug re-legalization because I want to reduce (actually, I want to eliminate) the murders of (and other harms to) innocent bystanders.

If legalizing drugs means more people will use more drugs, quite frankly, I think it's absolutely worth it AS LONG AS IT MEANS NO INNOCENT PEOPLE GET HURT BY DRUG ADDICTS ANY MORE!