Esther’s Space- journey through my life

April 22, 2007

I’m sorry Donna, but we just can’t be friends…

Filed under: THEORY 330 — estherspace @ 10:08 pm

I tried to be open-minded. Really, even after I read the title, “A Manifesto for Cyborgs: Science, Technology, and Socialist Feminism the 1980s” I decided that, since we’ve been having such a great streak with these readings, perhaps I now have the skills to take on these ridiculous pieces and ‘own’ the concepts for myself. I was wrong. Now, I’m back to that Barry tool of taking maybe just a little piece and masticating upon it for a while.

Okay, you can try to make her look cool by saying that she has blurred the distinctions between science and fiction, making it ‘new’ and ‘innovative’ when she says, “the boundary between science fiction and social reality is an optical illusion” (2269). Certainly, some individuals have made this argument, because it is one of her most often quoted lines, such as in this article. However, I would argue that is not separately science and fiction that she is dealing with, but purely bona-fide, L. Ron Hubbard quality, science fiction here. It doesn’t make sense because it’s crazy talk.

It was rather difficult for me to fully understand what Haraway was arguing for in this article. (I do like to think that I’m not the only one, since this site, a self-announced “Ode to Donna” doesn’t even really talk about her writings, ideas, and accomplishments, instead a book about dogs and how cool she is as a person, yet has been maintained since 1996) Anyhow, back to the crazy talk. Haraway writes, “The cyborg is a matter of fiction and lived experience that changes what counts as women’s experience in the late twentieth century” (2269). A cyborg being, “a hybrid of machine and organism,” (2269) I am led to wonder what’s the cyborg; feminism, the new gender, females, non-heterosexual beings or its, society? Where is this manifested, or ‘where da cyborgs at’? But, at the same time, Haraway seems to recognize her cyborgs as impossible, referring to her ideas as the “cyborg myth” (2274). So, we won’t have cyborgs taking over the earth (at least not in the near future), even if it may have looked like “late-twentieth-century machines have made thoroughly ambiguous the difference between natural and artificial….Our machines are disturbingly lively, and we ourselves frighteningly inert” (2272) in 1985, it is harder to swallow now, since we know that a machine is only as capable as the individual who has programmed it.

I’m not a fan of sci-fi. I’m not a fan of Haraway. It doesn’t make me think critically, it only makes me judgemental and grumpy. What do I do with this, where do I go with it, and how can it enrich me? And where did the cyborgs go after the first chapter? Why, Donna, why?

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3 Comments »

  1. Thank God for Esther, because I completely agree with you! I disliked the Haraway reading immensely.

    “I would argue that is not separately science and fiction that she is dealing with, but purely bona-fide, L. Ron Hubbard quality, science fiction here. It doesn’t make sense because it’s crazy talk.”

    I loved this sentiment because I feel the exact same way, I read Haraway put my book down and went “I don’t get it.” *Shoulder shrug* I mean I can pull out bits and pieces that make a little sense but overall I think H. is a crazy person or crazy cyborg in her case.

    “I’m not a fan of sci-fi. I’m not a fan of Haraway. It doesn’t make me think critically, it only makes me judgemental and grumpy. What do I do with this, where do I go with it, and how can it enrich me? And where did the cyborgs go after the first chapter? Why, Donna, why?”

    I kind of like sci-fi, the dumbed down version on the sci-fi network I don’t have to think about. The only comfort I had in this reading was making fun of it, and then reading your post to find you feel the same way. Thank you.

    Comment by Keva Roberts — April 23, 2007 @ 7:57 am

  2. Yeah, I’m on Team Esther too. While reading this I started thinking to myself, What am I going to write for my blog portfolio, that I’m back where I started? I used Barry’s technique of focusing on a small portion of the text as well. How can you not, since there’s thirty freakin’ pages of Haraway? But I think it just means that since we’re struggling a little with it now, we wouldn’t have been able to even handle it in the beginning of the course. Unfortunately, even after our discussion in class today, I’m still strung up on what she means by cyborg. I think she’s using it as a metaphor, but it’s so confusing when she keeps writing about science and technology and the effect they have on feminism. It’s like, wait, I thought the cyborg she was talking about was the fusion of Marxist feminism and radical feminism, but she actually does mean the integration of technology in our lives. And I don’t get sci-fi either. Star Trek was as far as I ever got.

    Comment by kelliem — April 23, 2007 @ 6:52 pm

  3. I agree completely, she is way out there. After our class discussion I see where she was going, but that doesn’t change the fact that she didn’t really get there, and the way she went about it was just ridiculous. If she wanted to talk about gender and identity and groups she should have left the cyborg science fiction out of it.

    Comment by ju1522 — April 24, 2007 @ 7:19 pm


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