Obedience and Robots

I found myself idly watching films on the Netflix, and would now like to share some observations.

The Tears of a Giant Lizard

Anyone who has watched the original 1954 film Gojira will see it not as a monster movie, but as an anti-war film. The monster, Gojira, was nature punishing a country for its arrogant and destructive ways, even after said country had clearly been punished enough. The message: nature fights dirty and will kick you when you’re down. This is, by the way, starkly different from my own strategy, which I will not reveal, even when my nemesis is secured onto the platform slowly moving toward the giant saw blade, because I learned my lesson last time. Anyway, to save themselves, the pitiful humans must resort to killing the one-of-a-kind beast (instead of fitting it with an obedience chip) and shaming themselves even further. One of the main characters even commits suicide while watching Gojira die, because he is so ashamed of what he’s doing. This is kind of a depressing movie, my friends.

How, then, did we get to this?

The later Godzilla classics, made primarily in the 1960s and 70s, are pure cheese. Granted, they are the kind of cheese that comes in a can and is easily dispensable directly into one’s mouth—in a word: fun. But that knowledge alone doesn’t help us let go of the gross inconsistencies in the Godzilla universe. Further complicating our understanding is the notion that Godzilla as a science fiction oeuvre may have as many alternate timelines as the Star Trek universe. One diligent soul out there posits that there may be as many as five different timelines through which we can understand the giant beast and his relationship to humanity. The trouble with this is that Godzilla, unlike Star Trek, was not designed to be a series of consecutive stories leading to a greater narrative, but it looks as if, at some point, someone certainly put in a lot of effort toward that end.

The path toward general cheesiness could have begun with the introduction of Godzilla’s first monster enemy. After all, what breeds zaniness more than two guys in rubber suits slugging it out? One guy in a rubber suit. I’m saying that Godzilla, as a cultural item, was destined from the very beginning to become wacky fun. If the DVD bonus documentary tells us anything, it is that the guys who created the original Gojira suit had a ball creating it and making it work. Sure, they ran through stuntmen like Kleenex because of heat stroke and inadequate ventilation, but the fact that it worked at all spurred them on. As rubber suit technology advanced, the character naturally became more cartoonish to compliment the added mobility. One could never reasonably expect such a creation to stay true to its serious, politically relevant roots.

Why I Don’t Use Robots

Let’s look, for a moment at the 1975 incarnation, The Terror of Mechagodzilla. As a follow-up to the previous year’s Godzilla vs. Mechagodzilla (Godzilla vs. Cosmic Monster in the United States), we find the spacemen from the third planet of the black hole scheming once again to take over the world with Mechagodzilla, because that worked out so well for them last time. But this time, they’re teaming it up with an ineffectual sea monster, and have improved this version of the robot monster. Improved how, you ask? Not a clue. Supposedly, its finger missiles (fingers that are actually missiles, leaving behind a stump of a hand) are higher yield or something, but I hardly noticed a difference, except that they seemed shorten the time it took Godzilla to twist Mechagodzilla’s head off. As Godzilla is eating Lucky Charms from the empty head, he is felled by a blast from the robot impostor’s rainbow-colored neck stump. Aha! An improvement! Oh, no, wait. It’s apparently a tickle beam, and Godzilla is so amused that he accidentally cleaves Mechagodzilla’s body in twain and unceremoniously discards the remains.

So, what was the change? What made New Mechagodzilla so special? Instead of being controlled by a built-in computer brain, with its lightning-quick calculations and cold logic, the spacemen brought an earthling scientist to their side, made a cyborg out of his daughter, and allowed her brain to control the robot via wi-fi. Then they brought her lover into the room, tied him to a chair, and watched as their plans went up in flames.

This is why, in my humble opinion, robots never work as a means for global domination, and why you keep sex dolls and world conquest separate. Some of my colleagues would disagree, but their robots either rebelled and killed them or were so over-designed that they defeated the purpose of having robot minions in the first place: expendability.

Obedience chips are the wave of the future. Trust me.


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