Tuesday, February 01, 2005

Mistress of the Universe! Yesterday I made a belated New Year's resolution. I believe I'm entitled to this. My resolution was: I will try not to be a complete techtard. More importantly, I would like to defy sexist stereotypes that chicks are techtards. Here I would like to point out that He-Man: Masters of the Universe is a masculinist allegory of technological mastery. Please consider:

Adam (literally: "man") is prince of Eternia and keeper of Castle Greyskull. His technological prowess (referred to in the series as "power") was revealed to him (i.e. it was always lying dormant within and merely required unleashing) the day he held aloft his magic sword and said: By the power of Greyskull! The sword erupts with electricity - i.e. the power source of electronic devices - and Adam becomes appropriately more tanned and buff to signify that technological mastery makes him more of a man. He dons a garb of iron breastplate, furry undies and boots made of pelts lashed to his legs with leather thongs to represent the apex of mankind's mastery of his environment (the universe).

Then Adam points the sword at his terrified pet cat, Cringer, and says in a voice of thunder, I have the powerrrrr! and Cringer is enveloped by electrical energy too, and becomes the fearless Battlecat, also with a hi-tech saddle for Adam, ahem, He-Man, to ride upon. Hello: the man rides pussy! (This incisive close reading is getting Tarantinoesque in its ridiculousness!) But Adam must save his technological mastery for use in emergencies. He must especially conceal it from Teela, who lusts after He-Man but sees the techtard Adam as a mere friend.

Like Lois Lane, she also has a habit of never realising that Adam and He-Man are never in the same place at the same time, and accepting whatever lame explanation Adam offers. It was like this Mills & Boon I read yesterday at the jumble sale, in which two people fuck at a masked ball without realising they'd actually had sex with each other before. The best they could do was muse upon how they reminded each other of... each other. But I'm too tired to analyse what this selective amnesia might signify here.

Only three people know Adam's secret. They are the Sorceress, a spiritual guide who inhabits Castle Greyskull, i.e. Adam's brain. Skull; grey matter; it's obvious. So, the Sorceress is an avatar of the part of Adam that wants to use technology responsibly, and when he talks about the "power of Greyskull", he means the knowledge that enables him to harness technology. As for the "magic sword", well I'm sure you all know about Freud.

The other two are Man-at-Arms (Teela's dad) and Orko. Man-at-Arms I read as a kind of pragmatic user of technology: someone whose knowledge is limited and specific but definitely useful in a tight spot. Orko is some weird little ghost - I never understood what the fuck he was as a child and I definitely don't right now. He can be the ghost in the machine.

Okay, this analogy went on a little longer than I intended. But basically, my resolution is to be able to understand more of how technology works and interact with it. I plan to make these my main areas of study:

1. Audiovisual technology (esp analog)
2. Nerdy internet technology

I began my study of internet technology tonight when the manslave introduced me to MSN Messenger. I began my study of AV technology yesterday by discovering that a stereo requires three main components: a sound playing device, an amplifier and a speaker. I purchased a record player and got two free speakers at the jumble sale. Now all I need is an amp, some records, and the knowledge to put them together, because for fuck's sake, the speaker cords end in ragged little wires! How am I meant to stick that in anything????

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