Jessica Westermeier, The Frankenstein Myth

Rushing and Frentz article “The Frankenstein Myth in Contemporary Cinema,” attempts to explore how the science fiction movies we see is a means for humans to explore and realize our unconscious fear that the technology we create will eventually lead to our species becoming obsolete.  They analyze the dystopian view these films create to explain what they call the shadow. “Every cultural era, in other words, like every individual, is predisposed to “see” certain things and to ignore others. That which a person dislikes and does not wish to recognize about oneself is repressed into unconsciousness (purposely forgotten), where it carries on an active life away from the strictures of the ego, erupting into consciousness in such processes as dreams and projections, which compensate for the one-sided attitude of the conscious ego.” (Rushing, 1989, pg. 63). The represed part they are referring to is the shadow. They examine 3 films to prove their case, these films include, Blade Runner, Rocky IV, and The Terminator, each one a shining example of technology forcing an unexpected and often harmful change to the daily operations of the films humans. “Rocky IV. Beneath its ideological transparencies, Rocky IV,  suggests that people have extended themselves through and become dependent upon their tools to act for them and that technology is thus making over the human agent   ( regardless of nationality) in its own image, systematically restructuring its scene and emptying it of moral purpose.” (Rushing, 1989, pg. 65-66). The authors explore what they refer to as “recreational technology,” that is the use of technology by humans for frivolous reasons, not even Adrian, Rocky’s loving supported is immune.

The authors acknowledge that while some of the characters in these films seem oblivious to their impending doom, other are not as ignorant. The most difficult part for me to grasp with this weeks reading is the connection between the feminine and that realization of technologies down side.  ” Those who recognize the shadow side of technological progress seem to do so because they identify their own escalating enslavement with the prolonged historical subjugation of women and the feminine values to patriarchal social structures and their technological extensions.” (Rushing, 1989, pg. 73). My assumption is that they are making the connection based on women’s previous enslavement to man, and that historical viewpoint allows them unique perspective into the future enslavement of man by technology, but I could be wrong. Earlier in the article they attempt to explain “feminine consciousness moves from the periphery toward the center of analogical pattern of inclusion to identification,” ( Rushing, 1989, pg. 65). But even our analogical pattern of whatever cannot save us from the apparent Terminator style doomsday that is inevitable due to our technological progress.


Discussion Questions:

1. If these movies are a representation of a deep seeded fear that one day technology will take over and we as a species will become obsolete, what solutions can we then also take from these films?

2. If this article was posted in 1989, over twenty years ago, what would the authors have to say about films like The Matrix, and Avatar?

3. If we, as the creators of technology are too stupid to install a fail safe button on our creations, do we deserve our fate?


About westermeiej

I am a Comm 563 student
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