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"If you're done molesting the furniture, can we get these guys?"
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September 03 2009

Dollhouse in H+ Magazine. Interesting read about the show. (starts on pg. 34)

I disagree when he basically says that none of the actors who are playing dolls can act though.

Stick to neuroscience and stay away from TV criticism I reckon
Josh Whedon? There's a fourth brother?
He didn't catch all the specifics of the show, but I think he caught more of the metaphorical and moral implications than usual.
Okay, whatever you do, do not read the small article at the top of page 14. Then do not go to the website of the company concerned.
Seriously. Not safe for work and just scary. WTF is wrong with Germans? (As Kyle in South Park once asked)
I always favour Josh' work over Joss'. But thats just me.
Yesterday my film teacher referenced Joss (talking about the various writers who had worked on Waterworld) but he called him Josh. I didn't say anything, though--I was too pleased that he got a shout-out at all.
He gets most of what's there to get IMO albeit with a fair amount of snark in the mix though there isn't much in the article that's new (though if it intrigues anyone not already watching then that's a win). I did find the comment about cartridges that resemble 8-track tapes a bit funny though, presumably this is a 21st century trends pundit that's never actually looked inside the big boxy thing that sits beside/underneath the funny changing picture thing on his desk. Or maybe he's just a Mac user.

(hint: they're hard-drives)

In general I sometimes think the "coming singularity" peeps are mildly banoonoos but theirs is at least an interesting perspective and an entire magazine for free can't be bad (quite a download though at ~ 130 MB). Especially one with a Jo-Co interview.

Also, I went to page 14 despite zz9's advice. To paraphrase Liz Lemon, I want to un-go to there.
I defintely went for the Page Fourteen goodness and am now definitely many euros more in debt than I was a few minutes ago.
And would like to reiterate how definitely joking I was about that last post.

Definitely.
Yeah, yeah, we believe you, thousands wouldn't ;).
Josh Whedon? There's a fourth brother?

Actually, I think there are five, but none are named Josh. Perhaps they're thinking of Josh Weldon? I hear he's a very talented guy.
He can't hold a candle to Joe Sweden though.
I don't think that reviewer saw Epitaph One; "flirting with" the possibility of immortality? How about showing just how appalling that could be?

But then, this article seems in the vein of "technological gimmicks will save the day!" Which is directly the opposite from Joss's main message on the show, which is "technological gimmicks will enslave us all."

Knowing what I know of people -- I'm with Joss.
I wasn't aware there was a movement called transhumanism. I think the truth is somewhere between save and enslave, or maybe a mixture of both.
I think Zed Whedon said it best: It all depends on us.
If someone says Josh Whedon + something positive, I smile and give them props for trying. If someone says Josh Whedon + something negative, I slam them for being uninformed. Is this a common tactic among fans or am I just ornery?
I agree that the reviewer probably hasn't seen E1, since "Haunted" can fairly be described as "flirting" with the possibility, while E1 brings out every transhumanist concept the show ever hinted at in full throttle.

And I would not agree that Joss says "technology will enslave us all". E1 leaves the technology far too ambivalent for that clear message to get to me. The chair (while causing everything and being used as a weapon in the end) is also an instrument of Topher (the "it all depends on us"-trope). consider the chair being linked to nuclear power (via "Echo"/"Stage Fright") and this is when stuff gets fuzzy: You have an atomic bomb made out of nuclear power, designed to destroy Nazis. And you have the Dollhouse itself being a concetration camp, encapsulating the chair. That's tricky stuff, considering how other apocalpyse franchises (i.e. Terminator, that also went down the "nuclear power + technology = bad future"-road) dealt with it. Dollhouse is - as always - not specific about a moral position it wants to take. It is, however, specific about the way it wants to ask you the question.

Also consider that Caroline's plan to save people consists of using older (and thus more reliable?) technology. Gone is any hint of "the soul is the most important thing"-mantra. The other Actuals do the same thing: In order to really know if somebody is who they're saying... they rely on older technology (tattoo/birthmarking). That's the beauty of the show: It clearly doesn't want you to take the easy way out via any kind of essentialism. You can't even be sure if you're alive or not (Caroline in Iris' body). What you're left with is equipment. You better use it right.

Back on topic: For an article at least touching these aspects of the show, I'm very willing to overlook an Joshs and whatnot. I was wondering when there's gonna be some response from the transhumanist perspective, and seems like the discussion's just started.
Is this a common tactic among fans or am I just ornery?

It's a common tactic among everyone, seems like you may just be human ;).

Personally I also don't take from 'Dollhouse' that "technological gimmicks will enslave us all.", to me it's saying "technological gimmicks are just technological gimmicks until we apply them for good or ill". And in general, throughout Whedonia (it's the kingdom of all Joss' fiction ;), objects are just objects, they have no meaning or abilities outside of what we impart to them.

I also don't particularly take that message from the article BTW and transhumanists generally seem to believe that technology has the capacity to change us radically but the direction of that change is down to us.
...transhumanists generally seem to believe that technology has the capacity to change us radically but the direction of that change is down to us.

Doesn't that depend on the transhumanist? A lot of people infatuated with the "singularity", for instance, seem to suggest that we cannot, as humans, actually and properly conceive what a transhuman/posthuman existence would be like. And if we can't conceive of what it would be like, then we can't really determine the direction or nature of change either, can we?
Sure, whenever you talk about a group you're generalising about that group. "Transhumanist" is like "Joss Whedon fan" and has about as many off-shoots and sub-groups, most of them believe some things and then it varies (not all transhumanists are into the singularity for instance and some - I can't really say how many or even if it's "a lot" - of those that are think it can be predicted and guided to a significant extent).

But I think very few transhumanists would subscribe to the idea that technology is just inherently somehow going to fix everything, whether we use it wisely or not, it's about the possibility of improvement through technology and reason, not the inevitability.
If your understanding of transhumanism comes mainly from this magazine which is the case with me, having blissfully avoided it until now I believe you should be excused for entertaining the thought that its readers are, as Saje put it, mildly banoonoos, and, having transplanted several religious ideas into their philosophy, likely to believe there is some higher purpose to it all. I now almost wish I could unread the whole thing.
Why on earth would the magazine's pdf be 130 MB !?! What's embedded in there - the Manhattan phonebook with photos of each individual Manhattanite?

I know it's 92 pgs, but seriousfully, if I can reduce its file size down to 26.4 MB using just Acrobat Pro, they could've made it even smaller cutting the pdf from the native InDesign CS3 file. I think it's at least 300 dpi, which is print quality. Methinks someone doesn't really know what they're doing./end graphics rant

zz9: "Josh Whedon? There's a fourth brother?"

The Whedon Brothers are Joss, Josh, Ross, Joe, Jazz, Jed, Zack, Zac, Zach, Sam, Grumpy, Matt, Merriweather, Hinky and Dopey.

Hail, Hail Whedonia.
The Whedon Brothers are Joss, Josh, Ross, Joe, Jazz, Jed, Zack, Zac, Zach, Sam, Grumpy, Matt, Merriweather, Hinky and Dopey.

You forgot Moe, the Asian male Whedon.
Oh, right - the goofy-yet-wise-old violin-playing ninja mathematician with computer skills.

I forgot.

*hangs head*

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