In this most recent episode of Dollhouse, we witnessed a future stricken by evil tech. This technology takes away every aspect of humanity in the brain and literally turns people into walking killers. These people kill anyone who isn’t programmed to kill. Personalities are completely altered. No one is themselves. The world has been turned upside down. Only Echo, along with others from the Dollhouse, and her split personalities, can save the world. Looking into the past though, personalities were put into Echo one by one. These personalities weren’t created to lead a revolution. How did Echo succeed?
Alpha was the one who put all of Echo’s past personalities into her head at once. Alpha couldn’t handle the stress of multiple personalities, but Echo could. She is strong and now is able to access each personality separately. Although not created to lead a rebellion, Echo is able to use all of her past memories and experiences to give her an advantage. Once there are two Echos, one real and one in the little girl’s body, we know that they will prevail.
The show seems to want to show how she grows as a character. Echo can’t grow though. At the end of every episode she is wiped clean, forgetting almost everything from her assignments. I actually enjoy this show. I think that imprinting is actually a really cool idea, granted the show takes it too far sometimes. They turn imprinting into a form of slavery. I watched the season finales from both Season 1 and 2 and they take place in the years 2019 and 2020. The imprinting technology has taken over almost everyone’s minds and it is making them kill everyone in sight. Echo, Ballard, Dewitt, Sierra, and Victor are some of the Dollhouse members who figure out how to stop it. The failures on the part of the Dollhouse end up coming back to bite them in the butt. They have ended the world, so to speak, because of their advancing technology created by Topher. Only at the end of the world did people realize that imprinting was wrong.
In “Epitaph Two,” Topher invents a way to fix what he created. A sort of undo button. Everyone hit by this new imprint will regain their old memories, but will forget everything after they were first affected by the bad imprint. Basically, millions of people wake up years in the future with no clue what is going on. More chaos is obviously going to ensue. The series ends leaving things “better”. The world is no longer killing each other, but I wish the show had addressed how they were going to fix the world. Entire cities were burned to the ground. Will the Dollhouses around the world be blamed for stealing people’s identities? Is imprinting wrong? Not allowing people to be themselves, but rather other people’s slaves, is wrong. In the future, Echo is able to remain Echo and also be the other personality that is imprinted into her mind. This is the kind of imprinting I think is acceptable; one that does not alter your own self first.
What do you think the future episodes would have told us about imprinting? Do you think it is wrong? The probono work Dr. Saunders works on is good for the community? Is imprinting wrong in this instance?
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The most interesting section of these chapters, to me, was the conversation Jules has with Rita and Tom, Lil’s parents. In their conversation, Rita tells Jules the story of how her and Tom first met. It is a very intimate story that embarrasses Lil. She says, “Jesus, Rita, no one needs to hear about that part of it (77).” Her parents retort saying that she has no say in what can and cannot be said in their conversation. Rita blames this outburst on the fact that Lil was raised in Walt Disney World. Rita believes that Lil’s generation had an easier time with life and therefore are lacking “fire” and “passion.” I would say that our current generation is much like Lil’s generation. A lot of us have had things handed to us without any work having to be done to earn it. We hear that our parent’s generation, and really every generation before that, had to work hard at everything and that nothing was given to them. I think that our generation lacks “fire” and “passion.” With the introduction of so much new technology in our lifetime, we haven’t been accustomed to old fashion ways of doing things. Our grandparents, and some parents, can hardly use a computer while our young generation is so dependent on it. I feel like sometimes our generation is looking to the future, ready to embrace the new technologies to come, while older generations are stuck in the past. Although our generation may lack a certain “fire” and “passion” that older generations possessed, I do think we have the ability to except change and new ideas. I see our generation as being very open, while older generations seemed to be closed and somewhat frozen in the past.
Our generation has been given gifts that help us in everyday life. New technologies are created every year that surpass the ones from the year before. The quick, smart, and young pick these new technologies up with ease while those older try to figure out what is going on. iPhones and Blackberries are something that I know my grandparents just cannot understand. In Down and Out in the Magic Kingdom, there is an advantage to being able to live forever. Unlike our older generations who have to take time to pick up new ideas and technologies, the generations in the utopian society depicted by Doctorow have all the time in the world to learn. There is no time limit on life, and therefore no time limit on learning. This is why it is okay for Jules to date Lil who is 15% of his age. Jules is a full century older than Lil, but because they look roughly around the same age it is okay for them to date. Rules we see today don’t matter because in their world, time doesn’t matter.
What do you think about time in the future depicted by Doctorow? What do you think about the different generations depicted in the novel as well? There are times where Jules tells himself that since he is over a century older than Lil he needs to act more mature than her. I find that interesting because in our society our elders are expected to be more mature but we don’t usually meet elders who are a century older than us.
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Imagine a world almost identical to Earth set in a time somewhat in the future. This world is created in Ursula K. Le Guin’s book The Dispossessed, and it is called Urras. They have a central government, an economy, and social classes. They strive for glamour and are always looking for the next best thing. Anarres is a polar opposite planet to Urras with no government, no economy, and everyone working on the same level to ensure sustainability. There is hostility between the Urrasti and the people of Anarres rooted in betrayal. An Urrasti philosopher started a colony on Anarres to get away from the quickly growing, materialistic world of Urras. The colony grew and became mostly self-sustaining, but still needed some basic necessities from neighboring Urras. Shevek, an Anarres physicist, decides he wants to learn all he can from the Urrasti instead of hate them like the rest of his people. The planet he arrives on is a utopia, and very different than Anarres.
To an Urrasti, Urras is home. The Urrasti see their planet very similarly to how we view Earth. Shevek is amazed by the splendor of not only the actual planet Urras, but every small detail as well. It is as if he is a toddler in a candy shop. He looks at every object as if it is a new toy. On Anarres, everyone dressed casually and nothing was too detailed. There was no time to experience the “pleasures” of life because the planet needed to be kept sustainable. No one could ever really have a day off. Living on a desert planet does not allow for that. That is not true on Urras. On Urras, Shevek gets the chance to view “women in full gowns that swept the floor, their breasts bare, their waists and neck and heads adorned with jewelry and lace and gauze, [and] the men in trousers and coats or tunics of red, blue, violet, gold, green, with slashed sleeves and cascades of lace (23).” It is a culture shock for Shevek when he is thrown into a room with so many elegant and beautiful Urrasti. Their customs of shaving off all hair and wearing jewels all over their body was something that Shevek was expecting, but regardless was still in shock. Once Shevek’s welcoming part is over, he retires to his room and is still in awe of the splendor around him. He stares into his empty water cup with the “rim of gold” reflecting back on his first day on a new world (25).
The people of Anarres always looked down on the Urrasti. Each race assumed they were superior to the other. The children on Anarres have views of the Urrasti as elegant materialistic fools who “[lie] around naked in the sun with jewels in their navels (41).” Shevek grew up with these stereotypes and was somewhat shocked to find out that they were true. Granted the Urrasti do not lie around naked all day, but they do have something about them that make them seem unreal. After his first night on Urras, Shevek begins exploring his room. He finds “a closet big enough to hold the clothing of a ten-man dormitory,” his own personal bathroom with fixtures he has never seen before, and chests with drawers “of beautifully carved wood (64).”Le Guin uses so much detail when describing items on Urras. When speaking about Anarres, everything seems rustic and run down. This is ironic because Urras is significantly older than Anarres. The same people, genetically, live in complete opposite worlds, and it is something that Shevek is starting to grasp. The people of Urras have a lot of stuff. They take up excess space for no reason and always want things to be bigger. The Urrasti society is very materialistic and follows the stereotype given to them on Anarres.
Le Guin uses intricate details to show how different the Anarres people and the Urrasti really are. The Urras utopia seems picture perfect at first and even Shevek is roped in to believe this when he thinks, “this is what a world is supposed to look like (65).” The splendor of Urras is a front to make up for the deteriorating society that will become more obvious as the book progresses. A society obsessed with status cannot be completely functional and will eventually fail. The Anarres society will be the future, not Urras. Anarres will dispossess Urras.
What do you think about Anarres eventually taking Urras’ place? Will they become a better society?
Do you think about Urras’ society eventually fail because of its obsession with being the best and having the best? Do you think they are a materialistic society? Can being a materialistic society cause the downfall of that society?
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“Let This Be Your Last Battlefield” truly brings the crew of the U.S.S. Enterprise to the last battlefield for two aliens that find their way onto their ship. The crew finds themselves thrown into a feud that has been going on for more than 50,000 terrestrial years. The feud is rooted in race, which is surprising to the crew of the Enterprise because the two aliens look so similar. The episode highlights racism that we can trace back to our own world in the 1960s.
Although the two aliens from Cheron look very similar, Bele and Lokai are polar opposites and would like nothing more than to see the other destroyed. Lokai explains Cheron to be a “land of murdering oppressors” (Star Trek, Season 3 Episode 15) where he tried to lead a rebellion to free his people. The crew finds themselves in a somewhat helpless situation as Bele takes control over the ship twice. The Enterprise captain James T. Kirk finds ways to outsmart Bele and regain control, but in the end cannot stop the two from their demise. Once the Enterprise reaches Cheron, Bele and Lokai, along with the crew, discover that the planet has been completely destroyed. Even though no one is left alive on the surface, this does not stop Bele and Lokai from beaming down and continuing their lifelong fight. The inhabitants of the planet all died because of the differences in class, which really come from the differences in pigmentation. This was too much for the inhabitants to handle, and consequently a civil war broke out that consumed the planet. It is fascinating to see that the tension between Lokai and Bele derives solely from the fact that their faces are colored differently. One has black on the left and white on the right while the other is opposite. Bele claims that “Lokai is of an inferior breed” (Star Trek, Season 3 Episode 15) and therefore looks down upon him because of the order of colors on his face. This minute difference in pigmentation causes such hostility and is obvious that one coloration is considered to belong to the master race.
It is interesting that race plays such a big role in this episode. The United States was a very prejudice place in the 1960s and the fact that Lieutenant Uhura is an African-American woman was surely frowned upon by many fans and Americans in general. Since the show takes place several hundred years in the future, the crew aboard the Enterprise has no preconceived notion of what racism really was. There was not any question of race to determine whether Lieutenant Uhura was an excellent communications officer. Captain Kirk wanted to change the thinking of the two Cheron aliens so that they could function the same way. When blacks were fighting for equal rights in the 1960s, they tried to solve their problem peacefully, for the most part. Martin Luther King led the Civil Rights movement and instead of trying to completely destroy the whites that oppressed his people, like Lokai tried to do to Bele, he worked civilly. This episode can be seen as a message to the American people to not allow racism and prejudice to consume their lives, because if it does Earth, or at least the United States, could be doomed just like Cheron.
Today, we have made many steps to end racism and prejudice in our country and around the world. Sadly, it still exists in some places. We have people working to completely exterminate these issues that corrupt our world, but everyone needs to pitch in order to make a real difference. Looking back at examples like Martin Luther King and this episode of Star Trek, “Let This Be Your Last Battlefield”, can help us to see more clearly the path we need to take to end racial inequality.
Do you think this episode can be seen as a message to the American people? Can the tension between Lokai and Bele still be seen in places around the world? What can we learn from the mistakes of not only Lokai and Bele, but the entire planet of Cheron?
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My name is Cedric. I guess I’ll say where I sit like everyone else has. I sit in the corner away from the door. I have never blogged before but I enjoy reading some big ones so I think this will be very fun. Can’t wait to see how this blog will grow!
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