Tuesday, October 7, 2008

Option 2

“The ubiquity and invisibility of cyborgs is precisely why these sunshine-belt machines are so deadly. They are as hard to see politically as materially. They are about consciousness - or its simulation.5 They are floating signifiers moving in pickup trucks across Europe, blocked more effectively by the witch-weavings of the displaced and so unnatural Greenham women, who read the cyborg webs of power so very well, than by the militant labour of older masculinist politics, whose natural constituency needs defence jobs. Ultimately the 'hardest' science is about the realm of greatest boundary confusion, the realm of pure number, pure spirit, C3I, cryptography, and the preservation of potent secrets. The new machines are so clean and light. Their engineers are sun-worshippers mediating a new scientific revolution associated with the night dream of post-industrial society. (4-5)”

Of course, a cyborg in a more traditional sense is a part artificial human or vise versa, but in this paper I think we’re to take it to mean a woman, not an ordinary woman, but a woman who either doesn’t care about women’s rights movement or is entirely ignorant of it. I take sunshine belt machines to mean women who live in third world or more notably Arab countries that exist only to serve men by not being able to show their faces in public and not being allowed to speak at certain times and so on. Greenham women are a group of women that gathered and protested the storage of nuclear material in Greenham, UK.

So what the first couple sentences are saying is the omnipresence of women make it hard to really notice them but they pretend like they care or know about the women’s movement and that is what is hurting women’s rights. This effect is then magnified by the Greenham women, who draw attention away from the problem of all of the cyborg women and onto themselves because they know how to work the system. Because the Greenham women have drawn all the attention to themselves, none can be devoted to attacking the masculinists.

This passage talks about hindering progress the movement has made towards equality by using various techniques for example C3I (command control-communication-intelligence) and it must be working well since “ the new machines are clean and light.” Calling their engineers sun-worshipers means that their creators are man worshipers because the sun deity is usually thought of as being male and the purpose of their new machines are to further society.

This paper is difficult because it makes a detailed analogy of the cyborg and woman. It does so by using complex phrase to paint that detailed picture that may not be achievable otherwise, or at least it wouldn’t be as effective.

3 comments:

Nick Testa said...

First of all, I think you did a decent job explaining the passage. The passage, however, seems a little too long for how short your paper is. It seems that roughly one quarter of your paper is the passage itself. I think you should do one of two things with this: one being cut the passage a little, or two just write a whole lot more about it (I think this is definitely the best route). You did a great job of defining the different groups of women that Haraway referenced, but it seems like you just jump from one group to the next and ignore a lot of your quote. I think it would be a great idea to go even further in your analysis of (every part of) the passage. Like I said before, you did a good job analyzing it by itself, but you should probably further analyze the passage in context to the whole essay. Maybe go into the greater significance of this phrase, as it pertains to her essay. Also, I think it would be a good idea to explain more thoroughly why it was confusing to you. Was it the unfamiliar terms, the wording, the analogies, or something else? It was never really elaborated on (probably needs more than that one sentence) and I think the professor would like to see us fully explain why it’s so hard. Finally, it is not very clear from you paper why she needed to make this paragraph so difficult. You should probably go into more detail on this point because it is a fairly important one.

Mathew said...

“The ubiquity and invisibility of cyborgs is precisely why these sunshine-belt machines are so deadly. They are as hard to see politically as materially. They are about consciousness - or its simulation. They are floating signifiers moving in pickup trucks across Europe, blocked more effectively by the witch-weavings of the displaced and so unnatural Greenham women, who read the cyborg webs of power so very well, than by the militant labour of older masculinist politics, whose natural constituency needs defence jobs. Ultimately the 'hardest' science is about the realm of greatest boundary confusion, the realm of pure number, pure spirit, C3I, cryptography, and the preservation of potent secrets. The new machines are so clean and light. Their engineers are sun-worshippers mediating a new scientific revolution associated with the night dream of post-industrial society. (4-5)”

Of course, a cyborg in a more traditional sense is a part artificial human or vise versa, but in this paper I think we’re to take it to mean a woman, not an ordinary woman, but a woman who either doesn’t care about women’s rights movement or is entirely ignorant of it. I take sunshine belt machines to mean women who live in third world or more notably Arab countries that exist only to serve men by not being able to show their faces in public and not being allowed to speak at certain times and so on. Greenham women are a group of women that gathered and protested the storage of nuclear material in Greenham, UK. They formed a camp at the site, bring RVs and parking them. The group was disbanded sometime in the year 2000 with a historical marker now occupying the site. The women in the pickup trucks are another/different type of feminist whose beliefs clash with those of the Greenham women.
So what the first couple sentences are saying is the omnipresence of women makes it hard to really notice them and the clashing differences between the two or more groups of feminists is what is hurting women’s rights. This effect is then magnified by the Greenham women, who draw attention away from the problem and onto themselves because they know how to work the system. Because the Greenham women have drawn all the attention to themselves, none can be devoted to attacking the masculinists politics, as mentioned in the passage.

This passage goes on to mention hindering progress the movement has made towards equality by using various techniques for example C3I (command control-communication-intelligence) and it must be working well since “ the new machines are clean and light.” Calling their engineers sun-worshipers means that their creators are man worshipers because the sun deity is usually thought of as being male and the purpose of their new machines are to further society.

This paper is difficult because it makes a detailed analogy of the cyborg and feminist groups. One of the reasons I believe its so difficult is because it was written almost 25 years ago so that things mentioned in that article would be commonplace to the reader of that time, but for us, someone reading it today would have no clue what a Greenham women was. Another way the paper is difficult is that it uses complex phrases to paint that detailed picture that may not be achievable otherwise, or maybe at least it wouldn’t be as effective. I think it would be easier to read had she left out some of the adjectives. The first sentence alone contains (I think) 5 adjectives. If those were omitted I think the point would become more visible or at least easier to decipher.

Works Cited:
http://www.greenhamwpc.org.uk/

Adam Johns said...

Nick - good suggestions

Mathew - Nick is right. Your passage is and remains weirdly long, which is the basic source of the problems you have here.

This essay is a mixed bag. You bring in a good source (on the Greenham women), but rather than focusing on that source and unpacking the significance of these women in detail, you jump all over the long passage, and in the process you make a number of questionable readings (sunshine = sun god, etc.) which aren't in any obvious way justified by the text. In some ways, this passage is considerably harder than you give it credit for, which make some of your explanations seem too hurried and assured.

Again, focusing on this group of women was a good idea; focusing more narrowly on them and therefore a shorter passage (where, in turn, you could have paid more attention to details of structure, grammar, etc., which is part of why some of your readings are dubious) would have strengthened the resulting paper greatly.