Friday, December 28, 2007

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

Maria, The Porcelain Mexican

Just a quick post to drop a link over to the Tex[t]-Mex Galleryblog, where a non-robotic "Mexican" siting is documented.

Friday, October 26, 2007

Hegemony of the Human!

Anthropomorphic personifications, personified anthropomorphisms--humans, humans everywhere....

Lars and the Real Girl

What with the wild fires and a book tour and learning how to chair, I don't really have time to do this justice, but a film just came out that basically embodies the words and images associated with this blog. See it soon and tell me what you think! I will post your findings here asap!

Ebert likes it! Go figure.

Here's the trailer:

Monday, October 15, 2007

Robot/Human Intrigues

I just would not be doing my job, chronicling tales of ersatz humans and their flesh and blood lovemates, if I did not pass on to you this little tale from the 21st century. The original post is off MSNBC here.


Reader Sam Arredondo just zapped in this related link as an update.

Thursday, September 13, 2007


One part ethnic mannequin with the soul of an obscene machine, Zeno is the next great step in the march to a cyborg world. Click here for the story.

Tuesday, September 11, 2007

The Body Politic

A quick link to an artist's website that fuses the Obscene Machine's ongoing obsession with the ersatz, textuality, body as canvas, etc...

Sunday, August 26, 2007

More on People, Mostly Men, and their Ersatz Companions

Readers of these memes know that a fair amount of space is taken up by interrogations of humans and their cyborg/animatronic friends. The BBC weighs in with its findings in this regard:


Monday, August 06, 2007

Little Robot Dude Web Assistant

This is merely an interface for accessing the design archive of the Funnel Design Group, but it embodies a cool retro form of an obscene machine that is gorgeous, clever, and functional.

Beautiful Kinetic 'Monsters'

The Obscene Machine project goes back online with a BMW 'commercial' that is more about aesthetics than commerce, more about movement than phenotype:

Tuesday, May 15, 2007

Grotesquely Fascinating Stereotyping

One of our talented e493 undergraduates has weighed in with a link!

Subject: South of the Border
Date: Fri, 16 Feb 2007 05:03:07 -0500

Greetings Professor Nericcio,

Apparently there was a party at Santa Clara University that "sparked outrage" among members of the Multicultural Center as well as school officials. I wanted to share since it fit right in with our studies under the heading of "Grotesquely Fascinating Stereotyping."

Caitlin Petrakovitz | ENGL 493


of course, it has happened again! Thanks to Stephen W. Bender for the headsup! A CNN video will be here until CNN yanks it. Viva la fiesta, I guess!?

Sunday, May 06, 2007

I have seen the future of the world wide web and it's making me smile...

With a massive tip of the sombrero to the folks at for the headsup on this curious, dynamic, and diverting youtube video.

Thursday, May 03, 2007

Frantz Fanon, Skin Bleaching, Capital, and the Epidermal as Existential...

Late, but salient, Dan Barlow checks in with a post that will "scare you white."

Date: Thu, 3 May 2007 11:56:21 -0700 (PDT)
Subject: English 725: last minute blog work
From: "Dan Barlow"

Dear Professor Nericcio,

Perhaps it is too late for blog entries, but it occurred to me that I've only submitted one thus far. Here is one of scanty proportion that is nonetheless extremely interesting and relevant to issues of racial constructions in the media--something into which you know I am heartily indulging for my seminar paper. Simply put, here's a website touting a salable skin whitening product akin to Fanon's so-called "denegrification" serum...Hollywood's secret remedy for melanocytic malediction:

PS: It even turns nipples pink!

Thanks again and again for everything!!!

Dan Barlow

Wednesday, May 02, 2007

Gustavo Arellano and Ask a Mexican

Our cadre of graduate student correspondents never cease in their mission to scour the web for ethnic mannequin and obscene machine tidbits of note; here Julie Nares files a timely Reuters story:

From: Julie Nares
Subject: interesting article
Date: Tue, 1 May 2007 23:36:45 -0700

Hey Dr. Nericcio! I know it is too late for posting anything on the blogs or anything like that, but I thought you might find this article interesting. I know you have heard of the column "Ask A Mexican" but especially in light of today's discussion on laughter and the perpetuation of stereotypes, I thought Arellano had some interesting thoughts on the subject. He notes that his column constantly gets questions addressing Mexicans by derogatory, yet common slurs, such as "beaners" or "greasers." He deals with these obviously racist people with humor. It is almost as if he recognizes that within laughter lies the problem of perpetuating stereotypes but he also finds the solution to curtailing them. He also recognizes that most people get defensive and angry when they believe they are being made fun of and deals with that with humor too. All in all, I think this author and article is interesting enough to forward to you and to others (?). Hope you enjoy it!

Julie Nares

Here is the link:
PS - Note that the article was under the "Oddly Enough" headline of my Google homepage. I am not sure what to make of someone categorizing this article and man as "odd" because what he is attempting to do seems anything but odd to me.

Spike Lee's Bamboozled, by Kimberly Hart

Kimberly Hart writes in with a brief dispatch on Spike Lee's Bamboozled:

Date: Tue, 01 May 2007 14:17:38 -0700
From: "Kimberly R. Hart" khart@
Subject: Engl 725 Blog potential

Hi Professor Nericcio,

So many things seem to pertain to this class and I don't know why I didn't think of this until now. I saw this film in a black studies course in undergrad and thought it was very interesting and provacative--it's the Spike Lee film, "Bamboozled," that came out in 2000. It's based around an ivy-league educated black writer for a major TV network. He becomes frustrated in being unable to pitch a "Cosby-esque" show and so as a sort of backlash, he creates a blackface minstrel show. The irony is that it becomes a huge hit. What is interesting within this movie is that instead of white actors in blackface, there are black actors in blackface. I thought that this went along quite well with the theme of mannequins and the notion of how we see the black body in media. Although disturbing, I thought the movie was well done, definately making a bold statement. People should see it! Kimberly Hart

Tuesday, May 01, 2007

Will Eisner and Sei Shonogon and Peter Greenaway

"I have found that there are but two things in life which are dependable: the delights of flesh and the delights of literature."
-Sei Shonagon

In the Shonagon inspired film, The Pillowbook, Peter Greenaway asks if these two things are actually much closer to being a single delight. It seems that the late comic legend, Will Eisner, might agree with Greenaway on this topic. Though Eisner is best known as a comic book publishing pioneer and creator of what is arguably thought of as the very first superhero, The Spirit, he has also published quite a few books about the act of graphic storytelling. These books are hailed by today’s most successful and popular comic book writers as must-reads for anyone interested in playing with image and narrative. In essence, it’s comic theory. On pages 14 and 15 of Comics and Sequential Art, Eisner relates the inherent similarities between human bodies and the characters employed in writing with special attention paid to Chinese characters.


Nathan Leaman Calls in with a Posting

Last week, on a very special 30 Rock:

Mandingo was a very sensational, very 1970’s treatment of an oft-repressed moment in American history. Slavery, sexual exploitation, racial oppression—it seems the seventies viewed these issues with equal parts scandal and voyeurism. How, then, do we view these issues today? How do we deal? Apparently with comedy. The running subplot of the critically acclaimed NBC sitcom, 30 Rock, depicts a slightly insane black comic uber-celebrity (think one part Martin Lawrence, one part Eddie Murphy, three parts himself), played by Tracy Morgan, who discovers that not only is he a direct descendent of Thomas Jefferson, but that he is actually 60% white– damn Gina! Throughout the next few episodes, Morgan’s character struggles to launch a new movie project featuring himself playing multiple roles as Thomas Jefferson, his slave, their son, Robert E. Lee and just about every other character needed for the movie. Talk about your black skin, white masks!! It’s actually quite a funny show and most recent episodes can be viewed online for anyone without a television like me. Besides, where else can you find Alec Baldwin dressed as our third president flipping off the audience of the Montel Williams Show quoting Star Wars movies?


Monday, April 30, 2007

Bianca Chapman on Photography

Ace E725 Correspondent Bianca Chapman files a moving meditative fusion of word and image:

the rain exploding
in the air is love
the grass excreting her
green waz is love
and stones remembering
past steps is love,
but you, you are too young
for love
and i too old.

–from Ballad by Sonia Sanchez

Perhaps love is the energy transferred between the real and the abstract; the physics of time and the memory of touch. In that case, the illumination of the pregnant figure is the embodiment of capturing a moment of time overpowered by touch, an examination of the beginning of life and the physical universe holding it all. In The Sweet Breath of Life, a collaboration of photographic images by Kamoinge Inc. and poetry by Ntozake Shange, the energy finds a place to rest in the magnetic footsteps of a pregnant woman dancing on the roof of an urban building. There is an installation of the natural, as rain dances on and off her skin magically in a still photograph. Time passes with the dance of steady raindrops. The world around her moves with her. There is asymmetrical energy given by her urban background as parts of the building seem to stab at her exuberant nude body, covered only by her frail hands.

“forgive me if I smile
young heiress of a naked dream
you are so young
and i too old to learn to love.” –from Ballad by Sonia Sanchez

In the collection, Inner Light, we find the symmetrical energy of a pregnant figure enclosed in a recreation of the ovule of a flower, the flower budding within the flower. The lines constructed create a peaceful tension as parts of her body venture outside of the structure. Half of her body rests in the warm shadow of itself as her hands provide the only other coverage. The world around her cradles her, as she cradles her own. Time halts, a victim of her steady force, her steady heartbeat, and the energy within her. There is the energy of love between these two figures, a common thread of time blossoming within and the magnificent physical window from which it will enter.

Pandas and a new Twist on the "Obscene Machine"

Graduate Teaching Assistant, mensch, House of Blues musician Mark Young sends a posting that marries our blogs recent interest in animal reproduction with our concurrent interest in media of an erotic/prosthetic nature:

From: "Mark Young"
Subject: Panda Porn
Date: Mon, 30 Apr 2007 20:13:23 +0000

Hi Bill!

Here's the link to the mating hijinx! As we've fretted over the problems of human representations of ethnicity and gender all semester, here's a glib and madcap reminder from our Chinese scientific colleagues that not all species seem to share these issues. Take porn for instance. And pandas. It seems these cuddly, masked males, notorious for their indifference to the coital tango, get a measurable lift from the videotaped romps and amplified aural pleasures of their more virile brethren! The result has been a panda baby boom large enough to bring the species from the brink of extinction. Sounds good, right? But do the lady-panda's know the secret to this newfound friskiness? I'm doubtful that an ethics committee has, of yet, discussed the implications for importing human vices into the kingdom of animal behavior (I'm having eerie visions of Yosemite bears: they've already learned how to breaking into cars for toothpaste and peanut butter...what might a sex-crazed bear epidemic look like?!).

Watch the video for some strange interspecies hijinx!


Marta Borzuchowski Checks in with a Robot Sighting!

From: "Marta Borzuchowski"
Subject: Hey Bill!
Date: Mon, 30 Apr 2007 12:57:08 -0700

I was watching the news this morning and I found something that follows our class. PaPeRo is a robot that literally has its own mind. It knows its own master, observes and thinks information, and so on. It's truly crazy what the 21st Century has in store for the future. But here is a website about PaPeRo if you're curious.


Ana Aguila on Fanon and Life on Mars

E725 graduate student Ana Aguila sent in a blog entry on a cd about a month ago and i have just gotten around to posting it; here it is with my apologies:

Hello, professor. With the readings of Fanon dealing with racism and Martinican’s desire to be white, I came across this clip from a British drama called Life on Mars. It’s a crime series set in the 1970s with an honest cop from the future (that is 2007). This season the show’s been dealing a lot with race themes. The writers mix 70s and 2000s’ ideologies to get controversial stories. The cop from 2007 is always shown as the voice of reason: the good guy that sees everyone as a human and not as a color. The enclosed clip is about a hate crime. It shows the good cop arresting a skinhead after terrorizing a Pakistani neighborhood in Manchester, England. I liked the fact that the writers of the show are dealing with important themes such as race. The two ideologies from 70s and 2000s are represented as opposites: one filled with racism and the other filled with interracial relationships. The writers are trying to juxtapose the two in order to reflect the current situation with racism. I found the clip surprising and shocking.

Saturday, April 21, 2007

Dogs Deserve Mannequins Too!!!

As a followup to a recent posting focusing on the erotic and amorous possibilities of pliable mannequins, do please follow this link to a story of ersatz canine love innovations. Among other things, it shows that when it comes to our Fido-friends, homo sapiens have not cornered the market. Original posting at Gizmodo.

Dolls | Black and White and Upside-down

Graduate student extraordinaire from e725 drops out of the blue and into the Obscene Machine blog with a provocative entry on dolls:

Date: Fri, 20 Apr 2007 16:18:17 -0700
From: "Andrea Knab"
Subject Blog submissionTo: "Bill Nericcio"

Hi Professor Nericcio

I found this image online and thought it was interesting. Apparently, the lucky child to take this doll home can play with his/her black baby doll or white baby doll by just flipping the dress over. What I think is most interesting is that the white doll's face is obviously worn, her eye is missing and the paint on her face and hand is chipped. However, the black doll's face is pristine. The child who owned this doll seems to have favored playing with the white doll more than the black one.
According to the website where I found the picture, the dolls date back to the antebellum era and were thought to represent the symbiotic relationship between black and white children. I searched for more "upside down dolls" and found this description: A very charming vintage upside down doll. One side is a black mammie type character with a floral gown and great bead necklace. The other side is an equally lovely Carmen Miranda type character with a fruit hat, bright beads and pretty red dress. These dolls represent extremely generalized representations of black and Latin women. The children who play with these dolls undoubtedly imagined them to be the mammie, Latin diva, or some other type of stereotypical role.
Sadly, I'm sure kids today would play with these dolls in the much the same way.

Andrea Knab

Tuesday, April 17, 2007

Real Dolls

Comparative Literature maven and surf diva Keri Endich joins us for a meditation on ersatz love companions!

From: Keri Endich"
To: "Bill Nericcio
Subject: RE: ENGL493-01-Spring2007: Key Counsel | e493
Date: Mon, 16 Apr 2007 15:30:57 -0700

If lust is in your way of having a "real" relationship check this site out! This website is filled with over the top obscene machines. Virtually these "dolls" are made, sold, and bought to fulfill everyone's sexual fantasies. You can successfully order and customize your doll straight from your home by accessing this website and following some simple steps. The features your doll can have are limitless! You can pick anything from the nail color of your "doll" to the exact skin tone of your liking. The list goes on... do you have a sexual preference of what your "dolls" pubic hair is colored?- Well if you do- then the "realdoll" is right for you.

Go ahead- play around on the site with a virtual tour of what you would want your doll to look like. This enables the customer to be guaranteed that what they are getting is their choice. Did I mention that this web site also offers "shemales" as one of their "doll" features? Regardless of your sexual fantasies the real doll website will help create what is best for you!

Ok- lets get serious here... I am not making this up... and I am not trying to promote a new product line to the sexually frustrated. I just think that it would be nice for everyone to start accepting the fact that people are sex obsessed and there are places on the web that cater to those needs. When I stumbled- ok I fell rather hardly upon this site, I could not stop looking at it. I viewed the different photos of "dolls" and felt as if I were looking at porn.

The "dolls" seemed so lifelike that I wondered if any marriages were broken up because a wife or husband walked in on their spouse with one of these machines. This creation takes machines to a different level than I would have thought fathomable for people. I think overall it is sending the wrong message to people. Letters and e-mails were posted for reccomendations on certain dolls and what they could do for you. People were said to have like the dolls more than their "wives" and that being with a realdoll was stress free. I suppose that the only thing these dolls are really lacking is the ability to communicate- but hey what do we need that for anyway? There is also a video of an artist that features a realdoll in his video. She falls off a balcony and seems to be ok afterwards!

These creepy machines are being created without most people knowing about them. I can see the dangers that these dolls could have among all of our psyches. There are strong emotional attachments with children and their dolls, could this not be the same for adults? Although the dolls seem to be full of life physically there are emotonal needs that people have which are not being met. Whether inlove or obsessed with your doll, you cannot take him/her home to mom and dad. I think this sexual fantasy is teetering on the edge of creating some fucked up relationships with that of reality. These dolls are "real" but I think all of the reality has escaped their users.


Clamoring Voices from the Desert | Jim Ricker's Blog

Good morning--the blog entries and commentaries are beginning to pick up what with the end of the semester on the horizon; that makes it the perfect time to follow this link and catch up on e725 special desert agent Jim Ricker's musings at Vox Clamantis.

Monday, April 16, 2007

M Butterfly | Transgendered Subjectivities

N. Susi, again!, is in the house with a timely posting:

Subject: Re: Blog Posting...
Date: Mon, 16 Apr 2007 16:26:44 -0400
X-MB-Message-Source: WebUI
From: nataliesusi

Hi Nericcio-

During undergrad, I was in a "Texts and Contexts" class and we read David Hwang's "M Butterfly." We discussed the following story in connection with Baudrillard and the idea of simulacra. There is a 20/20 video with Barbara Walters interviewing Bernard Boursicot, but I looked all over and couldn't find it. If I find it, (it is quite entertaining), I will send it to you. This story definitely ties into our themes for the class. Natalie

The scene: Peking 1964. French Embassy Accountant Bernard Boursicot becomes enamored of a graceful Chinese opera singer named Shi Peipu. She returns his affection, bears him a child and induces him to engage in a little low-level spying on behalf of the People's Republic.

Paris 1986: Surprise! Shi Peipu was a male transvestite who somehow managed to perpetrate a 19-year hoax on the unsuspecting Boursicot by faking femininity and pregnancy and providing a baby boy who had been bought from a doctor in the Xinjiang region. Boursicot claimed that he did not discover the truth until he was arrested by French intelligence agents on charges of espionage. After hearing the strange case, seven judges last week sentenced both the hapless accountant and the former dancer to six years in prison. Their "son," Shi Dudu, now 20, was in the Paris courtroom at the time.

Cross-blog Headsup

Please follow this link for a story that merges our interests in ethnic mannequins and obscene machines.

Prolegomena to a Theory of the African American Imaginary

SDSU English and Comparative Literature Graduate Student Bianca Chapman checks in with some semantic and semiotic fire:

“But in my case everything takes on a new guise. I am given no chance. I am overdetermined from without. I am the slave not of the “idea” that others have of me but of my own appearance.” –Frantz Fanon

The image holds an ever-steady beat, permeating through the consciousness. The beat can transcend the music held before its composition, or it fights through the impressive amount of noise surrounding it. The African-American female image works over-time. As gifted student of the culture, Kiri Davis, demonstrates in an entry to the Sixth Annual Media That Matters Film Festival, there is a very present dissection of the “proper” image and the image of the African-American self. This concept of beauty is buried underneath the guise that dark-skin is still associated with “badness” or “ugliness” while lighter skin is associated with “goodness” or “beauty.” As the investigation continues, Davis juxtaposes (ever so appropriately) the experiment used by Dr. Kenneth Clark to justify segregation in the Brown vs. Board of Education case with a contemporary experiment of identical proportions. African-American children were given two dolls, black and white, and positioned to choose which dolls (yes, dolls) were better, nicer, prettier. The majority of the children preferred the white dolls over the black dolls. Davis consorts with this experiment in 2006 and little has changed. The power of the image has transformed into a louder/brighter force, suffocating the eyes/ears of human beings of African descent. We also see the opportunity of this toy-takeover in Republic of the Congo, thanks to the prolific work of Hector Mediavilla.

The dolls/mannequins represent what Fanon emphasizes as the need to become white at the expense of the dark skin or the “dark” image. The dolls also give a diagnosis of the destruction of the self-image in the African-American consciousness. The doll becomes the embodiment of the beat/image, its power only determined by the ability to be absorbed or (hopefully) purged.

Reading Frida Kahlo | PBS | Art History

Our field reporter and ace incipient art historian from e493, Marta Borzuchowski, writes in with a tip to a cool Frida Kahlo website:

From: "Marta Borzuchowski"
Subject: Hey Bill!
Date: Fri, 13 Apr 2007 15:09:44 -0700

Hey Bill! its Marta ! im been researching and working on my paper all week and stumbled upon this really cool website on Frida Kahlo. I am so amazed and curious about the meanings her paintings. If you go here it shows some of her most famous paintings with all the symbols/ideas right there. Just scroll over the paintings. Then that made me think--I'm not a film/writing major or any kind of art major--but i always wondered if artists are conscious of making hidden meanings in their work?

Friday, April 13, 2007

Fanon, Bush, etc.

katie ness checks in with a post for the obscene machine blog:

Hey BN,

I was particularly struck by Frantz Fanon’s discussion of language in Black Skin, White Masks and how applicable his arguments are to our current political situation. Since we are in the middle of a semester-long analysis of the construction of ethnic mannequins, Fanon makes many interesting assertions about the construction of identity through language. He argues “that a study of the language of the Antilles Negro would be able to show us some characteristics of his world” (38). Fanon is convincing not only in a discussion of mid-20th century culture, but also at the beginning of the 21st century. We judge others on how they speak and, in turn, are judged ourselves. We make certain assumptions about a person by how they use language: how educated they are, what part of the country/world they come from, their age, political standings, etc. Fanon continues by stating that “[t]o speak a language is to take on a world, a culture. The Antilles Negro who wants to be white will be the whiter as he gains greater mastery of the cultural tool that language is” (38). Language is power, and the stronger our language, the more articulate we appear, the more respect we receive from others. So, how do we resolve the issue that this video present? What does George W. Bush’s mastery of the English language show us about his world? How would Fanon comment on this?
(***Warning: anti-Bush propaganda follows).

- Katie Ness

Sunday, April 08, 2007

"Speedy Gonzales" Sighting ... Not! or Tacos in La Jolla

La Jolla, California--a hotbed of Latina/o Cultural Studies activities! e725 ace correspondent Melissa Posa checks in with a post:

Date: Sat, 07 Apr 2007 21:00:18 -0700
From: "Melissa Posa"
Subject: Speedy or just another mouse!!!
To: ""
Hey Nericcio,

I was reading the paper last weekend and I came across an ad for a restaurant called Mr. Taco. Of course, the ad has a mouse on it, a mouse might I add very similar to, if not an exact replica of Speedy Gonzales. Dressed in what I would call "Mexican bandit attire" the mouse holds a taco in one hand and a gun in the other. I found it hilarious that this Latin mouse is suppose to draw me into this restaurant to eat Mexican food. But back up to the gun and the mouse's clothes and oh yeah, the irony of the Mexican food restaurant capitalizing on using a Mexican stereotype to sell its product. There is definitely something disturbing about this whole thing.

I also tried to see if there was a website for this restaurant, but I couldn't find anything. All I came up with was a few reviews. Someone said, "What a find this place is! Seriously good tacos and burritos at a fantastic price! You really wouldn't expect a place like this to exist in La Jolla, but it's there and it's great." From what I gather this isn't an upscale restaurant and being in La Jolla I see where this person was going with their comment. Well, I guess I'm just falling into the La Jolla "pompous" stereotype. But this person's comment made me think...Who is this restaurant marketing its product to. Who is attracted to mice? Or are the readers suppose to associate this Latino mouse with a Mexican identity and therefore the food must be good because its authentic Mexican cuisine?!?!?! Quite a stretch, don't you think?!?!

Melissa Posa

Tuesday, April 03, 2007

Disney, The Song of the South, and Race

E725 Correspondent Kimberly Hart is in the house with an installment of the Obscene Machine:


In the comments below, a reference is made to a 1963 Bobo the Doll study--that study is available here.

Hans Bellmer

e725 Ace Reporter Natasha, checks into the Obscene Machine labyrinth with a worthy posting on Hans Bellmer's work:

From: "natasha"
Subject: blog submission
Date: Tue, 3 Apr 2007 12:35:58 -0700


I came across an artist that I felt we could apply to our class and many of the works we have been sharing. Hans Bellmer (1902- 1975) was a French sculpture and photographer.

Among the art world, he was thought as a Surrealist. He was best known for his bizarre, life-sized dolls that he created in the 1930's. He first started making the dolls to oppose fascism of the Nazi Party. Many of the doll parts and poses were extremely odd and unusual, many with 'mutated forms and unconventional poses.' (see plates) He designed the doll project to renounce the Nazi Party's idea of the 'perfect body.' Bellmer was forced to flee to Paris after the Nazi Party declared his work immoral. Although his work was more broadly accepted in Paris, he did spend most of WWII in prison but did eventually resided in Paris. He stopped making dolls and for the rest of his life proceeded creating erotic drawings, paintings, and photographs depicting adolescent girls.

Today, more than ever with so many anorexic models, actresses, musicians, role models etc (who desperately need to be fed )...we need to send a positive message to our youth and campaign for better representation of young women in our advertisements. If not the consequences could be severe. Bellmer's work shows us that these issues have been pressing since the beginning of time.

Thank you! Natasha

Monday, April 02, 2007

Not Required Reading | Mandingo

While my e725 students are out researching Frantz Fanon, and my undergraduates are reading film theory about Mandingo, Richard Fleischer's schlock race opera, Details Magazine emerges this week with a sordid tale of 21st-Century purveyors of the Mandingo aesthetic. Click on these images if you dare.

Nike, "Africans," Mannequins, Race and Fasion

Devoted e725 scribe Sarah Smorol has check in with an illustrated posting:

X-Originating-IP: []
From: sarah smorol
To: ""
Subject: Black mannequins, white masks?

Hello Dr. N- well, I thought I'd look around for what some current literal American Black mannequins might look like and this is what I came up with- Sarah

Black Mannequins, White Masks?

These are Nike Mannequins from 2000. (note the features of the central figure)

Daffy's Clothing Store in SOHO, 2005- no comment neccesary.

This is TYRA, available at a company that sells products to hairdressers.

She is touted as having "100% human hair on a black face". Did someone say blackface? Also, if the hair is "human" yet doesn't reflect natural African hair, then is African hair not "human"? Her eyes are blue in the only way they can be- (the white models sold alongside TYRA are not wearing this blue eye-shadow)This may be reading in, but I wonder...

The black mannequins below have no eyes, no windows to the soul...Perhaps the soul is too black to see as Fanon discusses(repudiates)?

Finally, allow me to juxtapose two extractions from popular culture, namely a Hollywood blockbuster by the name of I, Robot.

The first image is Will Smith in the center of the letter i with the word robot beneath and behind him the robot minions that hope to destroy humankind- it seems Will is the forerunning image that is the i. The second is the French version of the poster- in this the central image is of the robot (with seemingly anglo features and blue eyes), but what is interesting is the catch phrase"Nous confions nos maison, nos enfants, nos vies. Mais avons-nous raison de leur faire confiance?" which translates to "We Trust them with our homes, our children, our lives. But Do we have reason to give them this confidence?"(I cannot move this image but it exists in the meta(l)morphosis powerpoint in our Obscene machine blog). Here we find the sentiment given all the housecleaners, nannies and low-level workers, a fear of the other.

In the image on the right Will Smith seeks to identify the "malfunctioning" robot that wants to be a Man. This robot is named, yes, Sonny. (Think of the diminutive "son" used to call adult black males by condescending whites) The robot, the technological, is now humankinds slave and when it wants to be treated as human it must be destroyed- it's humanity is a threat to society. All of the "fear of the other" psychology we have learned about is visible in this parallel. The black man(Smith) is human but now must prevent the machine from reaching that status. I would argue that this is a way to replay the superior/inferior complex in the politically correct society.