WIFENESS: GONADAL EXEGESES IN THREE or FOUR PARTS/ Part One: Wives of the Wifeless Future

PART ONE:  WIVES of the WIFELESS FUTURE/ BLADE RUNNER 2049: an ANALYSIS

“David Hume, the greatest skeptic of them all, once remarked that after a gathering of skeptics met to proclaim the veracity of skepticism as a philosophy, all of the members of the gathering nonetheless left by the door rather than the window. I see Hume’s point.”

–Philip K. Dick, How to Build a Universe That Doesn’t Fall Apart Two Days Later

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Phil called me not too long after the wedding to ask for my help again.

“You need to fix her.”

“Fix who, Phil?”

“My wife, Tessa.”

—Maer Wilson

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1

WIVES of the WIFELESS FUTURE: BLADE RUNNER 2049

K. Dick was an imaginative and erudite man who wasn’t terribly skilled at fiction-writing, but his essays were often quite good and his ideas made interesting movies. Fans of the movie Blade Runner, which is based on PKD’s influential novella Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep, would probably be surprised to scan the novella’s text and find no references to “replicants,” “Tyrell,” “skin jobs,” “origami,” or “tears in the rain”. Rutger Hauer co-wrote the much beloved “tears in the rain” soliloquy, with one of Blade Runner’s scriptwriters, David Peoples. Rutger Hauer’s character dies, in the book, without a soliloquy. Philip K. Dick was married, five times, in his 54 years,  to increasingly young women, the last one 18 when they tied the knot. He was worse at marriage than he was as a creative prose stylist and he died, on the tumbleweed outskirts of fame, before Blade Runner’s release in June of 1982.

I saw Blade Runner the year of its release and I couldn’t tell which important female character I longed for most, as a young man,  Rachael or Pris.  I intuited, falsely,  that I couldn’t have both, even in fantasy. I had to choose. Rachael (last name Rosen in the book), the statuesque Jewish icebox with WWll bangs or Pris, the barbarian Shiksa with New Wave hairspray? With preternatural aplomb I ended up marrying, in my late early middle age,  a slender German Amazon who is very much a fusion of the two. Blade Runner may have set that 22-year-process in motion. The movie made me want.

I followed that dream.

The World was such, at that time, that I could.

I read through most of the text of Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep, this morning, and, as I was reading, my vintage 2007 flip phone, on the table, between my elbows, began to buzz and I flinched and stared at the phone as if it were a  prop in low budget Sci Fi. For two or three seconds the phone didn’t seem real, to me, it seemed preposterous, or cheaply fantastical (the spell cast by PKD’s novella).

The transition, from thinking within the book, to that buzzing real life phone, was a strange moment. Back in ’82 when I watched Blade Runner for the first time, this gadget would have been an incredibly futuristic device. What if Past and Future are not ever-shifting (the former growing, the latter receding)  territories on an evolving scale but Fixed Points? What if we are in The Future? 

WIFE

The antique flip phone buzzing was my Wife calling from a grocery store and when she returned, to our home, thirty minutes later, I was incredibly grateful to see her. Again: I was under the spell that PKD’s text had cast, regardless of his amateurish, brick-chunked prose (Dick has characters exit an elevator in one scene and describes them as “Disemelevatored”). The high-acid content paper of Dick’s yellowed page is impregnated with Voodoo because his longings and agonies come to us raw, unmitigated by style.

The spell cast by PKD’s feverish imaginings, in Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep, has little to do with its kitschy Sci Fi cladding: the narrative starts with a man and his bitter wife and ends with a man and his tender wife and touches, in the interim, on a queeerly-described mistress (the original Rachael, or a perfect copy)  he can’t entirely trust.

Meanwhile, there are bits about sheep because Philip K. Dick once owned literal sheep. There is this weird sentence… “At that moment the first rock – and it was not rubber or soft foam plastic – struck him in the inguinal region”… because Dick was pelted by stones, as a child, and his son, as a child, suffered an inguinal hernia.  What a Freudian stew, Dick’s texts (like Deckard’s name, eh? Think about it). The lingering thoughts and sensations the text seeds in the reader are not technical, abstract or worthy of the fancy philosophical bamboozlements of Slavoj Zizek.

Everything, at root, is primal.

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BLADE RUNNER 2049

just this week, finally, got around to watching 2017’s Blade Runner 2049 and found it a sturdy and affecting chunk of entertainment. As ever, the philosophical points the film is purported, or attempts, to make, are less interesting than the philosophical points it makes without meaning to.

“The film’s implicit humanist message is that of liberal tolerance: we should give androids with human feelings (love, etc.) human rights, threat them like humans, incorporate them into our universe—but will, with their arrival, our universe still be ours, will it remain the same human universe? What is missing is any consideration of the change that the arrival of androids with awareness will mean for the status of humans themselves: we humans will no longer be humans in the usual sense, something new will emerge, so how to define it?”

…writes fading Slovenian superstar of philosophy, Slavoj Zizek, as if he’s being profound while whacking the fashionably low-hanging fruit with a PC mallet. Zizek couldn’t be more wrong, in my opinion: the “implicit message” of any film is whatever the film makes you want the most. Like most of the most high-profile films of this era, Blade Runner 2049 makes its ideal audience wish for the physical strength to shove a man’s head through a wall, a wish we can dismiss as frivolous/ futile. The other wish, the deeper one: I’ll get to that.

One of the big criticisms of the film, and the probable reason it bombed at the box office, is the film’s runtime, which is two hours and forty five minutes. Many critics complained that it felt even longer than that. What does it say about me that I felt that the film zipped by with zero longueurs? I think it says that I don’t play video games.

I suspect that many critics are calibrated to higher action-to-dialogue ratios, on their screens, than Blade Runner 2049 offers. The film starts with a fight, yes, and there’s a set-piece featuring missiles in the middle of the film, and there’s a climactic battle at the film’s end, prefaced by a flurry of stomping, but, stretched out over two hours and forty-five minutes, that’s not much action for a modern film critic to take in. Modern films can almost, at this point, in my opinion, be filed under the cultural category of FIGHT STUFF. Which is either perfectly fitting or  slyly suggestive, in Blade Runner 2049’s case, because the film, in my opinion, is all about Wives.

Or, really,  Wifeness. Which encompasses both parties in the traditional heterosexual dyad.

This essay is my heterosexual reading of the theme of Wifeness within Blade Runner and Blade Runner 2049. Wifeness as a fairytale and a longing. If you have a loving and empathetic Wife, the films insinuate, hug her and hold her dear. She will be the rarest commodity of the near/far Future.

Blade Runner 2049 is a message from older White males to younger White males about longing, loss, anxiety, grief and how the concept of the perfect Wife reached its finest (though retrograde) expression during the Golden Age of the era of the captive Wife (c. 1950s). The film is aimed at younger White males but the marketing isn’t explicit. Anyone can watch the film.

But I suspect younger White males will get the most out of it. The set design alone indicates this. It’s blatant.

The film may help younger White Males to get in contact with the heroic quality of their Wifeless suffering; it may also help them masturbate. I don’t think young Women will get Blade Runner 2049 any more than Smilla’s Sense of Snow or a Merchant Ivory costume drama of the 1990s was aimed at me, a Black male.

Not that I’m an easy target to hit or avoid (I love JLG’s Masculin Féminin and Fellini’s Satyricon and Fellini’s Casanova and Harold Brodkey novels, after all), but what a relief it was to finally admit to myself that Joyce’s motto of Silence, Exile and Cunning appeals more, to the vestigial hunter/gatherer in my makeup, than any banner Virginia Woolf would probably care to wave. High Culture is powered by atavistic dynamics. The atavisms of difference can be restrained and harnessed for the creative good but if we suppress them entirely, I think, sickness and listlessness and Nihilism, camouflaged as supposedly Infinite Acceptingness, ensue. Everything, at root, is primal, and the further from the primal we travel, the sneakier its grip on us and the harder our grips on it.

The artificial young White male protag of Blade Runner 2049 navigates cityscapes festooned with architecturally gigantic and beautiful women (and because the film was preproduced and shot on the cusp of the current psychosocial micro-dynasty, all of the building-sized beautiful women in the cityscapes are White-presenting, as far as I can recall, or, at least, definitely not Black-presenting**). The racial politics of the world of the film shows born-of-woman humans as a Ruling Elite and the artificial humans as an abused underclass. If Blacks in Civil Rights era North America had been as super-humanly strong as the “Replicants” in Blade Runner 2049, however, one seriously doubts that History would have played out as it did. If I had the power to run through walls, or shove heads through them, would I be writing this now?

The protag, “K,” has a job as a detective, which makes him lower-middle-class in the way Black North American  Postal workers were in the mid-20th century. Suitably, lower-middle-class “K” has an even lower-class Wife, “Joi,” who is even less real than K: she’s just a projection of an image of a female that seems to run on Artificial Intelligence equal to his own. The 20th century analogue of K and Joi would be a Black postal, or railroad, worker, married to a Filipina whose immigration status leaves her, and the marriage, in a precarious state. A cut in the power can make her disappear, and, just as insulting as it would be to have your Wife told to sit in the back of the bus,  an incoming message from K’s boss, later in the film,  turns Joi into a glitching, on-hold pattern right in the middle of a sentimental moment between the couple. Joi’s precariousness raises the stakes and heightens her impact on our latent Romance Receptors.

Joi and K enact mid-20th century pantomimes of domestic harmony in an early, establishing passage: K comes home from a hard day at work and Joi greets him soothingly, therapeutically, with affection and empathy. She makes 1950s-HouseWife-sounds, fussing over K, presenting him with a real drink and serving him a virtual dinner. The virtual dinner looks like a hearty meat-based meal projected on K’s actual dog bowl of goopy fuel. The lovingly domestic, or Wifeness,  dialogue K and Joi enact seems to have been directed, very deliberately, to display a self-conscious nostalgia for something they’ve never experienced and can’t quite understand. This will no doubt mirror the real sensation many of the film’s young male audience members experienced while watching the scene: longing for the bottomless comforts of a lost era of Wifeness they can barely imagine.

What K has lost and never known: how does that compare to what the actual audience has lost and never known? Is this a deliberate, but buried, trope in the film? K’s pantomime of longing-driven bliss is richer than what the vast majority of the film’s IRL audience will ever be able to afford. Furthermore, K, in fact, despite his sadly-searching quality,  has a harem of Wives in this film. Dream on, boys.

When K leaves home (the premises of which Joi is restricted to in the first half of the film; interestingly, when Joi is “liberated,” with a device which allows her to leave the home, she becomes a modern wife, in a 1980s sense, and hires a hooker for a three-way with her husband), he interacts with two kinds of Work Wives: his boss, a handsome, older, sinewy and human police chief named “Joshi” and “Luv,” an artificial human like K.

Both females display degrees of being attracted to K.  Joshi dominates him (and teeters on the brink of ordering him to fuck her, at one point; she also dies protecting K) and Luv wants to obliterate him, passionately,  in mortal combat. When Luv finally gets the chance to beat him, and stab him, to within an inch of his life (he dies of these injuries a narrative kilometer or two after the confrontation,  which kills her much sooner), she violently tongue-kisses his bloodied face (the third and last deathkiss of the series) and proclaims herself The Best. Very  2022 sexual politics.

Joi is the (empty?) unreal ideal of the (jobless) captive 1950s Housewife, Luv is the opposite extreme (of the phallically un-Wife-able Wife of the Brutal Future) and the police chief, Joshi, the handsome, fit, cynically-toughened, older Blonde, with a butch haircut, is the archetype of what most heterosexual screenwriters/ directors, of Now, are, or will end up being, married to… if they don’t divorce themselves up, to marry younger and younger, along an asymptotic curve, away from that moment of realization, forever. Like PKD himself.  Joshi is the most Real (existing IRL in 2022) female character of the film and the film is sad about that.

The film is like a Restoration Comedy made dark and brutal to match current sensibilities. K and his lower class, earthy, sexy tribulations with the women in his life are set against the romance of an Upper Class Male’s longing for the angelic lost love of his died-in-childbirth Wife.

The plot has been described as “convoluted,” by critics, but the plot, which is of little interest to this essay, was no more convoluted than a plot like the plot of Goldsmith’s She Stoops to Conquer. It even features twists of mistaken identity, hidden birthright and other favorite Restoration Comedy plot devices. But the plot is just the armature for holding us in place as we bathe in the film’s ambience, which, again, is the desperately longing, White Middle Aged Auteur meditation on Wifeness. Hard to tell how many pairs of alpha gonads were hooked up in a single circuit to create this profoundly-unified artifact.

That being said, and bearing in mind the architectural female nudity permeating the film’s epic cityscapes, Blade Runner 2049 is stunningly fuck-free.

The one so-called Sex scene in the film (Joi’s hologram overlapping a real, or realish, hooker she’s hired to give K a Wife-ish sex experience) barely contains nipples and it cuts away after a psychedelic PG montage of Cubist faces and Kali-arms. Imagine what Catherine Breillat, with an infinitely-smaller budget to worry about recouping, could have done with that premise? Hookers in a previous sequence are sassy/ naughty but absolutely as un-raunchy as they would be in a scene with Gene Kelly in his sailor suit. The fucklessness, and lack of raunch (I can’t recall if K emits a single expletive but there were definitely no dirty jokes), is probably partially thematic be more an artifact of the film’s expensive visual FX, as noted above. It cost so much to make, they needed to be able to appeal to the broadest audience possible in order to recoup the investment. Or maybe the paradoxically raunch-free Disney Ambiance is an extremely deliberate point. Maybe the mercilessly Fuck-lite, architecturally-soft-core, Future, will also be sweetly porno-aggression-free?

A consolation?

When we are introduced to the Upper Class Male of interest, and focus on his romantic story, in Blade Runner 2049,  he’s living alone, on a massive estate with his loyal hound, tinkling melancholy lines on a piano, like a Gatsby. We don’t see him playing but we hear it. We follow K as he stalks the spooky music toward its source.

It’s Harrison Ford, playing Deckard, the protag from the original Blade Runner***, looking and living like a wealthy, dressing-down swinger who could almost be profiled in a 20th century edition of Esquire magazine. No hermit beard or hermit hair, weirdly, as if he’s still on the sexual market. He’s living alone and free, and free of material needs, like a Duke, as a bachelor, in Vegas. We’ve already seen that K, in contrast, lives in a squalid ghetto, where the low-class human residents, considering themselves superior (à la Crackers v Blacks), scrawl racist graffiti on the door to his tiny apartment. This comparison heightens the impact of the opulence of the Upper Class Male’s, Deckard’s, lifestyle when he enters the narrative maybe an hour into the film. Harrison Ford reprises his role as Deckard, from the original Blade Runner, and the opulence of his lifestyle is calibrated to his class and age and the dreamy-poetic-loss of his widowerhood.****

Running the “opulence” through the Sci Fi trope-translator, of course, Ford’s character’s  lordly estate becomes an abandoned luxury hotel in a post-Apocalyptic Las Vegas, a playground featuring strangely immaculate ballrooms and stuttering Elvis and Marilyn holograms and millions of bottles of booze. The long-lost and pure love Deckard*****  pines for, the late Rachael, was a super-nearly-humanly artificial woman, their love story anchoring the film that Blade Runner 2049 sequels. I think Deckard’s poetic widowerhood is presented as finer, more ethereal, and higher class, than K’s kitschy-sweet (lower middle class) domestic arrangement with Joi, but both are presented as To Die For.

THE SCRIPTWRITER

ACTRESS SUE LYON WITH HUSBAND HAMPTON FANCHER IN NEW YORK 3 JULY 1964 Copyright Topfoto PUBLIC

Blade Runner and Blade Runner 2049 are essays about Wifeness, sugarcoated with Sci Fi eye-candy and replete with stacked and interlocking marital metaphors too complicated to unpack in something shorter than a book. The Christianity tropes (noble self-sacrifices, Baty with his pierced palm, the Judas-like deathkisses, a Sacred Birth, et al),  across the two films,  I will ignore as being both hamfisted and somewhat of a Sci-Fi Cliché. The two films could be repackaged and re-titled COUPLES VOLUME l and VOLUME ll, à la Lars Von Trier’s NYMPHOMANIAC VOLUME l and VOLUME ll, but if I had the editorial and commercial power to, I’d combine Blade Runner and Blade Runner 2049 and call the result:  POST-INDUSTRIAL WHITE WIFENESS: A TONE POEM.

BR two

We could use up a whole page merely going into the fierce loyalty and passion of the consummately punk Wifeness exhibited by Roy and Pris in the original Blade Runner.

The plots are not integral to the film’s experience. The experience is a little like having your face locked snugly between the warm thighs (an image that calls back to the second half of the first film of the diptych) of various beautiful women for a few hours. Wife-saturated imagery is so detailed and set-designed so well that it lingers for days after a viewing, like all effective films leave residue. The film was panned because it was “too long” but also because it was misunderstood.

Blade Runner 2049 is not “hard Sci Fi”… the science bits are vague and/or outlandish enough to be ignored. For example: when I first saw the jets of steam emitted from the undersides of the flying cars (are those meandering puff-clouds meant to indicate thrust?) I knew I was free to read the film as poetry and my Plausibility Evaluators switched off and I relaxed.

“Off World,” in Blade Runner and Blade Runner 2049, is a preposterous notion, especially in the second film. The God-figure (or Steve Jobs figure), in Blade Runner 2049, the guy who speaks in apothegms,  with a kindergarten teacher’s sing song, speaks of the “nine planets” colonized. This implies Interstellar Travel. In 2049! Along with super-human “replicants”! The original Blade Runner was filmed in the early 1980s and is set in 2019! Even the projected timeline of 2001: A Space Odyssey wasn’t so profoundly, tellingly off. 2001: A Space Odyssey showed i-pad like media tablets in 2001 and we got them in 2010. It showed talking computers and a space station and we got rudimentary versions of each.  No tech particular to Blade Runner or its sequel is even remotely possible for us. It’s poetry; it’s a fairytale. It may as well feature dragons. This is our license to focus on the relationships in the narrative.

PKD wrote, in his essay How to Build a Universe That Doesn’t Fall Apart Two Days Later (1978):

“The two basic topics which fascinate me are “What is reality?” and “What constitutes the authentic human being?” Over the twenty-seven years in which I have published novels and stories I have investigated these two interrelated topics over and over again.”

Were those really the two basic topics, Phil, or was the topic, in fact, Why in This Universe Can I not Find a Perfect Young Dream Girl to Love Me the Way I Need to be Loved? Is there a Reality, Beyond this, in Which I Might Find Her and, If So, Can I Reach it by Writing?

jeju one

Also, to further expose the script’s flimsy pretensions to hard science and/or corporate realism: Joi’s original (safety) copy is erased, near the end of the film, leaving her vulnerable to permanent deletion, to prevent K and Joi’s whereabouts being tracked using the data her original copy stores. But why would K, being a creation of the forces tracking them, not, himself, be trackable…  by default? Why wouldn’t every millisecond of K’s thoughts/ words/ actions be fed into some surveillance data-cloud by default? Why would sinister,  hyper-Steve-Jobs types of the (near! laugh) future build self-aware, super-strong, super-intelligent humanoids with tons of free will and wiggle room? The androids in Blade Runner 2049 have more freedom-of-undetected-movement than actual humans have in 2022. K scanned abandoned Vegas and found signs of life (functioning bee hives!) before entering, but no one scanned and found signs of Deckard in 30 years?

K’s mind wouldn’t have a back-door accessible by his manufacturer?  K’s one work-wife, Luv, representing Luv’s and K’s manufacturer,  tortures his other work-wife, Joshi, for information regarding K’s whereabouts: why would she need to? What an anachronism.

It’s all just poetry. 

jeju 2

When 1942’s Casablanca addressed similar themes of heroic loss/ Wifeness, it wasn’t bleak, it was almost chipper: the audience still had the Wife-rich 1950s, and mistress-rich 1960s and 1970s, to look forward to. The Blade Runner diptych’s grief bleeds off of the screen and covers most of the audience because the Good Times of Wifeness are manifestly behind it and the audience knows it. Many among the audience will never have a wife, and many of those who have one won’t have an infinitely-devoted (jobless, captive) Wife like Joi. Or a worthy-of-canonization-ideal dead-Wife like Rachael. They will dream of earning enough money to afford a high-quality Japanese Sex Doll.

The badass Luv is a stab-crazy phallic female. The pointedly-named Luv is probably the literal Blade Runner to which the title Blade Runner 2049 refers:  the ultimate non-Wife Wife that a society, such as the film depicts (ours), is doomed into, or maniacally invested in, producing.

No more Wifeness for you, boys.

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QUOTE

PART TWO HERE

Casanova-final

*Middle-aged White Male (not necessarily straight) Auteurs are good at encoding that stuff. Perhaps they are extraordinarily needy. The trick is to catch them right at the limit of the sexual frenzy that is the male’s cognitive background-process.

Catch them too old and they have cooled off; the volcano has shut down: they can be analytically objective, rational, soothing, anti-Epic, un-gonadal and can then work without infusing the material with longings any hotter than nostalgia for faded longings. Ingmar Bergman’s Saraband,  made when Bergman was 84, exemplifies that kind of volcano-extinct-work. Closer to what a female Auteur (with the exception of the extremely gonadal Catherine Breillat) would make. Or like Philip Roth’s Exit Ghost. The stakes are low, the writing less drenched, scalding, hissy as the writing was when Roth was pressed against the border-wall of the last years of his successful,  desperate, hump-mad, gonad-driven self.

It strikes me that, typically, one of the genders is programmed to suffer an estrangement that forces that gender to quest and hunt and sniff the wind while the other is programmed to self-obsess, preen, fructify, ripen at the center of a community and decorate the splendid nest. The egg stays put, the spermatozoa come to the egg, they leave, explosively, the fatherland of one body for the mother land of another, making like a million rocket-powered Ulysseses across the Odyssey-landscapes of the urethra and womb-lining, all but one (or two-to-eight, in rare cases) doomed to die, the egg-chosen-one triumphant. Is that where Art comes from?

For violent intensities, set dead-center of the tumult, we look to the desperately needy and often nuts and un-whole Middle-aged White Male auteurs (the non-Homosexual Black Auteurs just need more connections in Hollywood). Female Novelists/ Auteurs are fine, too, but they tend not to speak to the dramas my gonads are tuned to. Pardon me for saying so, while I’m at it, but it’s a rare Female who even needs to make Art, in the desperate way Males do. I think this is hardwired. There are funny Female Comedians, certainly. But are there Female George Carlins, Richard Pryors, Peter Sellerses, Peter Cooks, Spike Milligans,  Buck Henrys, Mel Brookses, Louie CKs, Stewart Lees, Monty Pythons, John Belushis, Dan Akroyds, Dave Chappelles, Steve Hugheses, Andy Kaufmans, Dick Shawns, Jonathan Winterses… ?). Men, I think, invented Comedy, like Poetry, because they had to, goaded by Mother Necessity, in order to cope and then, perhaps, as a tool of seduction.

Like Women invented Community.

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**What does it say,  about the “architectural” ubiquity of White Females in our culture, that set designs featuring building-sized images of naked White Females can be absorbed easily, as a matter of course, as a “reality” within the built world of a Sci Fi film but a film that is otherwise-identical, featuring, rather, building-sized effigies of Black Females, would appear to be making a much stronger statement? A statement so strong, and probably “offensive,”  that such a statement would become the center of the film, which would be forced to read as a pastiche of Blaxpoitation materials of the 1970s? Allegorically speaking, those giant naked cityscape-straddling White Female Totems have been with us since the 1960s.

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***After Deckard enters the narrative, the screenplay does a peculiar thing and develops two Male Action Leads. The two alternate the lead-spot for the rest of the film. The younger K is the lead when heavy fighting is required and the older Deckard is the lead when the story connects with its romantic undertones. Strangely, it’s Deckard who confronts the film’s low key Super Villain, which is traditionally the Action Hero’s role. Niander Wallace sits there with Rachael’s polished skull in his lap (he didn’t kill her, he’s curating her bones) and Deckard restrains himself from delivering a soliloquy. Interestingly, we know Wallace is the film’s supreme villain because, very early in the film, he is present at the birthing of a specimen of the next generation of his Replicants: a beautiful White Female model-type prototype, naked and covered in goo, drops from a person-sized clear plastic envelope, in one of the best Sci Fi trope-updates in the cinematic history of the genre: no neon-lit pod or dry-iced womb-vats or post-Detroit assembly lines: the elegant envelope releases its contents (with a thud) at the proper moment. One gets the feeling that Sci Fi  product-design gets closer and closer to the real thing every day, and vice versa. As Luv is his witness, Wallace delivers an oblique soliloquy on the shivering product’s shortcomings (no functioning womb), knifes the product in the vacant womb itself (very much like the Judeo Christian God who punished His creations for their Design Flaws), kisses her (kinky Blade Runner deathkiss number 2 in the series)  and lets her bleed to death during the first five minutes of her birthday and his soliloquy…

…which is uncannily like the story of Steve Jobs being delivered the working prototype of the first i-phone, which had been feverishly scrabbled together and maximized, by stressed engineers, for optimum use of internal space, to streamline the device to the Nth degree… whereupon Jobs (apocryphally?) destroyed the thing by drowning it in a glass of water, scowling at the space-waste-revealing-bubbles of air the dying device emitted.

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****Any post-Sex male,  in any Western narrative, is only not a loser if he lives in lonely opulence as the widower of the most perfect woman (a Virgin Mary figure) in the world; all the more symbolically satisfying if she died in childbirth. To die violently (like Batman’s mother) is to die a little tainted.

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***** Ford’s character’s humanity is not even a sure thing, it’s an ambiguous quantity, but he reads comfortably as an older, wiser,  post-Sex satire of the Landed Gentry, the foil to K’s hot young triple-Wifed male intruder. The young male intrudes in Deckard’s heavenly palace of melancholy, golden-toned Wisdom and Loss. If there are hologram-sideshows of Elvis and Marilyn still running, in Deckard’s palatial digs, there’s probably lots of Porn, too. But we are left to imagine that.

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