Technology as a Vehicle for Death

I’d like someone to comment on the possibility of religious intentions in Global Frequency. I’m explicitly talking about a moment in the first episode where Ally Fitzgerald (the one called upon to pilot a helicopter after drinking beer in bed) screams her assumed boyfriend’s name GARY just before death by power surge. I can’t help but notice that Gary looks strikingly familiar to Jesus (the biblical one). What follows is a quote from christianity.about.com, ”When a Christian dies he is greeted by God. Just before the stoning death of Stephen in Acts 7, he gazed into heaven and saw Jesus Christ with God the Father, waiting for him.”

To reiterate, Ally is flying a helicopter into the sky, where she meets her death subsequent to screaming the name of Jesus’ doppelganger. Coincidence? I think not. I’d also like to note that the first words spoken in this episode were “oh my God, oh my God…”…

There is another quote on Christianity.about.com that I’d like to draw attention to. It reads, “Don’t mourn for the cocoon, for the butterfly has flown.” Although this is actually a Taoist proverb, it’s also the first line of the website’s page titled What Happens When a Christian Dies? (http://christianity.about.com/od/christianfuneral/a/Christian-Death.htm) This Christian incarnation of the Taoist adage represents the soul entering Heaven while leaving the earthly body behind. This may be a bit of a stretch, but Ally’s body cannot be seen inside of the helicopter after she died and the helicopter crashed. Ultimately, she has entered the afterlife while leaving the frame behind.

The helicopter also illustrates the use of technology as a vehicle of death and destruction that is apparent throughout Global Frequency. Although the helicopter is under the control of the Global Frequency, it is a vehicle of death nonetheless. If the helicopter was hijacked by the bionic man with the intent to wipe out the entire human population, then the technology’s potential for harm is sprung.

Consider Janos Voydan. He is a Soviet Union, Cold War relic equipped with a NASA radio receiver that enhances his apporting powers and also dubs him Bombhead, the cyborg. Bombhead was inserted into the United States to deliver an atomic bomb, but after thirty years his receiver decides to malfunction and San Francisco braces for impact. The question is: Why does a USSR agent contain NASA technology? Haraway illustrates that technology is “unfaithful to their origins”. NASA developed the radio receiver, but this equipment and knowledge must have been stolen or reproduced by the USSR, thereby creating a means to an end. In essence, technology creates destruction regardless of who creates the technology.

The constant threat of annihilation alludes to the purge in Kermode’s Sense of an Ending. Mankind is characterized by ‘decadence’, so man innovates almost as quickly as excitement dissipates. Ellis unveils the looming consequences of unchecked technological advances by demonstrating technology’s potential to obliterate the world. By experiencing the horrors of apocalypse, we are made aware of the crisis unfolding around us.

P.S. The website for Stockholm International Peace Research Institute explains that there are “a total of approximately 16,300 nuclear weapons” in the world, “approximately”…

http://www.sipri.org/media/pressreleases/2014/nuclear_May_2014

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One Response to Technology as a Vehicle for Death

  1. As I’m reading through your response, I feel as though you might be extrapolating a bit and moving in a direction several levels removed from what the text suggests. It’s interesting to investigate the possible religious intentions of Warren Ellis, but you didn’t really utilize the text in your argument. You mostly used quotes from Christianity.com and superimposed them on the text to facilitate what you believed to be true about Ally’s death by helicopter. Noting that Ally’s boyfriend Gary “looks strikingly familiar to Jesus” isn’t really a sound foundation for your argument either. Your argument regarding the religious intentions of Global Frequency also drops off about halfway through and you begin moving into a different direction altogether. In the second half of your post, you begin to directly engage with Kermode, but I don’t really know how you got to your conclusions, other than saying that because the helicopter and Janos Voydan are vehicles of death there’s a constant threat of annihilation that connects with Kermode. Furthermore, you said that Ellis is unveiling the “looming consequences of unchecked technological advances,” but in the instance you describe with Janos Voydan, it’s a relic that causes the problem, and the technological advances of the Global Frequency are what stop the bomb from going off. Overall, I don’t believe you succeeded in arguing the possibilities of religious themes in Ellis’s work or engaging with Kermode in the chapter “Bombhead.” It might’ve been more beneficial for you to formulate these as two separate posts. Feel free to email me (gjk20@pitt.edu) or talk to me in class if you have any questions about this or the next blog assignment.

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