Phil Goetz (goetz@cs.Buffalo.EDU)
Mon, 3 Mar 1997 12:59:00 -0500 (EST)

"Posthuman unbounded: artificial evolution and high-tech subcultures"
by Tiziana Terranova, in _FutureNatural_ (Routledge, London & NY NY, 1996,
ISBN 0-415-07014-7) talks about Extropians.

Terranova dwells earnestly on the contradictions in the transhumanist
position which she is going to point out, and at the end she angsts over
the contradictions she has pointed out, but in between I didn't find any
contradictions except to say that some transhumanists (Decoder) are
leftists, and some (us) are libertarians, and some (cyberpunks) are
pessimists, while some (us) are optimists.

She pretends objectivity, but shows her scorn for her subjects by
lovingly preserving every single typo captured from her sources and
highlighting them with a [sic].

She infers that transhumanism is male, with all the baggage that goes along
with that if you are feminist (male, linear, non-contextual, aggressive,
logical, non-holistic), because of an offhanded remark made by R.U.
Sirius in Mondo 2000, calling this whole talk-show-as-new-electronic-forum
thing as scary, "given the preponderance of bored housewives with nothing
better to do than get all twitchy over different people's sexual difference."
The lesson here is, and I am quite serious and not tongue-in-cheek,
if you are going to belittle any "generic person" in the pages of _Extropy_
or on this mailing list, make sure you belittle a generic man and not a
generic woman. No one will mind, no one will insinuate or infer, if you
say something bad about an arbitrary man.

When she delves into the impact of the Internet etc. on society at large,
her language sinks into murky liberal jargon.
What she seems to be saying is that the Extropians don't care
that many people can't take advantage of these new technologies, not
because they're stupid or lazy, but because their culture socializes
them against it. Any program to alter the foundations of our society
should include a program for including these people.

Actually I don't recommend the book _FutureNatural_. This criticism
shouldn't be taken very seriously, since I have only glanced through the
book, and one of the articles ("An Interview with Satan", by Frank Dexter)
was quite interesting. But it seems to be mostly a collection of
philosophers, postmodernists, and feminists talking about technology.
If I were to edit a book about the impact of technology on society, I would
have tried to have a higher representation of people who knew what they
were talking about versus people who knew what other people had said.

Phil Goetz@cs.buffalo.edu

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