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Robocop- a lesson in American philosophy

The other day, I downloaded Robocop.

It was so spectacular, that I have decided to do a review of the movie.

Synopsis: Robocop is a half-man, half-machine, whose body was so badly destroyed by some bad guys, that the only way to save him was to make the rest of him a machine. But they didn’t just make him a machine, they put in cool gadgets like guns and a visor that comes down when it’s time for him to be bad-ass. Just like on KBC, his pink brains are always being shown off as doctors work on it and talk all that gibberish that is meant to make us understand that whatever they are doing on that brain is some serious stuff to do with neurons and what not.

Now let’s get to the so damn American themes:

America fixes a lot of shit:

So, America in the future will still be occupying parts of the Middle East. They will be keeping the peace, but will still have to contend with suicide bombers who spend most of their time screaming in Arabic. If you have watched the movie, it was essential that the plot briefly touch on Iraq or wherever they were (maybe Afghanistan) . If America did have the technology to create those peace-keeping robots, fat chance that they would use them on American soil without first testing them on suicidal infidels…drones anyone? But my point is, even come 2050, Hollywood predicts that America will still be the world’s big brother. What say you Putin?

So the movie teaches us that if you meet this thing, as long as you keep your hands up and speak english, the robot will not attack you. A poor guy was holding a knife…and it got him blown to bits… a knife…what an OVEREACTION!

Steve Jobs

Steve Jobs is an American symbol (despite his biologically Syrian roots). He represents persistence, hard work, smarts and individualism- all ideals perpetuated by Hollywood and intercultural communication books authored in America, and Scarface (the movie). It’s a fact, don’t argue.

There is a Steve Jobs in Robocop, this guy:



A brilliant, oldish bully of a leader. A guy who must get things done no matter what. A guy who is bigger than his company (Omnicorp) that changes the world. In other words, Omnicorp is the next Apple in 2028 (which is when the movie is set). I assume that many have romantic notions of Steve Jobs being benevolent, charming, nice, angelic, cuddly etc. I say it’s unlikely. Steve Jobs conned Wozniak (the perpetually forgotten co-founder of Apple) of $2,500 years before Apple, and there seems to be evidence of him being a little bit of an overbearing control freak. It is likely that Steve Jobs was a little bit of an asshole, just like his character in Robocop. Assholes will change the world.


In 2028, China will still be the cheapest source of labour, as evidenced by the fact that Omnicorp set up its lab there. Chinese people will still be mostly rural, and their work in the rice fields will be frequently interrupted by emotionally scarred robots running through water while miraculously managing not to electrocute the whole of China.

Capitalism will destroy the world

Capitalism, America and the world’s economic god, will destroy the world one day, and by the world we mean America. Because as mentioned, in 2028 (more like 2080 if the technology in this movie is anything to go by), China- that represents the rest of the world, will still be a rural outsourcing outpost, and the world as we know it, will start and end in America.

Natural hair for black folk will be approved

If you didn’t know it, there are still often political debates about natural hair in America. The afro is still a political statement. The chief of police ( a black corrupt woman with no real role in the movie) has an unkempt yet fashionable afro. The kind that a whole lot of urban kikuyu women (and Mexicans like Lupita)  have in Kenya in 2014.


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Slow Motion

Technologically, I have always been a laggard…

…or maybe, that’s not true…I remember once I had Car magazines, I could tell you about horsepower and what cars went how fast. It was a very short phase though. There were just 4 car magazines though, so maybe I had just crammed them.

Then there was the time I taught myself to use powerpoint, we had a computer, and i wanted to make something for my mum or her business or something. I was maybe 10, but I found it pretty easy and i really liked those bean things, those black stickmen.

screen beans

I also had a phase of fixing things around the house, I remember opening sockets, opening remotes, opening bells, opening melody cards, and figuring them all out. I even dreamed once of building my own toy car with a motor (why did we used to call them ‘mortar’)  I’d removed from a broken toy. I remember that I learnt how to fix remotes, after I smashed ours (temper) and lied that I fell with it. I could fix remotes after that.

Years passed and suddenly I remember being a teenager, and my friends laughing at me when I asked how many songs could fit on a CD (750mb). They laughed because I measured electronic capacity in songs, the way some people measure bandwidth with YouTube. I remember using floppy disks late in life, didn’t really ever upgrade to flashdisks until I inherited one, it was like 14Mb, it was purple, and ironically, it was really big.

There were phones too, and again, in no rush or desire to get a ‘proper’ phone, I inherited my first one…well, it’s not like I had the money to buy a phone anyway so inheritance was the only option. It was an Ericsson T.18. It was a flip phone, remember flip phones? You could only read SMS in a line, from left to right, and back again.

t 18

My T.18 suffered a great many falls, and the flip broke off, I reconnected it with a toothpick. So now I always had a toothpick with me, one for fixing my spectacles (the screw had come off) and one for fixing my T.18. In the days Nokia had started releasing 8800’s and those big numbers (not N-64 and Lumia like today),  my T.18 died. I remember picking her up (to answer a call), inserting the toothpick, and hitting the green button, but all I could hear was ‘Skrrrrrrrrr,skurrrrrrrrrr’, then she died. I could never let go of phones where texts were read side to side after that.

When I finally recovered in uni, my first smart phone (inherited)… was a Chinese affair. It had flashy lights too and a split personality. One day, she decided to become an i-phone, out of the blue the screen brought on a ‘Slide to unlock’ icon; in those days, that seemed to be Apple copyright. Those were the days Ciku, the girl who gave me such a silly boyish crash, was the only person who had an i-phone (which she used to hide)…Ciku was always soo cool…and hot…anyway, so this Chinese phone inheritance, was loud and large, it was touch screen but it also had a stylus and was once an iphone. That’s extremely remarkable, switching O.S like that, that is some astronomically advanced technology, you and your S4 mini.

It’s 2014, I wonder whether Ciku still uses an iphone. But I came here to say that I am a laggard, I just downloaded whatsapp. And I just started using a fully touch screen phone.

But I’m older now, and I feel nothing for being a laggard…why? Because, this is delayed pleasure. While you early adopters have long lived out your excitement, I am just discovering how great whatsapp and a fully touch screen phone is.(it’s annoying how slowly I type now though),  I am that kid who gets the last lollipop. In any context, the last lollipop always looks better than yours. The last piece of nyamchom, that’s what I’m eating.

You’re feeling kiwaru.

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