654s Mutants and Cyborgs: Disability and Pop Culture | Lydia Fecteau | TEDxStocktonUniversity images and subtitles

Translator: Linda Anderson Reviewer: Denise RQHello.My friend is Phoenix.Down.Yes, she's all disappointed now.I'm here to talk about how disabilityis visualized in the pop culture and science fiction world,and how we see the otherness around us.I want to start off with the imagery of a young person.When you look around you, you want to see your reflection back.So, for me, as a young person in a wheelchair,there wasn't much out there on the small or large screen that reflected me,until I went into the comic book shop.I don't know, it probably inspired me to become a professor,but, Xavier showed a different view.Here was a person whose brain power was beyond the ability of most people,but yet, chose a public face of a wheelchair user.He chose to present himself as disabledand hide his super abilities,his otherness.We see him representinga new kind of character in pop culture,a modern-day myth.Literary critic, Leslie Fiedler, talks about this in his work, and he says,"The myth is quite simply the myth of the end of man,the transcendence, or the transformation of the human...More fruitful is the prospect of radical transformation- under the impact of advanced technology,and the transfer of traditional human functions to machines -of homo sapiens into something else:the emergence - to use the language of pop culturein the genre of science fiction - of 'mutants' among us."Really, he's talking about two different types of mutants:the mutant that is physically different,and then the cyborg, the one that has an augmentation.We have them represented here as body abnormalitiesin the form of the "X-Men" character, The Beast,and the "DC Comics" character, Cyborg.Mutants are basically the unabashedor the unashamed disabled.They demand that society accept themas they are, for who they are,while cyborgs are slightly different.They are the disabled personwho demands that society conform,usually in the form of assistive technology,to their bodily differences.We see in the mutantthe possible dreams and nightmares that body difference can offer.However, society absorbs the otherness and the strangeness pop culture offers;we can see acceptance of the otherness in the reality of life.We explore the scenario of freakness in film and books,we will retain the connection with the exotic that Fiedler believes we needto be able to face the otherness of reality.Fiedler believes these new mutants must essentially be'more black than white, more female than male.'In other words, being an atypical body or mindallows you to transcend the normal otherness of race and gender;allows people to see each otheras not just different physically and mentallybut beyond the measurements of typical humankind.We see this in our relationships with each otherand with the way we structure our lives.Sorry, there we go.We used to see the mutant as the monster.In the Greek myths and the myths of old,we saw individuals like the Cyclopesbe these dangerous monsters almost mindless, animalistic.However, pop culture has presented us a different cyclops:a cyclops that's heroic, in the form of the X-Men character,a different variation on an abnormality.But yet, both of them represent a real genetic variationto the human genome, to the human possibility.That is the actual condition of cyclops syndrome,which is possible in humans,and allows us to understand that difference.We see the same thing in cyborgs.Literary critic, Craig Klugman, explores this ideain his essay, "From cyborg fiction to medical reality."He traces two types of cyborgs in science fiction:the replacement body and the enhanced body.The replacement body is usually the fixing of a disabling condition.Science fiction, of course, can even play that to the extreme of the fixed body,by transferring a brain into a new artificial body.Again, as we, as a culture,become more accepting of this otherness, of adaptability,we start to see the characters change in pop culture.We've seen the Terminator, our friend,go from enemy to heroas we become more attuned to our own body cybernetic replacementsin the form of replacement joints, replacement body parts.We see more prosthetics around us,we become more accepting of them.We see individuals like this picture,where you have the actor who plays Iron Man,presenting an Iron Man prostheticto a young boy who is missing a limb,giving him a chance to become his heroand become part of the adventure.We also see science fiction take the idea of replacement body partsand replacement adaptations to the extremein characters that use their replacement partsnot just as tools to make them normalizedbut to create the abnormalthat allows them to be enhanced and advanced.This leads us to the questionof how human are we?How human is the mutant or alien?How much man is in the cyborg?At what pointdoes the abnormal and augmented body cease being human?Judith Butler explored this in her work, and she asked,"How does that materialization of the norm in bodily functionproduce a domain of abjected bodies, a field of deformation,which, in failing to qualify as fully human,fortifies those regulatory norms?What challenge does that excluded and abjected realm produceto a symbolic hegemonythat might force a radical rearticulationof what qualifies as bodies that matter,ways of living that count as 'life, 'lives worth protecting, lives worth saving,lives worth grieving?"That becomes one of our new modern conundrums:how far do we go in our abjected bodiesbefore we cease being human?We've explored that in science fiction as well- oh, I'm sorry, went one too fast -with the idea of what is more machine than man?We see our classic villain of Darth Vaderbeing presented as unredeemable;Ben Kenobi damning him by saying,"He is more machine than man."He is not savable, and yet, in the end, he is redeemed.His redemption- There you go! -causes his humanity to come back,and his mask is taken off,and he is revealed once more to be partially humanized;once again, within the realm of man.What we see that science fiction now has gone even a step further.With the new X-Men movie,we see a character who choosesher abjected body as her otherness,to be the face that she shows to the world.Though she can pass easily as any normalized human,chooses instead to look as a mutant,to look as the other.We see that once againin this idea of lives worth embracing, lives worth living,as everyday humans take the same step.We see the soldier coming back with his prosthetic limbsand not worrying about whether they look normalbut their functionality and maybe even their enhancement.We see individuals like Stella Young,who has done a TED talk herself, embracing her body differenceand showing her abjected body as an inspirational toolto have others show themselves to the world and express themselves.Thank you.(Applause)

Mutants and Cyborgs: Disability and Pop Culture | Lydia Fecteau | TEDxStocktonUniversity

Connecting diversity of mind and body in pop culture to better understand normal. Lydia Fecteau has been an adjunct at Stockton University since completing her MA in 1996. She teaches writing and literature courses, specializing in the fields of Disability Studies and Pop Culture. Her interest in Disability Studies has led to a number of conference presentations. In addition to teaching writing and literature at Stockton, Ms. Fecteau also teaches English courses at Atlantic Cape Community College (ACCC). Recently, she was promoted to Senior Adjunct at ACCC, and her fellow Stockton professors nominated her a Distinguished Adjunct. This talk was given at a TEDx event using the TED conference format but independently organized by a local community. Learn more at ted.com/tedx
Humanities, United States, English, Cyborg, Body, Culture, TEDxTalks,
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< start="0" dur="7">Translator: Linda Anderson Reviewer: Denise RQ>

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< start="129.083" dur="2.472">of homo sapiens into something else:>

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< start="173.54" dur="4.021">They demand that society accept them>

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< start="220.459" dur="3.452">We explore the scenario of freakness in film and books,>

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< start="249.653" dur="2.75">allows people to see each other>

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< start="263.825" dur="6.442">We see this in our relationships with each other>

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< start="276.258" dur="2.14">Sorry, there we go.>

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< start="281.447" dur="3.884">In the Greek myths and the myths of old,>

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< start="302.336" dur="3.74">a different variation on an abnormality.>

< start="306.077" dur="4.259">But yet, both of them represent a real genetic variation>

< start="310.337" dur="2.84">to the human genome, to the human possibility.>

< start="313.178" dur="3.84">That is the actual condition of cyclops syndrome,>

< start="317.019" dur="1.7">which is possible in humans,>

< start="318.72" dur="3.157">and allows us to understand that difference.>

< start="322.647" dur="2.914">We see the same thing in cyborgs.>

< start="328.751" dur="3.708">Literary critic, Craig Klugman, explores this idea>

< start="332.46" dur="3.817">in his essay, "From cyborg fiction to medical reality.">

< start="336.278" dur="3">He traces two types of cyborgs in science fiction:>

< start="339.279" dur="3.87">the replacement body and the enhanced body.>

< start="343.15" dur="5.451">The replacement body is usually the fixing of a disabling condition.>

< start="348.602" dur="4.357">Science fiction, of course, can even play that to the extreme of the fixed body,>

< start="352.96" dur="4.279">by transferring a brain into a new artificial body.>

< start="357.24" dur="2.709">Again, as we, as a culture,>

< start="359.95" dur="4.637">become more accepting of this otherness, of adaptability,>

< start="364.588" dur="4.341">we start to see the characters change in pop culture.>

< start="368.93" dur="3.574">We've seen the Terminator, our friend,>

< start="372.505" dur="3.437">go from enemy to hero>

< start="375.943" dur="5.847">as we become more attuned to our own body cybernetic replacements>

< start="381.791" dur="4.917">in the form of replacement joints, replacement body parts.>

< start="386.709" dur="3.584">We see more prosthetics around us,>

< start="390.301" dur="2.431">we become more accepting of them.>

< start="393.272" dur="2.199">We see individuals like this picture,>

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< start="405.75" dur="3.411">giving him a chance to become his hero>

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< start="413.082" dur="4.82">We also see science fiction take the idea of replacement body parts>

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< start="421.213" dur="5.01">in characters that use their replacement parts>

< start="426.224" dur="6.041">not just as tools to make them normalized>

< start="432.266" dur="2.349">but to create the abnormal>

< start="434.616" dur="3.669">that allows them to be enhanced and advanced.>

< start="439.625" dur="4.989">This leads us to the question>

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< start="447.415" dur="3.039">How human is the mutant or alien?>

< start="450.455" dur="2.609">How much man is in the cyborg?>

< start="453.065" dur="1.077">At what point>

< start="454.143" dur="5.259">does the abnormal and augmented body cease being human?>

< start="459.403" dur="4.463">Judith Butler explored this in her work, and she asked,>

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< start="467.546" dur="5.079">produce a domain of abjected bodies, a field of deformation,>

< start="472.634" dur="4.086">which, in failing to qualify as fully human,>

< start="476.721" dur="3.025">fortifies those regulatory norms?>

< start="479.747" dur="6.47">What challenge does that excluded and abjected realm produce>

< start="486.677" dur="2.322">to a symbolic hegemony>

< start="489" dur="2.501">that might force a radical rearticulation>

< start="491.528" dur="3.647">of what qualifies as bodies that matter,>

< start="495.176" dur="2.899">ways of living that count as 'life, '>

< start="498.076" dur="3.761">lives worth protecting, lives worth saving,>

< start="501.838" dur="2.347">lives worth grieving?">

< start="504.186" dur="4.621">That becomes one of our new modern conundrums:>

< start="508.808" dur="3.668">how far do we go in our abjected bodies>

< start="512.477" dur="2.349">before we cease being human?>

< start="514.827" dur="3.532">We've explored that in science fiction as well>

< start="519.472" dur="3.485">- oh, I'm sorry, went one too fast ->

< start="522.958" dur="5.241">with the idea of what is more machine than man?>

< start="528.2" dur="5.091">We see our classic villain of Darth Vader>

< start="533.292" dur="4.125">being presented as unredeemable;>

< start="537.419" dur="4.711">Ben Kenobi damning him by saying,>

< start="542.131" dur="2.099">"He is more machine than man.">

< start="544.231" dur="4.1">He is not savable, and yet, in the end, he is redeemed.>

< start="548.332" dur="1.869">His redemption>

< start="552.981" dur="1.019">- There you go! ->

< start="554.001" dur="2.059">causes his humanity to come back,>

< start="556.061" dur="2.108">and his mask is taken off,>

< start="558.17" dur="4.341">and he is revealed once more to be partially humanized;>

< start="562.512" dur="3.36">once again, within the realm of man.>

< start="568.092" dur="3.837">What we see that science fiction now has gone even a step further.>

< start="571.93" dur="1.82">With the new X-Men movie,>

< start="573.751" dur="3.292">we see a character who chooses>

< start="577.173" dur="4.07">her abjected body as her otherness,>

< start="582.083" dur="2.468">to be the face that she shows to the world.>

< start="584.552" dur="4.846">Though she can pass easily as any normalized human,>

< start="589.399" dur="3.436">chooses instead to look as a mutant,>

< start="592.836" dur="2.05">to look as the other.>

< start="597.856" dur="1.888">We see that once again>

< start="599.745" dur="4.686">in this idea of lives worth embracing, lives worth living,>

< start="604.432" dur="4.87">as everyday humans take the same step.>

< start="609.303" dur="4.702">We see the soldier coming back with his prosthetic limbs>

< start="614.006" dur="2.978">and not worrying about whether they look normal>

< start="616.985" dur="3.669">but their functionality and maybe even their enhancement.>

< start="620.655" dur="3.068">We see individuals like Stella Young,>

< start="623.724" dur="4.52">who has done a TED talk herself, embracing her body difference>

< start="628.594" dur="4.871">and showing her abjected body as an inspirational tool>

< start="633.466" dur="6.279">to have others show themselves to the world and express themselves.>

< start="639.746" dur="1.161">Thank you.>

< start="640.908" dur="1.247">(Applause)>