Brides of Quietness

July 15, 2012
Posted by Jay Livingston

Lisa Wade at Sociological Images  says she can’t wait to see “The Mechanical Bride,” a documentary about artificial females created mostly for sex.*  The fantasy – a man creating the ideal female – is as old as Pygmalion, but over the millennia, the technology has improved.

In 1951, Marshal McCluhan put this fantasy into the general context of advertising – its messages and images – in his first book, The Mechanical Bride

 I wonder if the creators of the film make any mention of McCluhan.  I’m far away from the copy of the McLuhan book on my office bookshelf, so I’ll rely on this excerpt from an essay by Geert Lovink
 According to McLuhan, it is the dominant pattern of visual coverage in the popular press, comprising a fusion of sex and technology: Explore and enlarge the domain of sex by mechanical technique and possess machines in a sexually gratifying way. Long, slender ladies' legs are an expression of our 'replaceable parts' cultural dynamics. The industrial mode of production mechanized sex too. In ads the human body is depicted behavioristically as a sort of love machine capable merely of specific thrill, a view which reduces sex experience to a problem in mechanics and hygiene.   
I wonder if the filmmaker, Allison deFren, makes any explicit reference to McCluhan and his ideas.

* The 2007 movie  “Lars and the Real Girl” features one of these females – she had a title role but no Oscar nominations.  That movie was not so much about sex as about the social construction of reality.

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