Cousin Eddie and Rupert…Dominique Strauss-Kahn…The future of libertinage…
I was watching the actor Randy Quaid lose his mind the other day in a video post when I found myself wondering if there is a law against the sexual harassment of a robot? Puzzled by my sudden consideration of this strange issue I sat back and tried to figure the source. There was no mention of robots in Mr. Quaid’s two-minute rant toward Rupert Murdoch. Instead Mr. Quaid expresses his outrage for Rupert Murdoch’s lack of appreciation for the actor’s appearances in Christmas Vacation and Independence Day. The veteran performer is furious, good and worked up, sporting a beard that Santa Claus would envy and lamenting his financial troubles while his wife, Evi, sits in the background in a bikini and dark sunglasses. It’s a tense scene. His wife keeps such a predatory stillness throughout that I was bracing myself for the sudden appearance of an uzi in her hands, followed by the loud report of rapid gunfire as she obliterated the entire room in a hail of bullets and shrieking.
There was no violence. Instead, at the end, Mr. Quaid puts a mask of Rupert Murdoch on his wife and begins to simulate sex on her. I can only guess it is a simulation because anyone that could get aroused staring at a mask of old Rupert Murdoch on the body of a woman has much bigger problems than some outstanding debt. That person is a deviant on an order of magnitude far beyond normal fetish and should be locked in a tower in the Chateau D’If until his libido dries up. Even the Marquis de Sade would be shaking his head.
Then I realized that Randy and his wife were filming their protest in a hotel room, from the looks of it. That was when I remembered I was reading about a hotel that is being built outside of Nagasaki, Japan called “The Strange Hotel.” Aptly named, since they are planning to staff the hotel with robots. Here it comes. The beginning of the end for the cranky human worker. Robots cannot be in a bad mood, or hungover, or stressed, or jealous or bored. I imagine these hotel robots will be programmed to be cheerful, with a computerized passive-aggressive tone that just reeks of complete condescension. Their eyes will blink, even though there is really no reason for a machine to blink, and their banter will be lame. They will suffocate us with kindness, implying in every pleasant inflection that us carbon-based smelly humanoids, who come by their intelligence haphazardly and are lazy about detail and are prone to confusion, are just a dopey evolutionary blip in the movement toward a more reliable artificial intelligence.
Everything was starting to jibe. In addition to Randy Quaid and the robots, the French trial of Dominique Strauss-Kahn, the former head of the International Monetary Fund, was getting underway. I had been following it for the last week or so. He currently stands accused of pimping, pandering, general sexual savagery and not knowing the difference between a naked socialite and a naked prostitute, which is at least a misdemeanor in France. Many folks will remember he was accused of raping a hotel maid in New York City in 2011.
Now it made sense. Monsieur Strauss-Kahn makes no secret about his prurient practice of “Libertinage,” a time-honored tradition of decadent orgies for the wealthy elite that goes back something like four hundred years. It is his noblesse oblige. The sexual encounters are so hedonistic and the women who are paid to take part in them are so passive and willing that it is easy for one of these “Libertines,” in a blind fury, to mistake a common hotel maid for one of the demimondaine. Most hotel guests know enough to respect the housekeeping staff and to not jump out naked from the closet when the cleaning crew is trying to tidy up the room. It is a crime to assault a human, but what happens when the victim is a robot maid? Or any robot for that matter. What happens now, I thought, when some drunk wanders into the hotel after a night of partying and just rips the mechanical desk clerk from her post in the lobby and drags her up to his room, figuring there has to be something that passes for an orifice on her somewhere. “These computer geeks usually think of everything,” he will mutter to himself. He won’t have much patience, and the hotel manager can expect a call about an hour later. “Yeah, I’ve got your robot in room 327. Can you (hiccup) have somebody come up here and program it to say something smutty? And bring some WD-40 while you are at it.” You might get him for destruction of hotel property, but anybody depraved enough to rape a robot will probably have enough money to just buy a new one. If the wealthy rake has no compunction about springing naked from out of nowhere and grabbing a hotel maid, he would be elated to sneak up on a robot. The final frontier of freak. The libertine will wake up the next day, if he hasn’t electrocuted himself, with a hell of a hangover. Next to him will be the better part of a fried electrical droid, covered in champagne and grease, sparking from the neck, repeating some weird initialization phrase. “I appreciate your patience while I retrieve that information… I appreciate your patience while I retrieve that information…. I appreciate your…” and he will laugh, knowing that he will escape the whole escapade untouched, and that he will be free to do it again, and that the law doesn’t apply to those who make them.
More Alembics to come.