So what’s wrong with the Scarlett Johansson bot?
Though I’d have preferred a Scarlett O’Hara bot, let’s say in the Vivien Leigh robotic version, unaccompanied by Clark Gable, I insist. We don’t need that kind of competition, not even from a robot.
Whereas the main objection to the SJ bot seems to be that it implies a new (?) direction as well as a new (?) dimension in the objectification of women. In which case every portrait of a beautiful woman by a male artist should be considered a form of objectification, I submit. My theory is that an object is an object, whether object d’art or sex object, and both equally objectionable as such.
Let us begin with the artist & his model in the cold & draughty painter’s studio: he, fully clothed like a Rembrandt in casuals; she, fully naked, because the artist is painting a nude and not experimenting in robotics. As a matter of fact, some part of art has always been like a key sequence from ‘The Nude and the Dude’, a film you’ve never heard of mainly because it has never been made, at least not under that title. To say that men have painted women in the nude solely for the sake of art is like saying that a man cohabits with a woman solely for the sake of reproduction.
The basis of human nature — perhaps of all human existence — is biology. And biology runs on sexual desire, sexual gratification and sexual frustration. Ergo, human civilisation runs on SD, SG and SF. It happened like this: God had created man and woman as His new toys and was playing with them happily — for a divine second or two — when either Adam lost an eye or a limb and Eve lost her — no, not oops I did it again, because this was before the Fall.
‘These new-fangled toys might be fun but they’re no good,’ God was telling the snake — might even have been Basuki, from our Hindu mythology. ‘They get broken and then I have to make new ones all over again.’
‘Or they get old and ugly,’ Basuki hissed with obvious schadenfreude.
‘Well, I can’t keep making new Adams and Eves,’ God complained.
‘What you need are bots,’ Basuki said. ‘The whole system must work like a watch; doesn’t even have to be a smartwatch, an old-fashioned watch will do; you just wind it up and it will run on its own, if not for all eternity then at least for a couple of million years.’
‘How do you wind up Adam and Eve?’ God asked.
‘Let me do it,’ Basuki said with a smirk. So Adam has been chasing Eve and Eve has been chasing Adam ever since, round and round the mulberry bush — with one difference: Eve has never gone to the extent of making an Adam bot, preferring to leave it to Mary Shelley to think up Victor Frankenstein.
To return to films and to acting: aren’t actors just humanoid robots understudying for fictional characters? The joke being that the bots are real in this case, whereas the originals are virtual! Ask any woman whether she’d prefer to watch a George Clooney film or go out with Amal Alamuddin’s husband in flesh and blood — if only for a coffee capsule Nespresso.
Madame Tussaud’s of the future will be filled with male bots the ladies can dance with and women bots you’ve been ordered by the management not to approach within ten yards. Don’t worry, your girlfriend will be sending you little, intimate, forget-me-not plastic statues of herself made on her own 3D-printer — just take care that they don’t get stolen.
But the ultimate Scarlett Johansson bot will be a clone. Order an SJ clone online and don’t let your wife/girlfriend know.
Meanwhile, if you look deep into the future, you’ll see that race of intelligent robots populating the earth as they enter a new millennium and are about to create their very first human being! Completely organic and recyclable! Reproduces itself without cloning! Just keep the man bot with the woman bot overnight in the lab — in the same cage — and see what happens after nine months.
They’ll be calling it the greatest discovery for robotkind since Karel Čapek.