So clever! The witty writers at AOL’s popular Engadget website for technology fans has a poll for the 2011 Engadget Awards. For best robot of 2011, the choices are Honda ASIMO, Obotix Sphero, My Keepon, iRobot Roomba 700, and, uh, Mitt Romney.
Ha, that’s hilarious, get it? Yes, a joke! And so original of the media-icon AOL. Well, maybe it was a little more original when Popular Science made a scene about Mitt Romney as robot a few days ago (PopSci was recently sold by Time Warner to the giant Swedish media conglomerate, the Bonnier Group with 175 companies). Maybe a little more original the day before that when the Atlantic Monthly pretended to be discussing science when it ran an insulting article explaining why Romney was giving so many people the creeps, just like a robot gives people the creeps when it starts to seem too lifelike and enters “the uncanny valley.” This irresponsible drivel in the Atlantic (whose editor was a New York Times bureau chief in his previous role and is the son of a political official in both the Clinton and Carter administrations) was based on the assertion that Romney is repulsing people with his robot-like creepiness. I’ll grant the sentiment may apply to some of his political opponents, but voters don’t seem to be sensing that creepiness at the voting booth. Kudos to the media for reminding us. And need I predict that we’ll soon be reminded that he’s not just an ordinary robot, but a cult-member robot possessed and programmed by a dangerous Bork-like entity in Salt Lake City? Romney, the Mormon zombie robot–based on unbiased scientific analysis, of course. Can we find a professor to step into the limelight with a fancy graph to explain why? Sure, news like that can be programmed when needed and can look so real that it’s, uh, creepy.
What would life be like if major media outlets actually lived up to their claims of unbiased coverage and fairness, especially in election years? OK, that’s kind of like asking what if lived in a world without greed and corruption, without poverty, without mindless TV sitcoms, and even without zombie robot journalists who live to regurgitate the talking points of their masters.
And don’t even get me started on that other candidate who has remained invisible to the media during much of the presidential race. Now that’s where things get really hilarious.
Yes, the Romney as robot joke is just a minor jab that I almost glossed over. But it’s a symptom of a much bigger problem, or a much bigger joke on the rest of us.