| Peter Klein |
We haven’t raised the pomo periscope for a while, so here goes. I’m a big fan of the original Alien film and, like Ridley Scott fans around the world, am eagerly awaiting the prequellish Prometheus. Until seeing Tom Shone’s piece in Slate, however, I had no idea the Alien franchise had inspired so much pseudo-academic pomobabble:
We’ve had Alien as feminist allegory (“Woman: The Other Alien in Alien,” Women Worldwalkers: New Dimensions of Science Fiction and Fantasy, 1985), Alien as mothering fable (“Mommie Dearest: Aliens, Rosemary’s Baby, and Mothering,” Journal of Popular Culture, 1990), Alien as abortion parable (“Voices of Sexual Distortion: Rape, Birth, and Self-Annihilation Metaphors in the Aliens Trilogy,” Quarterly Journal of Speech, 1995). Even Jones the cat got his own diagram, courtesy of James H. Kavenagh’s essay “Son of a Bitch: Feminism, Humanism, and Science in Alien” (October, No. 13, 1980), which sought to align the alien attack on humans with an Althusserian-Marxist takedown of humanism in general:
“The founding term in the film is human (S). … The anti-human (-S), is, of course, the alien, and the not-human (̅S̅) is Ash, the robot. The cat, then functions in the slot of the not-anti-human (-̅S̅), an indispensable role in this drama.”
I am totally using Kavenagh’s title in a future academic article.