chapter  12
by the bitstream of babylon: cyberfrontiers and diasporic vistas
Pages 20

Two of Hollywood's superproductions for the summer of 1995, Con80 and Pocahontas, encapsulate some of the paradoxes I hope to highlight in this chapter. Haunted by atavistic images, Con80's futurist trip to Africa focuses on the scientific mission of a tree-hugging Berkeley professor, who is returning to Africa his well-educated gorilla, named Amy, who dreams of the green grass of home. (She communicates through a digital sound device attached to her wrist that translates her paralinguistic cries into American-accented English.) The dangerous return to the jungle is accomplished thanks to the digitized technology of laser weapons and cybercommunications, which prove to be indispensable in the fight against savage tyrants and cannibal gorillas. Although shocked by the Darwinian reality of black Africa, the gentle New Age gorilla decides to give up her Fulbright privileges and diasporic identity. Amy stays

"home," and her devoted companion of many years, the blond professor, after a lachrymose farewell, returns to the sunkissed greenfields of the Berkeley hills.