It’s very nerve-wracking to be expecting a baby and it’s for a simple reason nobody really wants to talk about. You are afraid the baby will be born with a problem.
Some friends of friends were pregnant with their first baby, and I don’t know, I think the mother had done drugs or something when she didn’t know she was pregnant, and there was a bad result. The baby was born with no face and no limbs. And they did a lot of surgeries and had expensive specialists to see if they could somehow construct a face and limbs for the baby, but this turned out to push things in the opposite direction, and the baby basically became a liquid. So they kept the baby in different buckets and jars around the house and they called it Baby Buckets.
Now the strange thing that happened with Baby Buckets was that even though he had no brain or nervous system really he was able to talk. And this came out in a strange way. The baby lived on this mixture of glucose and amino acids that the parents would sprinkle into the buckets like fish food. And one time the Dad had left the USB cord from the speakers for the computers dangling and a tentacle of the baby came out and touched the USB cord and the speaker said “Hungry.” “Hungry hungry hungry.” So the baby was able to communicate and they gave it more food and it grew quite big. But it didn’t really have much of a vocabulary “Hungry” “Cold” Hot” that was basically it.
Until one time that the family had been watching “The Dark Knight Rises” and accidentally let a CD drop into one of the buckets containing Baby Buckets. And the strangest thing happened. They heard a voice coming over the speakers. “Christopher Nolan’s “The Dark Knight Rises” is a re-imagning of American exceptionalism in the light of the moral darkness of the post 9-11 context of the war on terror.” and an essay that went out to describe how the film re-appropriated the moral verities of the super-hero genre.
Naturally the parents were proud and tried to see if their baby had other things to say. They dipped a variety of cd’s in Baby Buckets babies.
Woody Allen. Nothing.
Akira Kurosawa. Nothing.
Love, Actually. Nothing.
The Watchmen — another articulate essay, different in details but extremely well-reasoned, about how the Watchmen was a dark re-imagning of the uses of power in the context of an America that viewed politics and morality as inherently at odds in a post 9-11 world.
It turned out that Baby Buckets had two skills:
1)Expressing the most primitive desires for physical comfort
2)Reflecting upon how American fantasy action movies reflected the darker moral atmosphere of the United States post 9/11.
The parents were eager for Captain America: Winter Soldier to come out on DVD to see what their child had to say about it, when due to a tragic happenstance, it was drunk by the family dog.
At the end of the day the sad story of Baby Buckets can’t help but make me think. Hearing about it makes reflections upon consciousness and Wittgenstein and holism and what it means to be human rise up unbidden in my own squishy brain. Much as DVDS elicited the remarkable response that they did from my fellow theorist, Baby Buckets!