Read Dr. Steve Mann’s account (and open letter asking for help) of what might be the first cyborg hate crime.

The McDonald’s perp-goons were presumably trying to enforce a photographic prohibition policy that many multinational corporations have. Try, for example, taking pictures at a Walmart.

I’m curious about the doctor’s note; it’s somewhat unclear whether Dr. Mann’s use of the equipment is his malady—his commitment to testing a technology that is still at best experimental—or whether a preexisting condition created the need for a device to augment his impaired vision. Whatever the case, a dependency seems to have developed after his body adapted to the technology which he has been wearing for the last 13+ years.

If any of you Parisian-McD’s-perp-goon-anti-cyborg-ludites are reading this, you could learn a thing or two about empathy by internalizing this clip featuring Geordi LaForge. In it the isolated cyborg expresses his desire to see LESS than his VISOR (Vision Instrument and Sensory Organ Replacement) allows:


"Help me to not give in to the wild things of my mind… . I want to see in shallow, dim, beautiful human ways!"

The cyborg’s power is also his hamartia—though rather than being a tragic flaw in character which affects the plot and outcome of a tragic drama, it takes the place of a physical implement or device that behaves erratically, causing somewhat consistent extra-human capability, punctuated by frustration, pain, even suffering caused by its malfunctioning thereby inscribing the entirety of the tragic plot on/within the cyborg himself.

Geordi LaForge operates in an important way in American popular culture. In an article called, The Race for Cyberspace: Information Technology in the Black Diaspora” Ron Eglash, Professor in the Department of Science and Technology Studies at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute writes,  ”one wonders if the figure of a technologically empowered African American man (there are apparently no female black cyborgs) was considered too threatening for an American audience, and thus the disability was required to keep him in check.”  Apparently this Canadian researcher and his family were too threatening for the Parisian-McD’s-perp-goons who felt the need to disable him out of a similar fear and an idiotic misunderstanding of an ill-informed policy of ‘no photography allowed.’