Tag Archives: Gayatri Spivak

#Continuum: A Test Of Time @ContinuumSeries #Liber8

“You’re telling me I could be here for a reason. Part of some bigger plan?”-Kiera Cameron


Last year, I saw the following video that was very Anonymous-like but was really a promo for the Showcase sy fy program, Continuum:

Liber8 are the “terrorists” fighting against a futuristic society dominated by corporations, governed by the Corporate Congress. These antagonists function a lot like Anonymous and Occupy Wall Street, yet prefer lethal violence to send their message. Standing in their way are police persons, Protectors, like Kiera Cameron, played by Rachel Nichols (of GI Joe: Rise of the Cobra & Star Trek *JJ Abrams* fame). Liber8 is apprehended in the future, and were sentenced to death for the murder of thousands. However, they escape using a time bomb to send them back into time. They didn’t count on Kiera Cameron following them back 60 years into the past.

The episode “A Test Of Time” was the most compelling so far. Here, I think more implications of time travel, issues of life, economic, and notions of family just are in fuller view. It all starts out with Liber8’s leader, Eduardo, deciding to target Kiera’s grandmother (then a teenager), as part of a twisted experiment to see what would happen if Kiera’s grandma was murdered, would Kiera cease to exist? As the drama unfolded, Liber8 also begins to notice that one of its members is turning on them. In a plot twist, Eduardo and Travis also take Kellogg’s pregnant (future) grandmother as well. While they are alone hiding from our antagonists, Cameron and Lilly (her grandma) discover that Lilly is pregnant. Lilly is an emancipated teenager with no dreams or job. Horrified at the news, Lilly’s first response is that she must have an abortion, since she is without hope. Working out of self-preservation, Cameron talks to Lilly out of having an abortion, pointing out that she should discuss this with the father, and that there will be a possibility that her child will have a child, and they will surround Lilly with so much love, she will be really glad she made the right decision.

Kiera’s persuasive argument worked, and I think that there is a lesson to be learned here for person’s who are pro-life. Science fiction is always a great way to discuss ethics and culture, and Continuum is no exception. Officer Cameron makes her contention based on human love without a reference to a higher power of any sort. I think that this could be a possible example of the sort of arguments to be made in favor of life but from a common ground.

There other scene in this episode I found fascinating. One, was towards the conclusion of the ep, the hostage situation included the bodies of three pregnant women. It got me to thinking how in economics, as critic Gayatri Spivak notes, how undervalued the bodies AND labor of women and mothers are in corporation-driven economies as well as in Marxist theory. It could be possible Continuum is making a subtle criticisms of both capitalism and Marxism.

I can’t wait to watch what is ahead on this show, and I am glad it got renewed!

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Fridays With Fanon: Universalism

Or Universalism as Imperialist, Take Two

On a previous post, I labelled Christian universalism as essentially imperialist.  Quite a few persons will disagree with me and argue that universal is a tool to fight empire, such as the limiting of salvation to a select few individuals (and therefore, consequently, the control of the world).  If Christ is for everyone, then, some would say, that it can only mean that a political system open to everyone is preferable. However, this is not my beef with universalist views of salvation.

In eschatological as well as moral terms, the idea that the entire human population shares a common fate presupposes, on the part of those who generally agree, that all human beings will someday make the same religious, moral, and political choices, and thus denying the possibility of diverse outcomes in the future.  When giving an example of the political struggle between two separate African nations and the French colonists, Franz Fanon asserted, “There is no common destiny between the national cultures of Guinea and Senegal, but there is a common destiny between the nations of Guinea and Senegal dominated by the same French colonialism. […] they would not be absolutely identical since the people and the leaders operate at a different pace.”[1] In a theological context, I would argue that there is no common destiny for each religious culture because each religious community makes various decisions; therefore, the purpose of each missionary/religious devotee differs according to each context.  This position, in my opinion, leaves room for a diversity of experiences when the new creation brought about by God occurs.  The secret behind Christian universalism is a general moral determinism, and therefore limiting the wide options of possibilities that come with human being who are created in freedom.  For both Fanon and Spivak, the indeterminancy of human agency is vital to resisting colonizing and overdetermining discourses.[2] Hence, it is essential that Christians develop an eschatological vision where God’s reign is understood as both a heterochronic and heterotopic event (i.e., taking place at a range of times and places) while developing a missiology that takes both human freedom and plurality seriously.

I prefer the logic of  Baptist theologians E.Y. Mullins and Herschel Hobbs, who also advocated freedom in the New Creation :

“Indeed, our dignity of free choice reaches even beyond this life. If by one’s own choice he [sic] rejects Christ as Savior, he [sic] alone is responsible for being in hell for eternity.  But even there, the Bible teachers degrees of punishment (Luke 12:47-48).  Paul said that both Jew and Gentile (pagan) who reject Christ will be judged by the degree of opportunity  against which each sins (Romans 2:11-16).  It is proper to be concerned about the heathen who never hear the gospel.  But in light of degrees of punishment in hell, we should be even more concerned about the man [sic] in a community filled with churches who regularly hears the gospel and yet never chooses Christ as Savior.  Furthermore, the Bible teaches degrees of reward in heaven (Matthew 24:14-23; Luke 19: 12-19)”

[1] Fanon, The Wretched of the Earth, 169. (underline emphasis mine)

[2] Cf. Spivak, “Can the Subaltern Speak?,” 302-305 as well as Fanon, The Wretched of the Earth, 7;18.  Gayatri Spivak takes aim at the discourse used by the British colonists to describe the “good Indian wife” as the one who burned herself after her husband’s death.  The British reductionist account excludes the other possible ethical options that Indian women could have chosen.  Frantz Fanon rejects determinist philosophies with my favorite quote found on page18: “The colonized subject also manages to lose sight of the colonist through religion. Fatalism relieves the oppressor of all responsibility since the cause of wrong-doing, poverty, and the inevitable can be attributed to God.  The individual thus accepts the devastation decreed by God, grovels in front of the colonist, bows to the hand of fate, and mentally readjusts to acquire the serenity of stone.”  The colonized subject, with all of her choices limited according to the ideology perpetuated by the status, acts according to the possibilities that she accepts.