Saturday, December 22, 2007

The T-101 Really Is Obsolete

My, how the fearsome and awesome Terminator has fallen. Shall we take a brief stroll down memory lane?

1984: Out of a ball of dazzlingly electric-blue lightning emerges a massive creature that looks outwardly like a certain Austrian body-builder. Talks like him, too. He's naked, and he knows he needs clothes. He spots three young hoodlums. He approaches them and, ignoring their insolent ridicule of his unclad state, barks in an uncanny imitation of Jorgen Von Strangle, "Your clothes! Give dem to me! NOW!!" He punctuates his demand by backhanding one of them several yards through the air to land in an unconscious heap, impaling the second on his arm, while the third wastes no time in disrobing as fast as frenzied terror will allow.

His mission? To "terminate" a young woman named Sarah Connor who, in the future he comes from, is the mother of the human resistance leader that defeats his kind. He's the villain, but he's the ultimate badass.

1994 (1991, really, but in the movie it's 1994): Out of a ball of dazzling electric-blue light emerges another massive creature that looks outwardly like a retired Austrian body-builder. Still ripped by ordinary standards, and still talks like him for the most part. He's naked as well, and knows he needs clothes. He spots a nearby honkytonk bar. He enters it, sizing up the patrons, until he finds a biker of approximately comparable size. In a calm tone, he announces, "I need your clothes, your boots, and your motorcycle." After the biker finishes laughing hysterically at him, and putting out a lit cigar on his shoulder, he calmly pummels, hurls, and stabs half a dozen of the establishment's male patrons. The biker sobbingly surrenders his clothes, boots, and motorcycle. But nobody died.

His mission? To protect the son of the young woman his predecessor failed to terminate from a newer, deadlier terminator. He's still a badass, but a kinder, gentler one.

2003 (The actual year isn't specified, but the movie came out in 2003): Out of a ball of dazzling electric blue light emerges a noticeably diminished creature that looks like the father of a retired Austrian body-builder. Sports a good build for a geezer, good enough that you can almost ignore that unairbrushable chin waddle and the heart surgery scar on his chest. Of course he's naked, but he needs clothes to conceal the paunch he's been unable to exercise away no matter how hard he tries. He spots a nearby gay bar. He, um, enters it, er, sizing up the patrons but finding none that match his, uh, size. Finally he settles upon the gay stripper currently, eh, performing on stage. Climbing up beside him, he politely asks, "May I please have your clothes?" After a lengthy negotation the stipulations of which were blessedly kept off-screen, he is donned in the same tell-tale leather ensemble as his predecessors.

His mission? To protect the older version of the young woman's son that shouldn't exist after the successful mission of his immediate predecessor but does anyway, whose older self is terminated after the human victory by the very same model that is trying to protect him now from a fembot - even newer and even deadlier, but still a fembot. And she kicks his ass.

(Later in) 2003: Out of a ball of dazzling electric-blue light emerges a politician. He used to be a body-builder, and then three shrinking terminators, and in his spare time, an Action Hero. He's not naked anymore, and has amassed so much cash that if he never again wore an article of clothing more than once, he wouldn't be naked for over fifty seven million years. But in his jury-rigged heart, the spark of what he once was still flickers, and he decides to apply it to politics.

He spots a nearby state, which he dubs "Gollyfornia". He enters it, sizing up the allegedly elected officeholders, finally settling on an amorphous pipsqueak not anywhere close to his size. But rather than demanding his clothes, he tells the man, in the spirit of his predecessors, to "get out." Governor Gray Davis complies, but only because of the crazed pitchfork-bearing mob gathering behind his assailant.

But to cover his exit he throws his Lieutenant-Governor, a man whose surname translates as "Large Breasts," into the grasping arms of his deposer. He backhands "Large Breasts" several yards away to land in an unconscious heap, then impales him on his arm - electorally, of course.

The Governator is born.

2004: His mission to "do da vill of da peepul" accomplished for the time being, the Governator accepts a new mission: get President George W. Bush re-elected. Believing that to be too daunting a task even for his mighty populist powers, he limits his involvement to the Republican National Convention and a lone, late-October joint campaign appearance in Ohio. Bush, who at this point still is an Action Hero, wins re-election without the Governator's help.

A certain esteemed pundit opined that the Governator was "cool." And he was. But the lugnuts of his coolness were steadily loosening.

2005: Terminator I survived gunfire, multiple car crashes, and massive explosions, and kept on coming. Terminator II defeated the more advanced and deadly T-1000. Terminator III defeated the even more advanced, and definitely hotter, Terminatrix. But as the Governator, champion of right-wing populism, he finally meets, in the California Left, a villain he can't beat.

But rather than displaying the single-minded relentlessness of his predecessors, the Governator quits. No, he does more than quit: he switches sides. His descent from fearsome and awesome Terminator to Governor Girlyman is now complete.

2006: His circle from mighty villain to mighty hero to fallen hero to craven villain now closed, what's an obsolete, emasculated Terminator to do? What else - embark on a new mission. His new persona? The Toxic Avenger. So much for "getting the government off your back," "lowering the taxes," "making government accountable to the people instead of the people accountable to the government," "your family knowing how to spend your money better than the government," and "faith in free enterprise, the resourcefulness of the American people, and the U.S. economy."

2007: It all comes down to this:
California will sue the US government within weeks over its failure to give the green light to the state's tough new vehicle emissions standards, Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger said Thursday.

The movie star turned Republican politician said in a strongly worded statement that the Environmental Protection Agency's rejection of a request by California to be allowed to set its own standards was "legally indefensible."

The statement said California would file suit "within the next three weeks" at the District of Columbia Court of Appeals in Washington to challenge the EPA's ruling, which was issued on Wednesday.

"We will sue to overturn this ruling as quickly as possible," Schwarzenegger said. "I have no doubt that we will prevail because the law, science and the public's demand for leadership are on our side.

"Anything less than aggressive action is inexcusable."

"EPA's denial of our waiver request to enact the nation's cleanest standards for vehicle emissions is legally indefensible and another example of the failure to treat climate change with the seriousness it demands."
Ah-nuld is not only "a coward after all," he's a liar as well.

Funny, I didn't know that Al Gore knew how to reprogram advanced cybernetic organisms....