Wednesday, December 16, 2009


The Human Predicament

In both the film and novel, Pierre Boulle and Franklin J. Schaffner ofer a compelling narrative of how humans interact in society and through a system of hierarchy. Although Boulle and Schaffner incorporate slightly different elements in both tales, the message is the same. The creators of both the film and novel effectively tell a chilling story about social class, authoritarian views, experimental science, sexism, and war. Texts relevant to Planet of the Apes, is Discipline & Punish, A Clock Work Orange, 1984, and Fahrenheit 451. The bigger implications perceived from of Planet of the Apes is what it reveals about the human race and how we interact with one another in society.

Much of what is talked about in Planet of the Apes and above texts exists in our world in some form or another.

One of the main themes in Planet of the Apes is the example of social hierarchy.

Social hierarchy is all around and is type of social function in life that will never go away. Near and far, populations of people experience the “utopia and “dystopia” of a hierarchy system. Whether is it be in non-western or not, people are divided by color, race, and economic status.

The clear and undeniable social hierarchy in Planet of the Apes is by all means representative of the wicked hierarchy that exsists today. Schaffner brings forth to audiences a dived simian race of Chimpanzees, Orangutans, and Gorilla’s. The Chimpanzees are the scientists, Orangutans are the elite, and the Gorilla’s are the labor workers. In our own society, the Chimpanzee’s are the middle class college educated beings, the Orangutans are the privileged, and the Gorillas are a class labor workers that either don’t contribute to society, or are considered police officers.

A more analytical observation of Schaffner’s meaningful insertion of a dived simian race is the message that society is not just divided, but unequal. Moreover, Schaffner’s message about humans is meaningful because one of the greatest and lingering problematic issues is the gap racial and economic gap between the rich and poor, colored and non-colored.

In Planet of the Apes and in society, people this message about society being unequal is the example that people think other people are more valuable over others. I think this insertion of the film definitely speaks to racism, in that whites, the more historically “valuable” race are the Orangutan’s in the movie. The Orangutan’s in the movie were did not consider themselves equal to other simian class divisions, along with the intruding “humans.”

Interestingly, the simian race was made up of different shades of black. Was Planet of the Apes saying something about African Americans? Or was the Planet of the Apes revealing how humans of different colors today dominate each other. For example, back in time and right now, lighter people are respected more. What is even more interesting is the elite Orangutan’s are the more intelligent and valuable Simian’s.

The next analytical observation about the movie is the time in which the movie came about. In 1968, when the movie came out, the African-American civil rights movement was fresh. Why did Schaffner make a movie about simians during this time? Did it have anything to do with African-American’s? Was the Simian race designed just for Sci-Fi, or to represent humans in a sneaky way? More than any of the three possible answers, I think Schaffner creatively wanted the Apes to represent humans. More interestingly, next interesting powerful message about the film is during the time

The Second main theme in the film is Authoritorianism. In the film, the elite orangutans that represent our own perhaps political elite are dogmatic and strictly control the simian race. Anyone who wishes to challenge the simian government is practically condemned. For example, in the popular tribunal scene where Zira challenges her superiors by giving them scientific facts that reveal humans once existed in their own society. Today, if anyone challenges the elite or government, then they may very well be entering into a “forbidden zone,” a zone that must not be questioned or confronted.

The most recent example in today’s society might be concerning former President Bush and his argument that weapons of mass destruction were found in the Middle East. In fact, when all hell broke loose and America want to War, he wanted the media, “journalists” to report anything other than what was considered fair, accurate, objective. The message sent to the media and to American’s was that the government, like the Orangutan’s were unreceptable and superiority. Our government is the command structure, just like it is in the Orangutan command structure.

In a more analytical observation, speaking to authoritianism, the tribunal scene and politics, I think Schaffner was providing an example to the audience in regards to how the politically elite interacts with the middle class in our own society and how our own government silences those who challenge doctrines of America.

The next observed main theme in Planet of the Apes is experimental science. In Planet of the Apes, the dark side of government science experimentation is brought forth. Of course, in both the film and novel, Taylor or Ulysse’s friend become lobotomized. Lobotomy is serious and because it was an experiment, I wondered what was message was being presented about society. The chilling conclusion and very fact is, science experiment is in some cases designed to exercise power and domination. In fact, the dark side of science experimentation implemented by society sometimes has to do with reprisal.

In Planet of the Apes, lobotomy was explored because the humans threatened the simian race. This was clearly an example of what tactics and strategies governments will use when threatened. The text best fitted for science experientation is Michael Foucault’s Discispline&Punish, George Orwell’s 1984, and Stanley Kubrick’s A Clock Work Orange. The powerful trio present shuddery examples of what happens when a people don’t conform to rules and expectations, no matter what they are. In the case of Discipline&Punish, the “panoptic” environment, the prison was designed to discipline and make an example of science and experimentation with the human chamber.

To add a bit of information, Planet of the Apes sequels is in Conquest’ is in perfect union with the idea of a dystopic theme and panoptic like environment in Focualt’s narrative on a surveillance like system known as “ Panopticism.” The environments in both Discipline & Punish and Conquest are a prison like.

Moreover, in 1984, Winston is stripped of his human rights and is ill fated for become the strong-minded and free thinking person in his dystopian society. Winston is condemned by this totalitarian government and suffers what I call a daily science experiment that is painful and irksome. Next, in Kubrick’s film, main character Alex is punished by the government for his unruly behavior and a science experiment is performed him in effort to rid him of his attitude of going against everything good. This is a perfect example of what the government will do to those who are not “considered” obedient.

The best Planet of the Apes example of science and experimentation is the lobotomy insertion is the recently banned by Obama and taboo science experiment of Waterboarding. Our military should have never performed such a cruel act of the alleged Al-Qaeda suspects. In my opinion, waterboarding was an example of the government exercising power and dominance.

Another example of science and experimentation is Hussain’s Anthrax scar in America. To be short and simple, Anthrax is really another example of science and experimentation created for American’s out of fear and cruelty.

Yet another example in today’s society is the British Broadcasting Company’s documentary of the Expirement. The true and chilling account of Stanford’s prison expereiment which is an undeniable example of science and experimentation. This psychologhy experiment included mixing a bunch of young adults together to see what would happen after a period of time. The intellectuals adults were to be the guards and the less intellictual or weak minded were regular prisoners. The purpose of the Experiment was to see how people act when put in certain situations. Unfortunatley, the Stanford scientists successded and received what they considered good results. Of course, the “guards” and “prisoners” ended up nearly killing each other.

In analytical observation, I believe what science and experimentation reveals about our own society is when humans are threatened and afraid of being dominated in displaced in society, all hell breaks loose and the evil among human beings is unleashed.

What this kind of behavior does is create war for society.

The next biggest implication made in Planet of the Apes is humans war with the reason for our own existence. In the movie and film, Taylor or Ulysses, questions. This observation is meaningful because this is definitely saying something about how humans are never satisfied and will do anything to find the anweres. Human’s will find the answer even if it means going to war. For instance, Taylor and his crew “leave” planet Earth to discover something beyond their existence. The crew ends up on the “simian” planet and the simian race makes war with man and man makes war with the simians. Inerestingly, they both consider each other intruders.

This example is a compelling one because today, humans go to war all the time to find something more valuable. I think Shaffner and Boulle are telling audiences near and far, that if we humans don’t stop this kind of behavior by creating small and big wars, we are going to destroy each other as a human race and destroy the world.

In addition, I wonder if this is why one the most memorable scenes in the film was toward the end when only the head portion of Statue of Liberty is visible and Taylor kneels down in agony because he believes his race destroyed the world. Were Schaffner and Boulle speaking to the wars we make with each other, being that the Simian race is supposed to represent humans and how we interact with each other?

Another chilling seen in Planet of the Apes, is the Conquest sequel regarding war is revolution. Cornelius demonstrates a compelling and powerful speech in the end about revolution. His speech speaks to our race and the wicked revolutions of our time. It is the very message that although sometimes humans who suffer only have the option of initiating revolution in order to win an issue concerning human rights or whatever, we as humans should not treat each other this way. I think the bigger implication is Schaffner wants audiences to see that although revolutions are necessary, it does not make them right. All it does is sometimes create more evil and reprisal. During the start of the revolution in Conquest, all lot of bled shed takes place. I would say that being a fan of Planet of the Apes sequels, Conquest is one of the most violent ones.

The best example of revolution in Planet of the Apes sequel Conquest, in today’s society, is countless. I think Schaffner wants his audience to think about revolution and what it brings forth, but really wants his audience to think outside the box. Therefore, I would say the next revolution would be the Middle East or World War III.

The next important and bigger implication in Planet of the Apes is our human predicament and endless issue with Sexism. In the film, men play a bigger role and are considered more prominent. Nova could hardly communicate in the original film and definitely did not have a strong and meaningful character. She didn’t even have a language. In the film, Nova is dressed in very revealing way and is made to be kind of a sex symbol. In the novel, Nova is even more so considered a sex symbol because the language written for Taylor in regards to Nova, is a bit on the steamy side. For example, “She replied to this gesture, by rubbing her nose against mine and then passing her tounge over my cheek,” (54). Also, in regards to Nova, another example of sexism and use of Taylor’s language states, “Have you ever watch a timid puppy on the beach, while his master is swimming,” (31).

Next, although Zira was a bit more valuable due to the fact that she was a simian, even she didn’t have that much power. Zira was hushed a lot and her power seemed to be a bit more limited that her husband Cornilieus in the film. To add, in Conquest Planet of the Apes, the only female Ape was super timid and could not talk. Instead, she was also used as a sex symbol in some ways.

Shaffner and Boulle definitely were speaking to womens rights in society the womens predicament with dealing with sexism. Again, there is a correlation between the release of the film and womens rights. Sadly but true, event today women are fighting for equality with their role in the work field and their role as mothers, and their role as educated human beings. Sexism is yet another strong and relevant human being predicament.

Over all, I believe that Schaffner sent out the undeniable and forceful apocalyptic vision and insertion, that if humans don’t take action of the bigger implication of life itself, then we will only continue to dehumanize each other through the social predicaments of taboo science experiments, social class, authoritarian views, sexism, and war. Planet of the Apes is a harrowing reality of our own struggles.

Planet of the Apes and Focualts piece is a great example and representation that reveal the stories about one persons dsytopia and another’s “utopia” in life and how it can destroy civilizations. For example, in the simian culture, the world was perfect until the humans came. The most unsettling truth and bigger implications made in the movie is about humans. With all our human issues and predicaments that we have not fully overcome, we might as well not consider ourselves beautiful people. Schaffner and Boulle take the ugly and dark side of humans and display it to the world. Planet of the Apes is a great adventure, but should really be considered a dark adventure. All in all, I still love the movie.

Work Cited

Boulle, Pierre. The Planet of the Apes. New York: Del Ray, 1963.

Focault, Michel. Discipline & Punish. New York: Vintage books, 1995.

Maslach, Christina The Stanford Experiment. 1996. 11 Dec. 2009.


Orwell, George. Nineteen Eighty-Four. Signet Classics: London, England, 1950., Ty and Thom Young. Nineteen Eighty-Four. Signet Classics: London, England, 1950. Templeton, Ty and Thom Young.

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

A Clockwork Orange

The implications made in Clockwork Orange involve government control, government experimentation, individual freedom, crime, conditioning, manipulation and religion. The relationship between Clockwork and Author Randy Martin’s article are similar in that his reading has to do with government control and he talks about how government manipulates its people through the promise of a “Utopian Market” (p.1).

First, Clockwork Orange shows us how government controls and punishes those who are a threat to society, by manipulating and conditioning Alex, the main character. Martin’s article is similar, in that he mentions how government influences its people with a sort of hopeful intangible dream that includes freedom and monetary security. A dream that is unattainable to the middle class individual (p.1). In Clockwork, Alex is punished by the government because of his unforgiving rebel behavior and is conditioned to not think for himself anymore. Both examples are a form of manipulation and control.

Second, Clockwork Orange offers the next hot topics of government experimentation and redemption. In Clockwork, the government is satisfied with their medical experimentation and uses it to show the people how much power the government has. Interestingly, in the end, the government receives backlash by the people and change decide to take advantage of Alex while in coma and reverse the conditioning that he received. Martin’s article is somewhat similar to the films experimentation and redemption scene in that he states, “ If war is an expression and not simply an instrument of imperialism…(p.4) Martin’s quote can be related to Clockwork because Martin is trying to say that the government experiments with its people, “war,” and “imperialism” in order to satisfy their needs. (p.4) However, once stuff hits the fan and people become resentful or start to heavily question the government, they start to become scared and start the manipulation and conditioning cycle all over again. For example, Martin states, “ Americans can help after 911: “go shopping” (p.3) Shopping creates a better economy and this is our way of trying to help you not fall into a direct economic pit hole.

Last, interestingly, religion is inserted in Luis Althusser’s article, Martins, and in Clockwork Orange, to express how meaningful and powerful religion is among certain societies. For starters, in Clockwork, when Alex is in prison, a priest or pastor seems to push religion before him as a way to save him. Similar to Martin’s article, Martin mentions how America makes great effort in trying to change other foreign societies ideologies, like in the Middle East, but uses it more as a disguise to dominate other populations (p.9) Next, this whole religion aspect also trickles into Althusser’s heavy religious insertion. In short, he communicates government control or domination includes ideology and ideology includes religion and integrating the two make way for a happy government and content populace.

Watching A Clockwork Orange and reading both articles made were great and made strong points about the history and government and the present beliefs and opinions about how the government operates now. The main ideas extracted from all three stories, is religion, imperialism, capitalism, control, experimentation, and manipulations.

Wednesday, December 2, 2009


I have both a love and hate relationship with Haraway’s article as it relates to the good and bad of what it means to be a human and a cyborg. To be honest, I am still not sure I understand exactly what the bigger implications of Haraway’s analytical points of view on being human and animal and not human and human demonination and so on. Haraway draws fascinating arguments concerning the kind of struggles and advantages humans and cyborgs face together. I especially enjoy how Harraway explains the grand notion of how life as a cyborg is to experience utopia. Some of Haraway’s more interesting topics is the heavy feminist insertion. At times, I felt like the author was saying that if the entire female race pushed for a cyborg movement, then there would be equality for women and much of the social issues females struggle would be reconstructed. The great pleasure I took in reading Haraway’s article, is it shockingly made me wonder if the quality of life would be better as a cyborg, even though they don’t have precious human qualities that human beings do. If we are the ones who create cyborgs with our own technology, then why are they so frowned upon? The cyborgs are a reflection of us in many ways. It would be awesome if we could reconstruct the world only for the better with the addition of cyborgs and still be able to incorporate emotion in the programming. The most fascinating of all in Haraway’s article is the mentioning of the video game industry and its almost subliminal aim to prepare people to see through the eyes of a cyborg in many ways, at least that is what how interped it. For example, Haraway states, “ High-Tech gendered imaginations are produced here, imaginations that can contemplate destruction of the planet… paragraph 168. It’s like the cyborg influence is already present in our world. This article had a lot going on and had some important subjects, but I was surprised religion wasn’t talked about more. If science technology and people create cyborgs and God creates us, then does this mean that religion is the main reason why cyborgs are not popular among the masses? Either way, thank God for Haraway and all the others before and after her who have tapped into science and technology and science fiction.



Project Planet of the Apes is the one the most fun academic projects I have participated in yet. For the most part, everyone contributed equally to the assignment. Each person in the group had a clear goal and contributed individual questions that were appropriate and sophisticated. In order to give our group an incentive to work hard and be enthusiastic about our project, I hosted a pizza party at my house and we all spent at least seven hours incorporating important elements that included video clips, specific questions, book passages, additional information from our class texts, and valuable knowledge in some of the Planet of the Apes sequels such as Conquest Planet of the Apes. Next, another contribution of mine was to take a closer look at analyzing the sequel so I could make some connections to a couple of our readings in class. In total, my group met three times. Each time that we met, I felt confident about how our presentation would be. In fact, at each meeting I made sure that I came in with prepared questions and tried to offer additional points of view about the book and film that I felt had not been made yet. The reason for my participation in Planet of the Apes group is because I like Science Fiction adventures. In addition, I felt Planet of the Apes would be the most fun book to read, in comparison to the other options. All in all, I enjoy group projects and am proud of my groups success in our presentation and analytical critique.

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

In both the film and novel, Pierre Boulle and Franklin J. Schaffner offer a compelling narrative of how humans interact in society and through a system of hierarchy. Although Boulle and Schaffner incorporate slightly different elements in both tales, the message is the same. The creators of both the film and novel effectively narrated a chilling story about social class, authoritarian views, and experimental science in panoptic like environments like in the distinguished and western philosopher Michael Foucault’s brilliant piece in Discipline & Punish.

Around the world, people are put into social class according to color, race, social behavior, and occupational status. Unfortunately for particular groups of people, life can be a struggle as some humans consider themselves to be of a more value. In the film and book, the social class of chimpanzees, orangutans, and gorillas are a phenomenal representation and reflection of society and ugly truth of social class and how we are all divided. What is even more interesting in the movie and in real life is how people us social class to justify their way of living.

First, in Planet of the Apes, the message about the ugly truth of social class is strongly connected to society’s mad man view of serious authoritarian deeds. The allegory in this message was to point out how those in power instill fear, show strength, and rely on science to make sense of the world and create a perfect balance according to one point of view, the authoritarian view.

Interestingly, in a more detailed account, the Apes are defined in three categories that include scientists, politicians, and labor workers who happen to be made up of different shades. The different groups of apes are clearly considered to be of different social value are indefinitely considered to be representation of different social classes in real life as well. In regards to the main star Taylor, also known as Uylesses he as seen as the one not in power who is treated atrociously without any rights and is even manipulated by propaganda by the politicians about evolution and his own arrival as a human. Moreover, the apes come together and show Taylor and his companion Nova that a person who is not considered to be of any worth and is possibly a threat will be scientifically experimented on like in Focault’s unforgettable insertion of the experimental chamber or better known as the disciplinary chamber. Of course in Planet of the Apes, Taylor’s mate was lobotomized.

Next, one of the most violent and gripping facts about Planet of the Apes sequels is in Conquest’s Planet of the Apes and not to through readers off, but this particular sequel is in perfect union with the idea of a dystopic theme and panoptic like environment in Focualt’s narrative on a surveillance like system known as “ Panopticism.” To add, the environments in both Discipline & Punish and Conquest are a prison like and “Big brother” like. In an observation of both like situations and settings, power is used to create a dystopic society where communication is minimal unless instructed to do as told. Power is used in such a way to demonstrate the unethical and cruel side to science. More over, the most chilling scene in Conquest is when the Apes fought back with revolution for a plan and Cornelius gives a powerful speech. That speech in my opinion is one of the most memorable scene of all the sequels because it seems to say something about society and the revolutions in our own world.

The lasting impression and correlation among the Planet of the Apes and Foucalt’s work is the attempt to explain how society tries to survive and keep things in order to the point where nothing can be questioned or socially contaminated. In fact, in the popular end scene of the Planet of the Apes film, Taylor comes to the unfortunate understanding that his own people destroyed the planet. What is most interesting about the scene is trying to understand what exact message Schaffner was tying to convey to his audience. I believe that Schaffner sent out the undeniable and forceful apocalyptic vision and insertion that if humans continue to dehumanize each other and use unethical science experiments to explain and understand the world and define the meaning of life, then maybe we as race of human beings will destroy our own world by the harrowing reality of equal struggles throughout the social classes, hierarchy systems, dystopian societies, immoral science projects. Finally, Planet of the Apes and Focualts piece is a great example and representation that reveal the stories about one persons dsytopia and another’s utopia in life and how it destroys civilizations.

Work Cited

 Boulle, Pierre. The Planet of the Apes. New York: Del Ray, 1963. 
 Focault, Michel. Discipline & Punish. New York: Vintage books, 1995. 

Thursday, September 24, 2009

Wednesday, September 23, 2009