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The individual vs. Technology

by Critical Commons Manager

Prior to the age of personal computing, computer technology was consistently aligned with soulless corporate interests and technocratic bureaucracy in opposition to cherished American ideologies related to individualism, freedom and autonomy. This contrast is especially stark in detective genres of the 1960s and 70s, when male action heroes such as Mannix operated on the fringes of institutional sanction, often defying orders from their superiors and the coke-bottle glasses wearing pencilnecks who believe computers offer increased rationality and efficiency. Invariably, the longstanding trope of the rugged individual is placed in conflict with these interests, asserting the primacy of emotion, intuition and other, uniquely "human" characteristics. A shift happens in detective genre narratives of the 1990s and early 2000s, when even highly individualistic social diagnosticians (detectives, investigators, doctors) begin to function more like computers themselves, becoming hyper-efficient, emotionless processors for vast arrays of information and database-like storage and retrieval systems.

Mannix vs. Technology

Technocratic corporate surveillance is contrasted with the rugged individualism of the private detective

from Mannix (1967)
Creator: Richard Levinson and William Link
Distributor: Desilu
Posted by Critical Commons Manager
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