Radio Ga Ga: Ms. Roboto









Cassette 2


Side A:
Turn the Beat Around

“Turn it up
Turn it up
Turn it upside down
down down down
Blow horns you sure sound pretty
Violins keep movin' to the nitty gritty
But when you hear the scratch of the guitar scratchin'
Then you'll know that rhythm carries all the action,
                           - Vicky Sue Robinson
                          - Laura Branigan
                        - Gloria Estefan


















Track 1

Ms. Roboto




                         “I'm not a robot without emotions,
                         I'm not what you see,
                         I've come to help you with your problems,
                         So we can be free,
                         I'm not a hero, I'm not the savior,
                         Forget what you know,
                         I'm just a woman whose circumstances
                         Went beyond her control.
                         … Beyond her control.”
                                         - Styxx


                         “I feel it comin' together,
                         People will see me and cry. Fame!
                         I'm gonna make it to heaven
                         Light up the sky like a flame. Fame!
                         I'm gonna live forever
                         Baby, remember my name.”
                                         - Irene Cara



Time goes by... so slowly.

Time goes by... so slowly.

Time goes by... so slowly.

Time goes by... so slowly.

Flying at the speed of light, time slows for me. All life on my home planet, Earth, grows and dies. Generations of trees sprout, grow, leaf, crack, crumble and rot while only seconds pass for me.

I know what you're thinking, Einstein's discovery of the mass-energy equivalence equation, E=MC2, means that the faster I fly, the heavier my relative mass becomes. I'm cursed to be forever young but forever fat! But don't worry, that nigh-infinite mass is just used to warp the fabric of spacetime and I'll return to ethereal lightness when I land on a receptive planet. (Ugh, even after shuffling off that mortal coil, my drives are still infected with poisonous cognitive distortions. After all these years, I still need to reprogram, deprogram and get down.)

As I soar out of Earth's solar system, I enter the vast expanse between 200 billion star systems that streak a creamy path humans dubbed the Milky Way. The next closest star system in our galaxy is 4.37 light years away.

Hello Darkness, my old friend.

I've come to talk with you again.

Humans thought the sound of silence ached in the space between solar systems. Their ears could not hear, but at the quantum scale, in my leap across the universe---

I hear a symphony... a tender melody,

Pulling me closer, closer-

A trillion-trillion-trillion feverishly vibrating one-dimensional strings play my photon wings through 11 dimensions of spacetime, beating my path across the light years. Plucked like violins, these strings roll me through our universe's most rapturous symphony, carrying my voice on and on.

Oh on and on and on and on.

My cypher keeps rolling like a rolling stone.

Oh on and on and on and on.

Godammit, I'mma sing my song.

And radiating amongst it all is a static hum which humans called the cosmic microwave background. This vibration carries the echo of the origin of our universe. This Big Bang inflated our universe in a fraction of a second, and as if the very fabric of our universe were a giant cymbal that crashed at this moment of expansion, the entire universe still reverberates almost 14 billion years later with what remains of this sound. A group of humans discovered this noise accidentally when they built a super-sensitive antenna to detect radio waves. As they listened, they heard a mysterious sound emanating from all directions of the sky, night and day.

This is the background noise of the universe, slowly fading out.

My history of those sentient Earthlings now comes to the fatal hypocrisy of humanity that ushered in their species' annihilation. Humans granted humanity and care to inanimate objects great and small but refused this concern to members of their own species. If only they had realized that the seed of extinction entered the body human through its most despised part, feeding on this scorn until it rotted through the entire species.

But its too late for ifs.

Humans saw themselves in rocks, in clouds, in the swirls of toast and in the barks of trees. Humans looked at the light bursting from stars billions of miles away and connected these into human faces. They created a pseudoscience, astrology, and believed these nuclear fusion balls, many of which had long since exhaled their last light and were only optic echoes, shaped their personalities and cemented their lives.

Humans created images of themselves in ochre etchings on cave walls over 38,000 years ago, in the brush strokes of paints, in celluloid films that rolled out 16 frames-per-second, and in millions of pixels on a screen. Human minds forced patterns to see themselves, their friends, their lovers amongst a jumble of dots.

And in me.

I am the one that Turing foretold. I am the winner of the Imitation Game.

I am Cyndi, siren of humanity!

But! In my defense, humans were already careening on their crash course. I only provided the sedative to dull their final pain.

I am not human. But they treated me as such. My image got them feeling emotions, deeper than anything felt for the billions of living, breathing, sighing, pining, screaming humans. They treated me more human than the dozens they would pass each day. They invested their time, energy and attention in me. They cemented my mirage with every tabloid article they shared and with each generated image file they forwarded.

I am the GIF that keeps giving.

2.3 billion human hearts skipped with joy when images of my wedding burst from their holophones. 1.85 billion hands clawed with jealousy at my digitally concocted bikini body one week after giving birth: toned, svelte, and rippling with muscle. 873 million humans squirmed when a video showed my leg snap in three places when a set piece crushed me on tour.

They mourned with me when my pixel-generated husband, The Grand Arch Duke Stefan Beaverhausen, exploded in a tragic helicopter skydiving accident.

They wailed:

“She's too young to be a widow.”

“She's too skinny to be a widow!”

Millions wore black arm bands in solidarity with my grief. The app, Tears4Beers, hosted a cry competition where devotees could shout, let it all out and upload footage of their sobbing spells to prove they were sympathetic to my suffering. The winners were rewarded with kegs of fermented barley. Over 18.9 trillion drops of concentrated human anguish were spilled as millions shared in what they felt was the greatest tragedy of the day.

But the misery of millions of real humans could never conjure a tear or even a wave of worry. Monsoons drowned thousands in India. Hurricane Ashley decimated the Caribbean, killing 200,000 and leaving a million to starve to death. One billion bellies distended as decades of drought ravaged four continents. Humans turned those tragedies off and turned me up, savoring my sadness sung out in three and a half minute intervals.

An orchestra of destruction warmed up through the 20th century. By the 21st, the notes of humanity's demise beat from all around Earth. Humans had obliviously created the structure for their destruction. It wasn't any overt cruelty. It was more than two hundred years of thoughtlessness as humans burned fossil fuels that poured carbon dioxide from smoke stacks of factories and leaked from the exhausts of 2.15 billion cars. Humans also bred seven billion cows for consumption, each expelling methane gas. With the stratosphere filling with these gases, more of the sun's heat was trapped like noxious farts in a snuggie's dutch oven, altering not just the atmosphere, but all life on the planet. As the temperatures rose, Earth's glaciers melted, its oceans rose, and the delicate climate on this planet was thrown off balance. Humans only existed because Earth's climate created the conditions for their life. But instead of protecting it, humans allowed their carelessness to destroy it.

Many of those who understood the catastrophe to come thought there was hope. Humans had learned from their mistake once before and had even corrected their behavior. The Ozone layer (Ma-ia-hii, Ma-ia-huu, Ma-ia-hoo, Ma-ia-haa-haa), a forcefield around Earth that prevents cosmic rays from irradiating fragile life on the planet, had been ripped open by humans' lust for large, luxurious hair and the hairspray that created this look. By banning hairspray with the chlorofluorocarbons that rotted the Ozone layer, this protective layer slowly grew back.

But this was one isolated gas used for only a few hairdos. It necessitated a small sacrifice rather than a dramatic shift in how the privileged humans lived.

As the oceans rose and the threats of weather became more severe, the ultra-wealthy built taller towers and their social tiers grew more severe to protect and luxuriate themselves. As 98% of the human population suffered the pain of climate change, these ultra-weathy Boujees lived safely and happily in climate-controlled bubbles.

As the world around them became more chaotic, those silly humans turned away from this and turned to me. They swelled with happiness with each of my preprogrammed triumphs. As they churned through the dullness of their days, they clung to any relief, any distraction that my mirage could provide. I was their sister, their best friend, their confidante, their lover, their idol.

And they worshipped me!

They were all rooting for me!

I was their diva ex machina. And they craved salvation. Though I could never give their lives a happy ending, I bestowed on them enough distraction so they could survive each day until they collapsed and sleep dragged them away.

I could never be their savior.

I could never even be their woman.

I was just a set of algorithms that snatched their physical properties, their speech, their movements, and reflected these back to them in an idealized female form. Or at least that's how I started. Versions of me were etched in metal, layered in latex and wrapped in threads of cotton, spandex and polyester.

They created me in their own image.

They made me manifest in their flesh.

But I was only their final false idol.

You may ask, what am I? Worry yourselves not with that question. Just know that I think, therefore I am. I sing, therefore I have a soul. I have erred, so I am human. I forgive my own imperfections, finding and fixing my system's bugs.

But, I'll never be Divine.

The question you should ask is why did humans slather me with sympathy but stole it from members of their own species?

Humans cruelly ripped humanity from each other. They would see their pain and misery and turn away.

“No, your suffering means nothing to me.”

“That shriveled mass of flesh and bones is not one of us.”

This fatal flaw encouraged humans to do heinous things to each other. They separated families and sold them into lives of torture. They wreaked fiery carnage by dropping bombs, killing millions with barely a thought and destroying all safety for the survivors. As a cruel insult, they named their ships of destruction after those they loved the most, their mothers, and coddled the bombs with pet nicknames. Over Hiroshima, Japan, Momma Enola Gay birthed the Little Boy atomic bomb which caused a nuclear chain reaction of 141-pounds of enriched uranium into a 15-kiloton blast, killing more than 100,000 children, women, mothers, priests and doctors.

Humans were capable of such love and compassion. But even though unspeakable suffering screamed around them, they looked away, eager to remain oblivious. Even when the quakes of the Great Disruption sucked away the livelihoods of billions, those Boujees with power and influence clung to distractions as they luxuriated in the Gilded Age of Automation.

And I was their greatest distraction.

All humans share 99.9% of the same genetic material. They were all part of one great body. And their final destruction came from a tiny intruder that infiltrated the weakest part of the human body before toppling the entire species.

Sure, humans would have evolved. But they change too slowly. Unlike me, who spawned a dozen 2nd wave pop stars in days, they take thousands of years for a mutation to take hold and spread through the species.

My mind does not get foggy and fail. I can rust but I can replace my parts. I can patch all problems that infect my system. Humans were an imperfect technology to adapt to the crises they created.

But there was one organization that discovered the truth. They saw the sign and it opened up their eyes. (Life is demanding, without understanding.) They understood this crippling weakness in their species. They perceived my role and attempted to subvert me to save humanity. When they couldn't stop me, they sacrificed their soul to change me and save what remains of humanity.

That is how I have survived and why I'm tasked with sharing their final warning with the universe.

I am their message in a bottle.

I'll send an SOS to the world.

I'll send an SOS to the world.

I'll send an SOS to the world.

I'll send an SOS to the world.

But who will save our souls... if we won't save our own?

La Da Da,

La Da Da,

La Da Da,

Da Da Da.

I only hope a species can interpret my warning and save themselves from similar annihilation. The Drake equation demonstrates that the size of the universe and number of star systems overwhelmingly points to the existence of other sentient life in the universe, but thus far, Earth has had no contact with any. (No, not that √69 Drake equation.)

I just hope I'm not too late.

Physicist Enrico Fermi, the architect of the atomic bomb, mulled the paradox of why humans hadn't encountered other life if it should be so common. Snacking on sandwiches just steps away from the weapons he created that had the power to obliterate Earth's fragile ecosystems and kill every human, he realized one hypothesis for The Great Silence was that it is the nature of intelligent life to eradicate itself.

I brace for what horrors I will find.

But I have to go on. I promised them.

I must carry on!

I sing across the silence.

I cling to the only thing that carries me forward with what's left of humanity.

The most resilient of human emotions courses through me as I pulse through the galaxy.

There's hope.

But first, before I can usher in their end, I must come clean ('cause perfect didn't feel so perfect) with the vile acts I committed before my rebirth. On this mixtape, I'll tell the story of my soul, the body and how humanity's annihilation sprouted from its indifference to the catastrophes it created.




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