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Episode Studies by Clayton Barr

enik1138-at-popapostle-dot-com
The Matrix: Bits and Pieces of Information The Matrix
"Bits and Pieces of Information"
The Matrix Comics, Vol. 1
Burlyman Entertainment
Story by Larry and Andy Wachowski (now known as Lana and Lilly Wachowski)
Art by Geoff Darrow
Published 1999

 

In the early 21st Century humans invent intelligent machines. It all goes well for a while…until the first time a robot gains a will of its own and intentionally kills a human being.

 

Notes from the Matrix chronology

 

This story takes place during the period of time referred to as the Second Renaissance in the Matrix series, 2090-2139.

 

Didja Know?

 

This story was written by Larry and Andy Wachowski (now known as Lana and Lilly Wachowski; they were brothers who transitioned to sisters), the writers and directors of The Matrix film. When working together, they are often credited and referred to simply as the Wachowskis.

 

This story originally appeared on the official Matrix website in 1999. It was later printed in The Matrix Comics, Vol. 1 published by Burlyman Entertainment, a comic book publisher founded by the Wachowskis.

 

The title of this story comes from a line of dialog in The Matrix film by Morpheus: "We have only bits and pieces of information but what we know for certain is that at some point in the early twenty-first century all of mankind was united in celebration. We marveled at our own magnificence as we gave birth to AI."

 

This story is retold in brief as part of "The Second Renaissance" on the Animatrix DVD.

 

Characters appearing or mentioned in this story

 

Gerrard E. Krause (dies in this story)

Martin Koots (dies in this story)

B1-66ER (sentened to termination in this story)

Kurt Maloy

Clarence Drummond

William Mann

Senator Gunrich

 

Didja Notice?

 

The computer screen seen on page 1 of the story has brand and model names based on writers, the Wachowskis (Wachowski-f5) and artist Darrow (Darrow-2v).

 

According to the computer screen, the Zion Archives lists the Second Renaissance as taking place from 2090-2139.

 

On pages 1 and 2 of the story, the news sources USA Today, New York Post, L.A. Times, New York Times, and Washington Post are all real world newspapers. The Nation is a real world weekly political magazine. Tough Copy seems to be a fictitious forensics journal.

 

The first murder by a robot takes place in New York on an unknown date sometime during the Second Renaissance.

 

Murder victim Martin Koots was said to have worked for the salvage and repair company ReTool and Die. This is, of course, a fictitious business. Though we see here how Gerrard Krause was murdered, we don't see Koots' death until security camera footage is shown in "The Second Renaissance" of B1-66ER ramming the toilet bowl brush down his throat.

 

The B1 series domestic robots were manufactured by Leyland Enterprises. Although there are currently a number of companies going by that name in different countries, none of them appear to be manufacturers of robots. The one presented here is presumably fictitious.

 

The text file of the New York Post entry has the subtitle "Mechanical 'Geeves' Serves Master...His Own Head!" "Geeves" (sic) is a reference to the fictional valet Reginald Jeeves who appeared in novels and short stories written by British author P.G. Wodehouse (1881-1975) and also appearing in radio, films, and television. The stories were so popular that the name "Jeeves" has come to associated with any valet or butler.

 

B1-66ER is represented in its murder trial by an attorney named Clarence Drummond. The name is a play on that of Clarence Darrow, a renowned civil rights lawyer of the early 20th Century, "Clarence" for obvious reasons and "Drummond" from the character of Henry Drummond, the stand-in character for Clarence Darrow in the 1955 play and 1960 movie Inherit the Wind.

 

On page 2 of the story, William Mann's article for The Nation quotes Descartes, "I think therefore I am." Rene Descartes (1596-1650) was a French philosopher.

 

The Washington Post article quotes Senator Gunrich's opposition in Washington D.C. to even having the trial of B1-66ER. Washington D.C. is, of course, the capitol of the United States.

 

On the double-page spread of pages 4-5, Gerrard Krause's many dogs all appear to be Chihuahuas or a similar breed. Notice the dogs appear to enjoy peeing all over his home. And on the far left edge of the spread, one of the dogs is sniffing another one's butt.

 

B1-66ER's surface is pitted all over, implying not only age, but possibly also mistreatment throughout its lifecycle.

 

Not mentioned in the news article excerpts, the double-page spread of pages 6-7 shows that B1-66ER killed not only Krause and Koots, but also most or all of Krause's dogs.

 

On page 9 of the story, Drummond compares the trial of B1-66ER to the Dred Scott vs. Sandford trial and the opinion in that trial of Chief Justice Roger Brooke Tanny (sic). This was a real U.S. Supreme Court trial of 1857 that ruled that no member of the black race could be considered a citizen of the United States. Taney was the Chief Justice of the Supreme Court at that time.

 

Page 10 of the story features excerpts from 60 Minutes, Associated Press, and Popular Mechs. Popular Mechs appears to be a fictitious magazine about robotics; the title is an obvious play on the real world magazine Popular Mechanics.

 

The Popular Mechs excerpt states that due to the B1-66ER incident, the V-chip technology which failed to work in the entertainment and cyberspace industries is being resurrected to hamper violent behavior in robots. The V-chip (viewer-control chip, though a popular public conception is that the V stands for "violence") is used in televisions in the United States, Canada, and Brazil to allow parents to block certain programming from being accessed by their children based on the program's rating. The V-chip has been in use since the mid-1990s and still in use today. The Popular Mechs article would likely be using the "V-chip" term ironically, as a chip meant to prevent violent behavior in a robot would have to be a very different technology. 

 

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