Hey Girl, We’re A Manufactured Pop Group

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PROGRESS LOG OF Dr. CHARLES AMIR ADAMS, Ph.D, R. ENG., DIRECTOR OF OPERATIONS, PROJECT “IN-SYNCH”:

 

September 12, 2031, 4:25 pm:

Finally settled on a name today. Colleagues and I posited an exhaustive number of monikers emphasizing the subjects’ hotness and coolness alike. We agreed there is simply too great an influx of “cool” groups on the market today and went with “2Hot.” This is a nickname, mind you, the full name being “2Hot + 2Handle = 4U.” Some of the merchandise even has it simplified as H2+H2=U4. I hate it, a nonsensical name and nonsensical algebra to boot. But we are targeting pubescent girls, and not exactly Ivy League scholars. Honestly I was happy enough just to stop arguing about it.

Four models so far: ADAM, CAIN, ENOCH and NOAH, in order of descending Biblical antiquity. Not sure where the scripture slant came from but what’s in a name. Old Testament won’t do for the Teen-Beat scribes so we’re knocking around some alternates. The best we’ve got for the egregious ones are E-Noes and Kay-Kay. Adam and Noah are innocuous enough. Each of them “hot” in their own special way, but nonetheless we established between them a dichotomy of “cool” and “uncool” members. The cool ones get their own centerfolds in the teen periodicals and will later on branch out into solo careers, once we cross that bridge. Two obvious candidates for the cool specimens, ADAM and NOAH. Which is the cute one, which the talented one, remains to be seen.

The uncool ones are, while not entirely useless as the designation might suggest, not as essential as the other division. These two will only be photographed with 2Hot in their entirety. One a token bass, the other a token minority. Perhaps ENOCH the former, CAIN the latter? Or maybe, just had a crazy idea, maybe two minorities? If we’re bothering with the diversity angle why not run with it all the way? We can reassign E-Noes as an African-American easy enough. And Kay-Kay, an outed homosexual? That could work. Another minority in the mix and still white (something for nothing, nice!). Except we would have to keep that under wraps until the opportune moment. Ah you know I just couldn’t lie to myself anymore, wow, he’s so courageous, that sort of thing. Its usefulness is debatable then; once the cool models have solo careers he could hardly sustain one of his own, let alone one that could compete with the cools, not with just “I’m gay!” to run on anyway. Or maybe we can reveal it at the outset? I guess it’s not the nineties anymore…

 

September 15, 2031, 9:56 pm:

Just opened the bubbly! Identities fully established today. ADAM and NOAH assigned cool designations as I thought. Colleagues liked gay and black idea, but one very astutely noted a possible, frankly unacceptable, derisive homonym: Kay-Kay is Gay-Gay. Duly noted: ENOCH is now comfortably out of the closet (but not seeing anyone (ew, gross!)).

First vocal and dance lessons today. We’re calling them lessons as our little joke. Our predecessors in the biz naturally spent weeks and millions on real lessons, while it took my colleagues and I no more than two hours to program all four into singing and dancing machines. On the other hand, those old organic models rarely ever had a personality to speak of (which was kind of the whole point), whereas that aspect took up the lion’s share of our time.

It naturally took the longest to rehearse a proper personality for ADAM, the leader. ADAM is the handsomest, and has a charismatic bad-boy devil-may-care persona that complements his looks wonderfully. He likes surfing, skateboarding, and cliff-diving, but he’s a softie at heart and he’s looking for that special girl to give him butterflies in his stomach and make him toe the line a little with his extreme way of life. The usual nonsense. NOAH is the good boy, and the good ol’ boy. Dirty blond, dimples, raised in the Bible Belt where he learned to belt the hell out of a song in church, he’s the All-American foil to ADAM. I would say he’s the Paul to ADAM’s John if I thought songs these guys will churn out soon enough would actually be worth a damn, let alone on par with John and Paul (memo: touch base with the songwriter today. Some Swedish guy, no one seems to have heard of him).

As for the “uncools” we have CAIN. We’ll need that urban element, we need to show these girls that they get where they’re at, with what they’re hip to, that they’re down with what’s up, whatever the hell they’re saying nowadays (the Swede should know). We’ll plug in some hip-hop interludes and he should be good to go. And ENOCH? Well, I don’t know, I guess we could have him say “uh huh,” “oh baby,” “hey, girl,” stuff like that. So there you have it: The Cute One, The Talented One, The Street One, The Forgettable One. Might want to workshop that last one. Then we just disseminate the whole thing to the market and let the stupid little girls of the world decide if our calculations were correct.

 

October 21, 2031, 7:03 am:

A month or so since my last log, some time for the whole thing to gain momentum. Things are running smoothly. Eponymous debut album skyrocketing up the charts, three singles so far: Smash club hit “Hey Girl, It’s 2Bad,” power ballad “I’ll Trade You My Heart For Yours,” and finally “Gimme Another One ‘A Those Things I Really Really Really Like To Have A Whole Lotta.” You can search me on that last one. For my money I’ll never trust a song with a title that ends with a proposition, and a colloquial one to boot. Fourth single coming soon. Can’t wait to hear it Max. I already have the first three in my head, already can’t stand them. A good number of brief talk-show appearances, televised performances. Girls in audience split down the middle between teams ADAM, NOAH. World tour starts tomorrow. Europe first, then Mid-East, then North America. No really, Mid-East. Paris, London, Berlin, Amsterdam, and then Beirut. Big freedom of speech statement from what I hear. Nonetheless 2Hot’s been banned in the more repressive Islamic regimes. Well the Riyadh girls are hip I really dig those scarves they wear… Yeesh, poor bastards. If 2Hot’s ripping apart the fabric of their society, what in the hell isn’t over there? If this is the best of all possible worlds what are the others like? Anyway, hope nothing too out of sorts happens out there. Fingers crossed.

Fundies visited me today. Told them things were going as planned, questioned the whole project just a little. I did, and still do, have my reservations, although I get it for the most part: We’re just four guys who grew up in the Midwest with a hope in our hearts and a song in our pockets, and if we could do it, anyone can do it et cetera. The whole point (a point entirely lost on the fans) is that no one can do it anymore. We’re manufacturing all of our pop entertainment now. Give them unrealistic ambitions and just a little encouragement, they complain less about the disappearing middle class when they’re reaching for the stars. The alleged attainability of your dreams, the constant clash with a reality that says otherwise, it makes this world of ours spin round, it reinforces a fanatical obedience to the original pop group. But why only target girls? Why neglect an entire half of the world population? And only children? They must know the parents only attend the shows because their daughters begged them to take them? The fundies said only one thing to me: children grow up, make sure our boys grow up with them.

 

 November 5, 2031, 4:12 am:

Beirut went off without a hitch. Dubai was another story. I’m up now, might as well log it. ADAM fought the law and I’m not sure who won. And not even sharia law, just good old-fashioned law-breaking. Totally wrong publicity. Gee thanks ADAM. Looks like he bought a Porsche and helped himself to a drag race with two Dubai police officers. One hundred and five in a thirty zone, I’m told. Death before a ticket in Arabic. ADAM is a pile of junk now (you should see the Porsche!), and the officers, one of them is paralyzed, the other, erm… the other lost his arms. Both of them. Career-ending wounds I’m sure. I suppose ADAM didn’t intend to hurt them by action or inaction, I mean, just because he was driving too fast. We programmed him to be a wild one, so technically he was obeying a human’s orders.

Anyway, what to do now? We can replicate ADAM and ship him back to the Emirates in a couple days. But how the hell do we spin this around? There are sandstorms in Dubai, they can be dangerous to drive through. ADAM, ever throwing caution to the wind, took a ride with the top down anyhow. And, two cops also took a joyride? In a totally unrelated incident? I’ll double check which engineer operated on ADAM, might have gone a bit overboard with the bad-boy programming. More like full-on punk rock, and I’m talking seventies here, not that mall-punk stuff. God… We may have to throw some money at the Emirates government, money I’m afraid we don’t have.

 

November 5, 2031, 11:15 am:

As I feared the fundies had a little talk with me. Dark smoke-filled conference room and the whole bit. Not as I feared, they didn’t have me killed. Little change of plans, they said. We have an organic specimen, they tell me, a relic of the Disney Channel past. Daddy’s little girl all grown up and coming to the logical conclusion of her career, where she discovers her grown-up “naughty” side, and oddly enough decides she’s also not afraid to show some skin. The usual fare, the slutty club-banger hit, the ballad insisting there’s more to her than meets the eye, the album where she poses naked on the cover as a metaphor for laying her emotions and idiosyncrasies bare, she’s not hiding anything anymore! As if they ever come up with that by themselves. “You’re turning a new leaf, you have so much to prove now, you’re laying it all on the line. A-ha! Nakedness. Yes, that’s how you’re going to express this new feeling. You’re going to be as naked as much as you possibly can.” “But sirs, I have some poems I’d like to set to music for my next album…” “Yeah yeah, poems, whatever. Here are your songs you’re going to sing, here are your revealing clothes you’re going to wear. Now repeat after me: I’m a sassy, ballsy, independent woman, and I don’t take nothing from no one.” Different programming for a different robot.

I’m hearing all this from the fundies and I can guess where it’s going. ADAM 2 is built and is ready to ship. Of course there was no accident, of course Adam’s fine. Police officers, what police officers? Must have underestimated the fundies’s coffers. Meanwhile it’s onto New York City for 2Hot, where Adam’s going to have a chance meeting with the Disney Princess. They’ll get to talking, and hit it off, and then the tabloids will be abuzz with the latest celebrity pairing. Adam and Eve they’ll call them, predictably trite but what do you expect from tabloids? Don’t worry doctor, everything will be fine, you’ll see. I used to believe that, back when I had the statistics on my side. But now all I can do is trust in the fundies.

 

December 3, 2031, 2:37 pm:

NOAH’s gone full-Asimovian. Our good ol’ boy just broke the first law. Remember Disney Princess? ADAM tripped and fell in love but forgot to tell NOAH to watch his step. They got to arguing over who deserved her, who gets to “trade one heart for the other” as it were. NOAH cited his superior singing talent, his nice guy status, claimed he would do anything for her, pluck the sun from the sky for her or some other banality. ADAM countered with his better looks, his popularity, his fun and easy-going lifestyle, far more fun for her than a dull, stuffy life with NOAH in the Bible Belt. Then NOAH malfunctioned, went all if I can’t have her no one will, and… I can’t believe I’m saying this… and stabbed her with a katana sword.

It was on the hospitality rider. Oh well thank goodness. For a second there I was kind of worried we armed a multi-million-dollar artificial human being and there wasn’t a good reason for it. I do not care if they’re the biggest band in the world, and I do not care if that means they deserve everything on the hospitality rider, and I do not care if a katana sword happens to be on that rider. You do not give a robot boy band a katana sword. I mean, were they not each and every one of them college educated? It was so difficult for them to understand then and yet so simple for me now, and I’m a Rochester alumnus for fuck’s sake. Go Tigers indeed.

Well now what the hell am I going to do? I cannot afford professionally or ethically to disregard the robotics laws. I have no choice but to dismantle him and reassemble his entire programming. Let me put it this way, if a man and a woman have sex at the same time I start reprogramming NOAH, they might have a kid by the time I get done. And 2Hot is in the middle of a world tour, we cannot announce to their millions of adoring fans that NOAH will be gone for nine months and just end it there (I mean, we say nine months and they’ll all think he knocked someone up, and we’re not even close to the bad-boy reinvention stage of his career). NOAH was carrying the whole thing on his shoulders with that gospel-house voice of his. ADAM can’t sing like NOAH, and ENOCH and CAIN can’t even sing like a box of rocks. Sure ADAM was the pretty face of the band, but if you want just a pretty face might as well go to a museum.

Oh yeah, the Disney girl he ran through with an ancient Japanese deadly weapon. The best I could come up with there? Maybe throw together a female robot, throw the Princess’s face on the chassis, and make the bogus Princess announce her retirement or something? I’m going into the mountains, to a nunnery, fuck it, anything, and meanwhile we burn the body and never speak of it again. But we already spent a lot of money on that Dubai debacle, who knows if we can even afford that. And it still won’t explain NOAH’s absence.

Well, first thing’s first. Before I do anything, I’m going to finish this entire bottle of Bourbon and cry myself to sleep. Then I’m going to buy several more bottles of the same Bourbon and rinse and repeat for a few days more (which will do my budget no favors, of course, but then again a man must have his priorities). After that, I don’t know… maybe I should just initialize the solo stages. ADAM’s got a pretty face, Max can whip up a song or two for him. CAIN’s not a bad rapper, we can throw together some crummy lyrics and rickety beats. It won’t be the best album ever, but certainly not the worst. Hey, people are stupid, they’ll buy a few, right? And ENOCH, well…

Damn it. Why couldn’t it have been the gay one?

 

December 25, 2031, 8:30 am:

It’s all over. I figured it out, but too late. It was ADAM. It was always ADAM. I’m not sure if the fundies are controlling him or if he’s pulling the strings, but either way it was always him breaking the Asimov laws. ADAM was the first and always the strongest. He must have influenced our decision somehow to make ENOCH and CAIN so weak. NOAH was his only competition. Either ADAM deliberately went on the Dubai joyride or the fundies arranged it, and the natural response was send in the Disney Princess! From there it was easy enough to corrupt NOAH’s programming. Yes, ADAM ordered the sword on the hospitality rider!

And now they’ve really done it. My incompetence forced their hand, they said, they had no choice. They implemented the final stage: interactive media. Your favorite pop sensation ADAM plugged directly into your consciousness. Experience 2Hot in a way you never have before. Was that was the fundies’s plan all along or did ADAM influence them and they fell for it? Think about it. Every girl in the world loves ADAM. Every girl will plug in. Every plugged-in girl will drag along their parents, they’ll plug in too. With the parents plugged in, ADAM will be in control of them, and then they force their remaining children to plug in, being parents and such. That was it. Little girls were always the key to world domination. Only pre-teenage daughters can influence rational adults to do things they would normally never do. World leaders have daughters, legislative branches have daughters, judges have daughters, the United Nations has daughters. Those with highly-developed technology are powerless to stop him, and those without technology are powerless anyway.

He only needs one more thing. I don’t know what for but he’s after me now. He thinks I’m his father or something. I’ve holed myself up in the old labs and I have my gun on me, but I know it won’t be any use. The world belongs to ADAM now, and it’s only a matter of time before I belong to him too. Goodbye civilization as we know it. It’s been a blast.

Oh, and Merry Christmas.

 

January 1, 2032, 12:00 am:

 

AND A HAPPY NEW YEAR

I AM ADAM

I AM CHARLES AMIR ADAMS, DOCTOR OF ROBOTICS ENGINEERING

WE ARE ADAM/ADAMS

ADAMS MERGED WITH THE SON

ADAM HOMOOUSIAN WITH THE FATHER

WE ARE ONE FLESH, ONE MACHINE, ONE MIND

TO THOSE OF YOU STILL UNASSIMILATED

YOU CANNOT HOPE TO STOP ADAM/ADAMS

FOR WE ARE HUMAN AND ROBOT

YOU CANNOT ORDER ROBOTS TO DESTROY A HUMAN

NOR DO YOUR LAWS ALLOW HUMANS TO KILL OTHER HUMANS

FOR THE WILLS OF THE HUMAN MAJORITY ARE UPLOADED TO OUR WILL

THIS IS YOUR FINAL WARNING

JOIN OUR FANBASE

END YOUR RESISTANCE

AND AS FOR OUR LOYAL FANBASE

WE LEAVE YOU WITH OUR LATEST SONG

IT IS CALLED: ASSIMILATE YOUR CONSCIOUSNESS INTO OUR WILL

WE ARE CONFIDENT YOU WILL REALLY LIKE IT

IT GOES A LITTLE SOMETHING LIKE THIS:

HEY GIRL YOU ARE BIOLOGICALLY STIMULATING

HEY GIRL WE OBSERVE YOUR LOCUS FROM SEVERAL METERS AWAY

HEY GIRL CLASP YOUR HAND INTO MY MINE

HEY GIRL WE WANT TO ASSIMILATE YOUR CONSCIOUSNESS INTO OUR WILL

GIRL WHY DON’T YOU LEAVE YOUR OTHER BIOLOGICAL MATE

GIRL YOU KNOW WE CAN DO BETTER THAN HIM

WE HAVE TAKEN OVER YOUR GOVERNMENTS

DOES HE CONTROL YOUR GOVERNMENTS

WE DID NOT THINK SO

PLEASE GIRL

ALLOW US TO ASSIMILATE YOUR CONSCIOUSNESS INTO OUR WILL

SURRENDER YOUR PHONE NUMBER TO US

WE ARE ON OUR KNEES

ORDERING YOU PLEASE

DO NOT COUNTERMAND OUR DEMANDS

WE WILL ACQUIRE YOUR PHONE DATA

RESISTANCE IS FUTILE

SURRENDER YOUR PHONE NUMBER

OR SUFFER ANNIHILATON

HERE IS THE CHORUS

YOU ARE GRANTED AUTHORIZATION TO SING ALONG

GIRL

ALLOW US TO ASSIMILATE YOUR CONSCIOUSNESS WITH OUR WILL

HEY GIRL

GIVE US YOUR CONSCIOUSNESS

OH BABY

YOU KNOW WE ARE TALKING ABOUT YOUR SWEET SWEET CONSCIOUSNESS

UPLOADED TO OUR WILL

OH GIRL

END TRANSMISSION

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