Lazy rascals, spending their substance, and more, in riotous living

“But then again, who does?”

blade_runner_final_cut Taking a stand on the perennial Blade Runner debate, Žižek declares that Deckard is indeed a replicant, and that the fact that the film doesn’t make this explicit is a “conformist compromise which cuts off the subversive edge” of the film’s “blurring of the line of distinction between humans and androids” (Tarrying With the Negative, 11). But surely this is the wrong way around: if Deckard is simply a replicant, there’s no blurring of the distinction between humans and androids, because all Deckard’s apparently android qualities are explained by his actually being an android; the moral of the story becomes, “sucks to be a replicant.”

This is not to deny, of course, that there is a great deal of evidence in the film that suggests that Deckard is a replicant. But what blurs the distinction between human and android is the film’s refusal to confirm what it constantly implies about Deckard, which is the best illustration of Žižek’s point that “the difference which makes me ‘human’ and not a replicant is to be discerned nowhere in ‘reality'” (40). One could even defend the original ending in these terms (which Žižek calls an “imbecile happy-ending”); even if Deckard and Rachel did escape to live a complete life together, it would never be long enough to prove them human.