Cheese, Crackers And The Voigt-Kampff Test

July 8, 2008

Some, to paraphrase Kramer, serve their dark master, the cocoa bean, but it is the salty snacks that I crave, particularly in the form of a cracker. Having had a reaction due to the ingestion of a certain plant-based substance, I once rampaged my way through several boxes of crackers, leading my housemates to dub me “Cracker Vacuum” (it was later translated into Chinese as the far more sonically palatable Bin Gone Kon).

Munchies-inspired nicknames aside, crackers are delightful and the addition of cheese was a great moment in humankind. My enjoyment of this combination has been tempered of late by my concern that – based on knowledge gleaned from numerous viewings of Blade Runner – I’m a replicant.

When I first saw Blade Runner, it was as on VHS a couple years after its theatrical release. I’m certain it didn’t get screened at our smalltown theater and I’m surprised my friends and I found it at our local video rental joint.

It bored me.

I certainly found it to be breathtakingly grim and it’s still visually stunning twenty-five years later, but I didn’t truly ponder the ramifications of the concepts at the time. When I did, the questions the film raised about consciousness and humanity were mind-bending.

[Did they have crackers in Blade Runner? I know that there were noodles (which are another wondrous foodstuff).]

Now, throughout the film, Gaff leaves origami animals for Harrison Ford’s character Deckard and these items – combined with the unicorn footage added for the director’s cut – strengthens the argument that Deckard himself is a replicant. The unicorn memory is one programmed into all replicants who are unaware that they are synthetic creatures.

My earliest memory of eating cheese and crackers was when I was four or five and it’s vivid. On a family vacation, I was allowed to stay up quite late with my uncle; we watched a movie about cartoon cats in Paris and ate cheese and crackers.

Unfortunately, when I reconsider the event, I fear it couldn’t have happened. The movie had to have been The Aristocats (is there another “cartoon cats in Paris” flick?), but this was years before VCRs and cable television. Would they have shown such a movie on network television following the late news?

More suspicious is the conflict between my memory and my uncle’s life rhythm. It was remarkably consistent as I recall – on the river fishing at dawn, an afternoon draining bottles of Iron City at the Moose Lodge, and asleep in his recliner shortly after dinner. I don’t remember ever seeing the man awake after dark let alone eating cheese and crackers.

And so, I have to wonder at the possibility that this memory is my “unicorn sequence.” Maybe lots of people have such a memory.

Maybe Edward James Olmos is someday going to leave a foil, origami Triscuit at my doorstep. Or maybe a Ritz.

Vangelis – Blade Runner (End Title)
Vangelis really captured the vibe of the movie with his score. My friend Chris, who had prompted our friends and me to rent Blade Runner, played the album into the ground.

White Zombie – More Human Than Human
The motto of the Tyrell Corporation set to music. I met Rob Zombie at a record store where I worked and he seemed like a good guy – very polite, very soft spoken.

Cracker – This Is Cracker Soul
I loved Cracker’s debut which included This Is Cracker Soul, but David Lowery was rude to Paloma once and it’s dulled my enthusiasm for Cracker’s music ever since.

Kenickie – Robot Song
I remember Kenickie being “the next big thing” for about ten minutes in the mid-90s. Coming across this track to post, I’m thinking I might have to go back and check out the rest of their debut, At The Club.