Nolte: Creator Says ‘The Matrix’ Was Always a ‘Trans Metaphor’

Frederick M. Brown/Getty Images/Warner Bros.
Frederick M. Brown/Getty Images/Warner Bros.

In order for this to make sense, you have to know the following: the “Wachowski Brothers,” the duo who created the Matrix trilogy, are now known only as the “Wachowskis.” Why they’re not known as the “Wachowski Sisters” I can’t explain, unless they want to keep their options open after both of them started to identify as women.

Laurence Wachowski is now Lana Wachowski.

Andrew Paul Wachowski is now Lilly Wachowski.

And now Lilly Wachowski claims the original Matrix trilogy was — psyche! — always meant to be an allegory about life as a transsexual.

Speaking to Netflix (by way of Consequences of Sound), the Artist Formerly Known as Andrew Paul, said:

“I’m glad that people are talking about The Matrix movies with a trans narrative. I love how meaningful those films are to trans people and the way that they come up to me and say, ‘These movies saved my life.’ Because when you talk about transformation, specifically in the world of science-fiction, which is just about imagination and world building and the seemingly impossible becoming possible, I think that’s why it speaks to them so much. I’m grateful that I can be a part of throwing them a rope to help them along their journey.”

She explained that the very idea of the Matrix, a simulated reality crafted by machines, “was all about the desire for transformation, but it was all coming from a closeted point of view.” In fact, the character of Switch, played by Belinda McClory in the first film, was originally envisioned as being “a man in the real world and then a woman in the Matrix.”

Yeah, I’m just not seeing it. To begin with, the character of Switch doesn’t switch from a guy to a gal… So this all reeks of hype to me.

You know, I’m someone who gives artists a lot of latitude when it comes to theme, who gives those who interpret art the same amount of latitude. How one interprets art says very little about the artist and everything about the interpreter. Eye of the beholder, and all that. What I see in a movie or television show could be something very different from what someone else sees. It can even be different from what the artist intended (for example), so I respect that.

But come on, this Matrix angle is bullshit, is pure pandering to those who crave being pandered to: the shallow, stupid, and spoiled brats we call Wokesters. This is just a way to touch America’s hot button, to gin up some free publicity for the fourth Matrix chapter, which is scheduled for release in 2022 and is something no one asked for.

Where is it? Where’s the connection between the Matrix and a gender switch?

I get the gay analogy in the original X-Men movies. It’s all there, and it’s brilliant.

The only “transformation” in the Matrix, though, is Neo choosing a terrible reality over the blissful ignorance of life in the Matrix. That’s all you got, and that’s pretty thin.

You can find a half-dozen elements in Bryan Singer’s first two X-Men movies that back up the “gay/AIDS allegory” claim: prejudice, people ostracized, born different, the battle between those who believe the system works and can be fixed (Professor X) and the extremists (Magneto), singled out by the government, the ostracized form their own culture and community, learning to take pride in who you are, etc. It’s all there and it works because it’s never on-the-nose. Singer makes his point using the universal color of theme.

So you need a little more than a guy transforming from a human battery to a super-powered freedom fighter to convince me this claim is valid. If battery-to-human is the only hook you have to hang your thesis on, then every movie where someone changes is a “trans” movie. And because almost every movie features a protagonist who is transformed by the experience we just watched them go through…You see what I mean?

That’s not to say the Matrix — at least the first one — is not rich in theme, which is why it is still embedded in our popular culture conversations, and why it’s remained iconic.

In fact, one could argue the Matrix theme goes directly against the primary “trans” narrative, which is that it’s all sunshine and flowers after your transformation. Things don’t get uglier, more difficult, more dangerous… Everything is suddenly clear and good…   

Follow John Nolte on Twitter @NolteNC. Follow his Facebook Page here.

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