My situation is a lot like the plot of the 1999 film “Bicentennial Man” (guest post by Senator Rand Paul)

We’re very fortunate to have been asked to provide space to Senator Rand Paul so that he may respond to recent allegations that he has been plagiarizing his speeches from Wikipedia. Here is Senator Paul’s statement in its entirety, unedited:

Recently it has been alleged that, while speaking at a rally for Virginia gubernatorial candidate Ken “The Cooch” Cuccinelli, portions of my speech in which I went on at length, for some reason, about the plot of the 1997 film “Gattaca” appear to have been plagiarized from the Wikipedia entry for that film. Earlier today it was also alleged that in a June speech on immigration, the inexplicably long and detailed description I provided of the plot of the 1988 film “Stand and Deliver” was similarly lifted from the Wikipedia entry for that film.

My friends, these charges are false and malicious. I am astonished at the lengths to which my political enemies will go to attempt to discredit me and the work I am doing on behalf of the American people. I must confess that I feel as though I am living the plot of the 1999 film “Bicentennial Man,” starring the irrepressible Robin Williams.

In the film, Williams plays an NDR series android named “Andrew,” who is introduced in April 2005 into the Martin family home to perform housekeeping and maintenance duties. The family’s reactions range from acceptance and curiosity to outright rejection and deliberate vandalism by Grace (Lindze Letherman), which leads to the discovery that Andrew can both identify emotions and reciprocate in kind. When Andrew accidentally breaks a figurine belonging to “Little Miss” Amanda (Hallie Kate Eisenberg), he carves a replacement out of wood. The family is astonished by this creativity and “Sir” Richard Martin (Sam Neill) takes Andrew to his manufacturer, to inquire if all the robots are like him. The company’s CEO (Stephen Root) sees this development as a problem and wishes to scrap Andrew. Angered, Martin takes Andrew home and allows him to pursue his own development, encouraging Andrew to educate himself in the humanities.

In 2025, Andrew has an accident in which his thumb is accidentally cut off so Martin again takes him to NorthAm Robotics for repairs, ensuring first that Andrew’s personality will remain unharmed. Andrew requests that while he is being repaired his face be upgraded to allow him to convey the emotions he feels but cannot fully express. The CEO informs them that upgrade modification will be very expensive—in fact, larger than the sum he earns in an entire year—but the price is well within the Martin family’s means, comprising a month of Andrew’s income from the sale of his carpentry and other woodworks and crafts.

After the wedding of Little Miss (Embeth Davidtz), Andrew realizes there are no more orders for him to run. In 2037, he asks for his freedom, much to Martin’s dismay. He grants the request, but banishes Andrew so he can be “completely” free. As Andrew leaves, Martin comments that he has stopped referring to himself as “one”. Andrew builds himself a home at the beach and lives alone. In 2053, Andrew sees Martin one last time on his deathbed. Martin apologizes for banishing Andrew knowing have his freedom was the right thing, as he bids farewell to Andrew, stating that it was an honor serving him.

Are you seeing the similarities to my own situation yet? The resemblance is uncanny.

Anyway, after Andrew gets help from Lloyd Charney (Bradley Whitford), Little Miss’s reluctant son, he goes on a quest to locate more NDR series robots to discover if others have also developed sentience. After more than a decade of futility, he finds Galatea (Kiersten Warren), an NDR robot that has been given feminine attributes and personality. These however are simply aspects of her programming and not something which she developed as Andrew did. Galatea is owned by Rupert Burns (Oliver Platt), son of the original NDR robot designer. Rupert works to create a more human look for robots, but is unable to attract funding. Andrew agrees to finance the research and the two join forces to give Andrew a superficial human appearance. In 2073, Andrew comes back to visit Little Miss but instead meets Portia Charney (Embeth Davidtz), her granddaughter (and Lloyd’s daughter) who looks nearly exactly like a younger version of Little Miss. Now aged, Little Miss explains to Andrew that it’s a genetic likeness that skipped a generation. As Andrew gets to know Portia, Little Miss is hospitalized after suffering a stroke. Andrew and Portia visit her, noticing that she is clutching the wooden horse he carved for her when she was young. She silently passes away, and Andrew feels the pain of not being able to cry and realizes that every human being he cares for will eventually die.

Over the next few years, Andrew and Rupert begin to study medical designs capable of producing mechanical equivalents of human organs, including a central nervous system, which eventually allows Andrew to acquire tactile sensations and taste. Meanwhile, his friendship with Portia evolves into romance. At first, Portia is uncertain about “investing her emotions in a machine” and almost marries someone else, but Andrew confronts her about her emotions and they eventually engage in a relationship that is both romantic and sexual. But both Andrew and Portia realize that their relationship would never be socially accepted. Andrew petitions the World Congress to recognize him as a human being, which would allow him and Portia to be legally married. The Speaker of the Congress rejects the proposal, explaining that society can tolerate an everlasting machine, but argues that an immortal human would create too much jealousy and resentment.

In 2128, Portia is physically 50 years old due to Andrew’s medical breakthroughs but decides that she doesn’t want to have her life forever prolonged by them. Andrew realizes that he wouldn’t want to live on without her. He has Rupert to introduce blood into his system which will cause his brain to gradually decay, allowing him to age; his elderly friend welcomes him to the human condition, admitting that it is unknown when exactly Andrew will die. Years later (possibly during the 2160s or 2170s), Andrew’s aging has progressed while Portia aged further. Andrew attends the World Congress a second time to petition to be declared a human being again. However, the decision is postponed to a later date, as the World Congress decides to review the matter before making a final determination.

In 2205, Andrew and Portia are now in intermediate care with life support machines. The elderly couple watch a broadcast where the President of the World Congress acknowledges Andrew’s humanity, declaring him the oldest human being in recorded history at 200 years old and validates his marriage with Portia. Andrew dies while listening to the broadcast, and Portia orders their nurse Galatea (now human-looking and sentient) to unplug her from her life support machine. The film ends with Portia about to die hand-in-hand with Andrew, as she whispers to him “See you soon.”

See you soon, indeed. Thank you, my friends, and God Bless America.

— U.S. Senator Rand Paul (R-KY)

Author: DWD

writer, blogger, lover, fighter

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