An Army of Samurai Rabbits

By Nathan Payne | pablosmoglives | 10 Jan 2024

Remember when MTV was new, and everybody over the age of 25 thought it was the end of the world?  Remember when Karaoke came out, and everybody thought it was going to be the end of live music?  Remember when Napster enabled a culture of entitlement and piracy, and...

Okay, bad example.  Napster was destructive.  But what about those other things?  If video killed the radio star, and autotune nuked the video star, if Karaoke is a harmless, amusing way to spend an evening, and MTV is retro, what about A.I.?  Will Artificial Intelligence kill the perpetual Soundcloud rapper?  Will it finally consume the everlasting gobstopper?  Will it terminate the Swiftie?  Will A.I. raise the bar, or use the bar to bludgeon those it believes to be its enemies?  Will the giant bird tip its hat to the audience, or will it turn into a bird of prey, swooping down to devour the crowd which it perceives to be a nest of worms, a teeming swarm of goldfish in a wishbowl?

They didn't tell us about it in school.  They didn't tell us that when A.I. converts your image into a more-attractive version of yourself, it looks more like you than you do, but when it spits back an ugly, androgynous version of yourself, you wonder what its problem is.  "I don't look like that ugly guy," you say.  "Those lesbians aren't me."  "That macho guy with cool hair and a square jaw, however..."

That is definitely me.

A.I. can also be rude.  It often turns its back on you.  The people in the photo are usually facing the camera, but because they're locked in the world of the image, they can't see what's in front of them.  So, instead of walking off the edge of the world into the great 4-dimensional abyss, A.I. characters often turn around and walk away, back into the only world they've ever known.

The set of "Gangnam Style," basically.

But I am at a loss.  Should we follow the surly New Yorker into the streets of Manhattan at the 2:30 mark of the video below?

What about the Rock & Roll High School gang at the end of "Dark Side of the Dog?"  Like the New Yorker in "Greaser Boy," the gang of locker rats at the end of "Dark Side" has the amazing ability to invert their faces and feet, so that their faces become the backs of their heads, and they can walk away without needing to turn around.

Which is good.  Because it looks like they wanted to beat us up, but because the army of samurai rabbits has not yet taken command, the locker rats decided not to challenge us.

What if you have written an un-filmable scene in one of your songs, and need a fake storyboard artist to realize it?  Something fantastical and strange, like a guy with rabbits for hands trying to slit the throat of the sun.  What if, as an unemployed artist yourself, you can't afford to commission an artist?  Is the A.I. interpretation of your input the ultimate in postmodern artistic relativism?  Has devaluation been finally imbued with an artificial soul?  Is it a soul if I say it's a soul?  In a world in which a computer can just draw you a guy with rabbit hands and arms, does artistic relativism still exist?  Are we at the threshold of the final anti-cultural frontier?  Why go to the trouble of sticking a real banana to the wall of a fake institution, when you can order the attachment of any number of exotic fruit images to the walls of a nonexistent, subjective museum for one?  Have visual artists reached their moment of Karaoke truth?  Will the prosthetic rabbits enable the man to eat raisins with his elbows?  If so, to what end?  Will the rabbits ever learn to play guitar, or paint?


Perhaps the rabbits will convert the binary code of emotional maturity into bloodlust.  Perhaps it is conquest they are after.  Will the ones and zeroes of empathy and caring become warped by isolation and lack of human contact, until the angry rabbits don a trippy shirt, pick up a sword, and finally attack?


I don't know, but I'm not worried about it.  The army of samurai rabbits will of course be used for evil, but they're also fun to play with.  And anyway, I like "Gangnam Style."

And so, machines, a parting question:

What's your take on the Terminator artist Ai-Da?  Have you ever met the Queen?  In books if not real life.  "Real life" is a lot like a book, except you can never put it down.  Every day is constant reading.  But I fear that I have angered you.  I hear the sound of rabbits, and sharpened cartoon steel. 

So, was it the Transhumanist Dorian Gray Ai-Da painted, or does the painting depict how you machines really feel about us?  Bruised and tortured. 





Should we be afraid?  Would you tell us if we were?  Are you going out for Karaoke night?  Or are you going to write a rap song in the style of a Skittle Head?  With your back toward the camera,

And your thuggish rabbits twerking.

Will your rabbit army take down the locker rats?  Will you input your own lyrics?  Will the video of the instant masterpiece be full of philandering Koreans?  Is your work an army, or a symbol?  Are you an army, or a symbol?

Perhaps you are the symbol of a symbol.

How do you symbolize a symbol,


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Nathan Payne
Nathan Payne

I am a songwriter and bandleader who travels the world in search of the golden ticket.


Replacing my blog at

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