Coda: Is It Morphin Time?
Whenever the Mighty Morphin Power Rangers get into real trouble (surrounded by slimy, amorphous, self-replicating creatures), like Byrhtnoth at Maldon or Henry V at Harfleur, they have a battle cry that strengthens them in adversity: 'It's morphin time!' Once the ritual phrase has been uttered, the five teenagers become--like Clark Kent changing into Superman in his telephone booth--a different order of being; they transcend their crudely human physical limitations to become, what else? 'Superheroes'. The incantation is thus a form of wish-fulfilment: wouldn't it be convenient if we could fly and beam ourselves biomorphically from one location to another, overcoming the merely temporal and logistic and the single-state to become demigods and shapeshifters? Morphing of the self as an exemplum of the law of the preservation of energy. Trickster's transmogrifications in the folklore of Native Americans; Wagner's Tarnhelm (the wearing of which can turn a dwarf into a dragon or a toad, and give the weak and timorous Gunther at least the appearance of being the heroic Siegfried); Zeus as swan or cloud or bull to advance his amorous predilections: all of these are part of this powerful cultural testimony to the omnipresence of morphing wish-fulfilment. If only we were like the gods, if only we had some technical device (like the Tarnhelm) to make morphing the normal and ordinary state of nature rather than only a consummation devoutly to be wished. The question for a 'coda' to a collection on the electronic text is thus whether we might be close to achieving that new norm, whether the brave new world of biomorphs and cybernetics (and at the more modest level considered by this volume, digitized textuality) has begun to change the temporal and logistic contours of identity so that, just as the agency of the human subject may be called into question as a biographical, biological, and coherently historical figure under postmodernism, so may the textual productions of a newly digitized sensibility. To put it bluntly: is digitized morphing different in kind, in phenomenology, in ontology, from previous forms of textual morph? What does digitization do to the sensibilities of the morph-producer and the morph-consumer? Are we now Victor Frankenstein without the technical