The crocodile itself does not reproduce a tree trunk, anymore that the cha[r]meleon reproduces the color of its surrounding (D+G 5).  
  [1] The trainer-pokémon relationship in Pokémon is characterized by a number of interesting linguistic features. In this imaginary world, flows of power are reflected by different linguistic capabilities of trainers and their creatures. The most notable instance of this power relationship is the invocation of the pokémon by its trainer. The invocation of pokémon is formed of two parts. The trainer selects a pokeball and hurls it at the opponent while reciting the words, “I choose you,” followed by the pokémon’s name (or vice versa). The physical act of selecting the pokémon is accompanied by a verbal command on the part of the trainer, linking the physical power of release to a verbal authorization. The return to the pokeball is also conducted through command and action. The result is a linking of language to action, an authoritarian demonstration of power in which, “Language is made not to be believed but to be obeyed, and to compel obedience” ( D+G 76).
  [2] On the other end of this dynamic is the pokémon itself, which typically speaks only its name and/or truncations of its name (See Appendix: Bulbasaur). This severe restriction to the pokic lexicon can be viewed as a typical instance in which authority speaks, and the subjugated minority is deprived of its ability to speak. The identities of the pokémon in this scheme are limited only to their own names, names whose main purpose serves the trainer’s need to command and differentiate between the various functions of the subjects under his or her command. Such claims are supported in the “persona” of Mewtwo, the deviant clone pokémon who seeks to establish itself as a figurehead for a Pokecentric regime—a totalitarian order in which the proletarian pokémon usurp the authority of the training class in exchange for rule by the verbally competent clone.  
  [3] But this view of pokémon language masks the complexity of the trainer-pokémon relationship, and itself silences to promote a unidirectional power flow from trainer to pokémon. To return to the idea that the pokémon only speak their own names—the unintelligible gibberish of the “other”—might prove useful here. Far from being a disempowered tongue, deprived of its truth-value by the master, poke-speak is encoded with a certain measure of truth, if for no other reason than, as Deleuze and Guattari posit, “Language is neither informational nor communicational” (79). In this scheme, poke-speak, as a streamlined language lacks the capacity for the effective transmission of information. While the trainer’s language pretends to the expression of choices or desires while really embodying a command (a command which is already being enacted through the throwing of the pokeball and the automated release), the pokémon’s language, on the surface, is what is it is.  
[4]This is not to say, however, that poke-speak is inert or without function. To return to the idea that “Language is made not to be believed, but to be obeyed, and to compel obedience,” again provides insights into the relationship between trainer and pokémon, but this time, reveals a different relationship altogether. By creating a language that consists entirely in repetition and recombination, poke-speak takes on the characteristics of the musical refrain, described in A Thousand Plateaus as follows: “Instead, what needs to be shown is that a musician requires a first type of refrain, a territorial assemblage refrain, in order to transform it from within, deterritorialize it, producing a refrain of a second type as the final end of music: the cosmic refrain of a sound machine” (349). By establishing poke-speak as a language of eternal (or only) refrain, each new iteration of the same old thing recontextualizes it, thereby engaging in a process of perpetual deterritorialization. To clarify, Poke-speak is untranslatable in the sense that there is really only one word (the creature’s own name), but this untranslatability, through use, becomes only-translatability as the entire lexicon is bound within the language system of the single word. One word means all things and meaning can only be derived from context; meaning is constructed through refrain. “Thus the sign has already attained a high degree of relative deterritorialization; it is thought of as a symbol in constant referral from sign to sign” (D+G 112). It is a language that is always new and always old. It is a language that can only be understood through a constant strategy of translation, or movement from signifying sign to signifier.1 The language of the pokémon thus commands, but not in the ordinary sense. The language itself compels obedience to its logic of constant deterritorialization.
  [5] The command of language thus becomes the command itself. The deterritorialization at the hands of language flows not from trainer to pokémon, but from pokémon to trainer. As the trainer invokes the deterritorialized subject, he or she, too, participates in the linguistic community of the pokémon. The trainer does not so much have to speak the language of the pokémon, for, “It is certainly not by using a minor language as a dialect, by regionalizing or ghettoizing, that one becomes revolutionary; rather by using a number of minority elements, by connecting, conjugating them, one invents a specific, unforeseen, autonomous becoming” (D+G 106). The trainer only has to employ the deterritorialized/deterritorializing refrain of the pokémon’s name to become something new. The invocation of the pokémon brings about a combination of parts—the trainer's autonomy is compromised through both the assemblage and the use of the alien tongue. The logic of this deterritorialization is paralleled in the way that the trainer uses the pokémon to achieve specific ends. The trainer invokes one of several pokémon based on its particular functions. A water pokémon is good against a fire pokémon, an insect pokémon is good against a plant pokémon, a plant pokémon is good against electric pokémon, etc.2 Certain situations call for the invocation of specific responses (much like a book uses your eyes in order to complete the assemblage of subject-eye-book reading machine). The pokémon serve as stand-ins for physical combat—they extend the capabilities of the body, or complete the effect-producing machine. In other words, pokémon are biotechnological prostheses. The creature in the pokeball is, metonymically, the effect of the trainer-pokeball-pokémon assemblage.  
  [6] To return to the linguistic operations of the trainer/pokémon dynamic, “A type of statement can be evaluated only as a function of its pragmatic implications, in other words, in relation to the implicit presuppositions, immanent acts, or incorporeal transformations it expresses and which introduce new configurations of bodies” (D+G 83). Here is the full force of the command power of the deterritorialized poke-speak. Unlike the trainer’s empty commands which pretend control, the shreds of poke-speak embedded in their language make deterritorializations occur, both physically and linguistically. The invocation of the master is supposed to occur as follows: “For sublime deeds like the foundation of a city or the fabrication of a golem, one draws a circle, or better yet walks in a circle as in a children’s dance, combining rhythmic vowels and consonants that correspond to the interior forces of creation as to the differentiated parts of an organism” (D+G 311). For the pokémon trainer, the invocation is not organized, and is thus not the invocation of the organic body. Instead, it is a simple process which only invokes a “differentiated part of an organism” –a body that is itself an organ—in other words, a Body without Organs.”  
[7] In invoking the rhizomatic BwO through the sideways slipping speak of the pokémon, the trainer is involved in the process of “becoming-animal” by becoming part of a deterritorialized assemblage of trainer-pokeball-pokémon in which the pokémon’s effect is indistinguishable from the effect of the trainer. The victory of the pokémon is the victory of the trainer, and this process of identification moves the trainer sideways through the assemblage. The smooth space established across the assemblage creates a continuity in which true sublimity of the invocation can be realized, “the golem” invoked is not the monstrous “Other” of the pokémon (or pocket monster), but it is the invocation of the machinic and alien monstrosity of the assembled self. The reality expressed is not the reality of the trainer’s command, but the becoming-“ reality of poke-speak itself: “The becoming-animal of the human being is real, even if the animal the human being becomes is not” (D+G 238).
[8] In relation to capital, this linguistic dynamic is evident in the relations between the first and third world nations. Deleuze and Guattari explain, “When international organization becomes the capitalist axiomatic, it continues to imply a heterogeneity of social formation, it give rise to and organizes its ‘Third World’” (436-37). In a world which frames labor relations along the lines similar to the trainer/pokémon dynamic, reducing native tongues to gibberish, while the master’s tongue globalizes, the parallels are quite evident. And as with pokémon, it is easy to construe a monodirectional flow of power, but here as elsewhere deterritorialization is occurring in interesting ways. Rather than craft an apology for exploitation or pretend that third world subjects are in control of first world corporate heads, I am trying to outline a situation in which the deterritorializing logic of deterritorialization exists external to the traditional conceptions of power, always changing the rules and relationships between labor and capital. In the most basic sense, the third world as a source of labor, a market, and a location of the imaginary (global music, cuisine, crafts, and tourism) exerts an influence on the first world that exceeds the mere sum of center and margin—the synthesis itself creates a system by which dualities do not provide easy answers.
  [9] In defining the “Other” language as that which is “only-translatable,” the center engages in the process of “invoking” its own monstrous self as an effect-producing assemblage. The person or body of persons occupying the “trainer” position engages in a process of becoming-other, or deterritorialization. Rather than claim this rhizomaticization of capitalist logic as a victory (poetic or otherwise), this “postmodernization”3 (to use Jameson’s concept) of capital is perhaps a nomadization of the capital normally associated with the State. It is an evolution: the labor pains of the Nomad State: the State of Speed.  







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