Black History Month Heroes: Vox 114 from "The Time Machine"

In Christian Lander’s new book Whiter Shades of Pale he writes one of his better Stuff White People Like entries about trivia and white peoples love of displaying their intelligence in a nonthreatening, culturally unbiased setting where standardized tests, GRE, MCAT, GMAT, LSAT, AP scores and GPA’s are unnecessary as points of conversation.

Vox 114 would be great as the token Black for trivia night

Trivia nights at bars across the nation act as a dress code unto themselves, keeping out unwanted patrons who fear participating in a public game of knowledge for a free bar tab. Trivia nights at restaurants and bars act as Black kryptonite in the same manner that classical music played at places of business keep away unwanted shoppers.  

The hipster scene is full of brash know-it-alls, who when they aren’t saving the world through Teach for America as Crusading White Pedagogues delight in overwhelming their friends with archaic and obscure knowledge in an all-out-effort to appear sagacious and ensure their bar tab is paid for so they don’t have to sneak out the side door when no one is looking.

Go to a trivia night in any major city, regardless of the demographics. You’ll see a crowd whiter than the one at a Journey concert, friends combining their intelligence into a formidable, hilariously named team bent on defeating any and all challengers.

You see, trivia offers one of the few times that white people can revel in their intelligence, decision to stay in school and earn that graduate degree and be free – albeit momentarily – from the shackles of white guilt.

Questions asked by an overzealous trivia hosts make every trivia player feel that they could appear on Jeopardy! at that moment and dominate. That a token Black might be seated at one of opposing team’s tables is of trivial concern, for you have spent years preparing to showcase your mental acumen in an inconsequential game of trivia.

All for a free bar tab. Trivia night at a bar or restaurant offers the owner a night free of disturbances at their club, unless someone decides to question whether it really was the Moops who invaded Spain. All bets are off then.

It is a well-known fact that Black people don’t play board games – though some games have been invented with a Black and white theme – but less publicized is Black people’s aversion to shows like Jeopardy, Wheel of Fortune and Family Feud.

Though trivia nights at restaurants and bars across the nation suffer from a paucity of Black participation, one movie decided to create a form of artificial intelligence (a fusion powered photonic) thankfully blessed with wit of Black actor Orlando Jones to dispel the disgusting stereotype that Black people aren’t good at trivia.
That movie was the forgettable 2002 film Time Machine.

His character, a holograph blessed with the compendium of all human knowledge, is a highly intelligent and sardonic Black guy:

Seeing that one means of Emma’s death has been replaced by another, Alexander goes to May 24, 2030 to find out whether her life can be saved. At the New York Public Library, a holographic AI librarian called Vox 114 (Jones) insists that time travel is impossible, so Alexander continues into the future until August 20, 2037, when the accidental destruction of the Moon renders the Earth virtually uninhabitable.

Though Jeopardy, high school and college quiz bowl teams and trivia games are blessed ever so-often with the token Black, the majority of these activities are deemed culturally bias and therefore the inexcusable exclusion of Black participants is unjust and unfair.

Thankfully Hollywood has created a Vox 114 holograph that could win any trivia contest and also that elusive free bar tab. A Black Fictional Hero we can all be proud of, even though it displays all the characteristics of a pedantic, pretentious, pontificating SWPL type one would encounter at a trivia event.

The Time Machine may have been a horrendous car wreck that destroyed Guy Pearce’s marketability in the United States, but it gave us the Vox 114. Deep Blue, eat your heart out.

Though Bernard from Jeopardy (who had a whopping -3,000 for Final Jeopardy) might not be the best trivia teammate. 

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