Spike Jonze's 2013 film Her, about a letter writer's romance with his operating system, is often read as a posthuman meditation on universal concerns about intimacy. Drawing from Sylvia Wynter's work on genres of the human, this article argues that the protagonist, Theodore, and the film he inhabits ambivalently cling to the fantasy that the generic experience of white male alienation can remain unmarked and universal. The film's central relationship rests on Theodore misreading Samantha's genre of being through the codes of his own liberal humanist subjecthood. Consequently, Theodore produces Samantha discursively as a sexed being through a language of affect. This language, which is central to Theodore's letters and to our understanding of Samantha's humanity, encodes the racial and class hierarchies that the film would otherwise seem to transcend. In making visible the generic features of Theodore's universal subjecthood, this article illuminates how the absent presence of whiteness that anxiously drives Her becomes legible through its gendered language of affect and its concerns about ownership.

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