Clippy is, at this point, one of the icons of the ’90s PC boom, along with the flying toasters screensaver, the Windows start-up sound, the dancing baby GIF, and pretty much everything related to AOL. Clippy was a notoriously useless personal assistant, the worst-possible example of computer interfaces being dumbed-down and made approachable for the clueless grandparents who would theoretically be figuring out how to “process words” and “play solitaire” on their new, fancy calculators.
All of which makes old Clippy ripe for parody and subversion, but all of which does not explain how pregnant Clippy came to be:
Pregnant Clippy raises a lot of questions. First off: Is it necessary that Clippy be female? Could Clippy have reproduced asexually? If not, who is Clippy’s partner, and how did they procreate? Why does Clippy appear to be blushing here—have we caught them at an inopportune or somehow revealing time? Or perhaps Clippy is merely blushing as if to say, “It’s me, your old friend, and I am growing a baby Clippy within my womb. All is well with me; I will be a good parent.”
Motherboard tracked down Clippy’s creator, Kevan Atteberry, to ask these questions, and he was unfortunately unable to provide a response.
And pregnant Clippy is the weirdest one you’ve seen?
I’ve not seen anything weirder. I’ve seen pregnant Clippys, suicide Clippys, things like that. But to take him and, first of all, there’s no volume in a paper clip, and to use the paper to make him pregnant… The fact that I’ve always considered Clippy a male… How did he get pregnant? Maybe I’m reading too much into it. Who got him pregnant? How is this possible?
Before actively searching for it, I didn’t realize how weird these fan art Clippys get.
They get very weird. But the pregnant Clippy, that was a first. They get violent, they get mean, they get funny and irreverent, and I love it all. But I’ve never seen anything like that.
They move on to discuss Clippy erotica such as the self-published book Conquered By Clippy: An Erotic Short Story, which is on Amazon and probably does get a little more into the specifics of how a Clippy could become pregnant, though judging by its sample portion, it features a more male version of the iconic, useless, much-despised digital assistant. The full interview explores that distaste, as well as the fact that Atteberry designed the damn thing on a Mac. We can’t choose our parents, after all, even if we’re just an anthropomorphized paperclip.