“Mom, the Smith family made Billy a genetically perfect child, and I’m really mad I’m not like him.”

Because the Matrix has you, Bloomberg News let you know that soon you may be able to buy that expensive new life accessory you’ve always wanted:  a genetically modified designer baby.

“You’re altering the genome of an unborn child, someone who can’t make a judgment about whether they want to be genetically modified,” Krimsky said by telephone. “What will be next, once you allow this?”

What will be next?  Lots of generational angst, because now you can even more awesomely blame failure on your parents.

In years past, we tittered and gasped because Heather had two mommies; now, Heather has two mommies and a daddy and no chance of cancer or diabetes ever.  Maybe Heather will also do well at violin, her SATs, and get into a great college.  “Let’s look at the pricing for this baby-making grocery list, I think there’s an app for that.  Oh look honey, great financing is available!”

I’m going to go way out on a limb here and assume that a custom, guaranteed-disease free baby is not going to be cheap.  “Hey, this isn’t Elysium you son of a bitch!  Poor people deserve to have healthy babies, too!”

Whoa there, who told you that you weren’t in Elysium?  “Well, I think I saw it on TV or something.”  Sounds like a snake in the grass.  “Whatever, ObamaCare better cover this!”  Yep, I’m sure that’s the intent.

Of course that’s the first responder’s thought—everything’s gonna go all Gattaca on us, you can’t play God, “My kids deserve the best!” etc., all the mental masturbation you can handle.  Trouble is, if you read Bloomberg’s story’ beyond the god-awful headline (I know, I know, headlines aren’t written by reporters), you realize it’s not about Gattaca-level baby engineering at all.  It’s about slight changes to mitochondrial DNA (duh, not the genes that might affect athletic ability, intelligence, or eye color) to reduce risk of a mitochondrial disease.

You don’t know anyone with a mitochondrial disease, and if you did, only about 15% of such diseases can be affected by mitochondrial DNA.  Which is great, because I’m tired of typing “mitochondrial.”  So no rich people engineering designer babies, perfect little life accessories?  Silly mainstream media; all this panic sounds similar to how they report on diet soda, doesn’t it?

However, ethicists (but mainly the internet comments) are in an uproar, I guess.  Rich people can make better and better children, even clearer class divisions, who knows what genetic monsters wait a few generations down the road.  I sense some awesome lawsuits ahead.  Of course, the comments under this story are all about how “the gays” will be the ones having better children and be able to make them gay genetically, illegal aliens dun took ur jerbs, we need to free America from the psycho Christian right-wingers, etc.  Wow, Jesus, even on Bloomberg?  Seriously: you will never find a more wretched hive of scum and villainy.

So the story is serving its purpose—people are reading the headline, skipping the hard biology and genetics, and immediately reverting back to the soundbites assigned by the Matrix.  Everything is working correctly: all defenses against change remain rooted in place.  When the response to a stimulus from the media is to immediately use it to to anti-identify yourself (“Goddamn it, I hate this, it’s not me at all!”) no matter your political orientation, then you know you’re being played.  You don’t read propaganda because someone’s trying to con you, you read it because you need it to defend yourself against critical thinking.

“No way buddy, I see right through the mainstream media and I hate it, it’s not me at all.”  Yep.  Exactly.  Have you ever thought the mainstream media thinks precisely the same thing about you?  I mean, you do realize that if God and Rush Limbaugh and the Huffington Post didn’t exist, someone would absolutely have invented them?


About Timber St. James

I used to be a galley slave, but now I race chariots.
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