2 weeks ago
Jul 1, 2009
First Sheep, Then Dogs, Next Grandma
So I read the news that 9/11 search-and-rescue hero dog Trakr was cloned 5 times. Couldn't have happened to a nicer dog. He is not the only dog cloned either. If you have the dough a South Korean bio company will be more than happy to deliver you another Sparky, or five.
You know that human cloning will happen eventually. Not because it should, but because we are human, and we can't stop ourselves. It was unfair to give Pandora the gift of curiosity and a closed box.
I feel vaguely apprehensive about all this. There are of course all the moral and ethical concerns, and the legal ramifications should be interesting. But my source of unease is more of ruminative kind.
I've been wrecking my brain - and the internet - for movies involving clones, that are at all worth mentioning, I found them to be a mixed bag, from the woefully bad to wickedly good. Multiplicity with Michael Keaton turned out to be a lukewarm romantic comedy. The Island is an unimaginative mess of chase scenes, special effects and soggy plot directed by the dependably dreadful Michael Bay. Alien Resurrection was probably the most regrettable installment of the Alien(s) franchise. A huge disappointment considering that it was directed Jean-Pierre Jeunet - half of the French director duo of such wacky fun movies as Amélie and Delicatessen. On the other hand, the two of them made the darkly comic City of Lost Children, featuring several misshapen copies of Dominique Pinon. Definitely one of the good ones. So is the recent Moon. The 1956 Invasion of the Body Snatchers is by now regarded as Cold War era horror/scifi classic, and even its 1978 remake got a 97% rating on Rotten Tomatoes.
Probably the most interesting treatment of the relationship of clones were in Moon, where the two did not get along right away. Who said that you are compatible with your own self? Could your internal struggles become external if there were two of you?
What all those movies, good and bad, share is that their clones are always the same age as their originals. That's all fine and well for fiction, but that would require biotechnology to be able to accelerate growth/aging then slow it to normal speed at will. I don't think we are anywhere close to achieving that. Dogs of course reach maturity in a couple of years, but with humans it takes a couple of decades. That opens a whole another can of worms.
What if you decided to raise your own clone as your child? Maybe you'd think that you could protect your younger self from all the mistakes and missteps you made in life, and impart all the wisdom you learned from them. Would it work? I'm somehow doubtful. I don't think there is any guarantee that you would even get along with your own younger self. Would it be poetic justice having to be mother to your own teenage self?
I could go on, but my head hurts.