[journal menu]

[home page]

[Oakland Cam]

[email the Prop]

[sign guestbook]

[view guestbook]

[100 Books List]

[Other Journals]

She likes my journal !!

They have better beds on the A ward.

A cafe near Lake Merritt in Oakland

September 24th, 2000

Jellyfish Rabbit
I would like to clear up one common misapprehension about genetic engineering and what strange things it may accomplish within our lifetimes. Every strange thing will be accomplished within our lifetimes.

I watched a story on television last week about a rabbit they'd crossed with a jellyfish in France. No, not that, but they did manage to breed a rabbit with jellyfish genes that glowed in the dark. "Hippity hop, easy mark, glows in the dark", said the fox in anticipation. Probably not a lot of survival value for a rabbit, making him easier for the foxes to find, but they'd done it, and an American artist, when he heard about it, flew immediately to France to get one, to (I don't know, incorporate it into an art exhibit), but they wouldn't let him have it because they feared if it escaped into the wild and managed to multiply (as rabbits will), it could forever change the camping out in the woods experience. You might never need another flashlight. (Why would anyone breed glow in the dark rabbits? Think pets. Think hula hoops. Think Beany Babies. Think riches beyond riches. Think curious, so give it a shot.)

People say we will not clone/modify/restructure (fill in the blank) because, well, because we shouldn't. Hey? Hello? Because we shouldn't? People shouldn't buy children in Haiti - Thailand - Oakland for sexual congress either because it isn't nice and it will launch more AIDS and its variants into an already complicated and overcrowded interpersonal social environment. They will redesign every twin helix on the planet, my friend, cross babies with iguanas, mamas with papas, potatoes with former vice presidents, tomatoes with migrant farm workers and geothermal protoplasts with little bitty kitty cats. And that's just today with what we've already got.

My guess is technology will soon be available to allow genetic engineering in your basement. Right now ATCG-GGTT-CATA you need money, which means you're probably currently limited to those few million adults living in this world who can fund a small laboratory out of pocket change and altruistic interest. In ten years, rather like laser printers that dropped from $100,000 a pop twenty years back to $500 a pop today (same speed, better quality), the technology to do genetic engineering will spread to the suburbs. Be the first kid on your block to be, well, anything you want to be. And besides, the kid on the block won't really be the kid on the block anymore, because daddy and mommy wanted a kid with bigger tits and more muscles back when they were thinking of having kid and met that nice Mr. Jimmy with his chemistry set and winning manners. Who could blame them?

Anyway, that's my rant. It's like the weather, though, not much you can do about it. (Other than the greenhouse - long term warming phenomenon, which I suspect has something to do with the fact we have yet to find other signs of intelligent life in our galaxy. They all blew up, burned up or bred up before they built their transmitters.) I do admit to being curious. I don't think any of what I've just said will come true in any exact sense. Whatever comes will be both more bizarre and more mundane, more benign and more terrible. And interesting. Like the rabbit.

Make it a point, though, to note when genetics begins to appear more often in the media, movies and television. I Married An ATCG-GGTT-CATA on Showtime, for example. A sign that artists and writers are feeling a subconscious undercurrent. Entertainment points the way when labs built deep into the sides of mountains are moving us, one jellyfish at a time, into the future.

The photograph was taken at a cafe near Lake Merritt. The quote under The Sole Proprietor title is by Dorothy Parker.