Friday, January 30, 2009

Gattaca was on CNN last night.

I was watching CNN last night and there was a report on how technology in the medical field is advancing so much so that pretty soon we will be able to make our offspring taller, faster, etc. I am sure this was not the point of the study, and I have been trying to find a copy of that report online but I just suck at researching these things. Anyway, the fact that future parents may be able to choose the genetic make-up of their kids could be a very real effect of this advance in technology.

What is the point of my near ramble?

Well, this reminded me of the movie Gattaca, with Ethan Hawke, Jude Law, and Uma Thurman. Not a lot of people liked this movie because, they said, it was a whole lot of talk. I happen to love talk movies. And the premise of the movie, being that one could choose which traits to give to their kids, was fascinating to me. I have to say, I loved the movie but I finished the it feeling more than a tad bit alarmed. I mean, don't get me wrong. I love sci-fi. I am a trekkie and Star Wars lover. But the idea that one could choose everything about their kids and then to have those who fell below 'perfect' standards be less, well, that bothered me. I am all for genetics making it possible to eliminate the chances of developing Parkinson's or Alzheimer's or Down Syndrome even, but to go so far as to specify the athletic ability, the height, the shape, the color of eyes- this was too much for me to swallow. It seemed to me like a different form of segregation and discrimination- the implications in the movie were very reminiscent of the days when African-Americans and Afro-Caribbeans, and women, could only use certain rooms, sit in designated seats, attend only a certain type of school, be eligible for only certain kinds of jobs. It left me with a bad taste in my mouth.
Ok, I was slightly comforted by the fact that the advances in the movie seemed far removed (this was 1997) or at least would take another quarter of a century to pull off. I thought to myself, this would be enough time for mankind to think about past decisions, to learn how to treat each other, and to accept that we are all equal.
Well, 8 years down the road and here we are. Ready to leap into these advances and yet war rages around us, genocide is happening in different parts of Africa and Asia, and we, collectively, are still so far from learning our lesson. With such advances happening, will we realize this time, where to draw the line? Will the quest for perfection yet again bring down so many? Will it take another half a century or more before we see understanding in the form of another Barrack Obama?
I think I better stick to the fluff movies and Idol for a while.


dreamwalker said...

I love this movie, Vicki. You're right it makes you think, though. But would you believe that I started using loofah even more religiously after watching this movie? I don't know why, as I am not covering up my DNA trail but I just felt that I had to...:p

vicki said...

Ok, not the thing that struck me the most but interesting to know nevertheless. And I mean interesting in the good way.