Tuesday, December 2, 2008

You will pay for eugenics . . .

... because you want to feel like a good parent.

Or so suggests this piece in The New York Times, which begins:

"When Donna Campiglia learned recently that a genetic test might be able to determine which sports suit the talents of her 2 ½-year-old son, Noah, she instantly said, Where can I get it and how much does it cost?"

I have said before that the reason why Feed  is the best dystopic novel for young adults is because it captures so well how inclined humans are to clamor and even pay for the hallmarks of an Orwellian society, especially if it benefits their children--something neither Orwell nor Huxley quite captures. The government won't have to install the two-way TV in your house. You'll buy it and pay a monthly fee because you've heard it's got good programming for your toddler.

I don't mean to sound paranoid or generally anti-genetic testing. I'm not (as a parent, I can sympathize with this); but I find it fascinating and troubling that parenting and retail genetics are so often two peas in a pod.

1 comment:

mary beth said...

Ugh, that article freaked me out, especially the part about "reducing the frustration of parenting." Parenting in America has become a corporate-like enterprise where we labor under the (painfully) false belief that we can eliminate every frustration and difficulty, and the dangerous assumption that that is a good idea.

And because you love poetry and I am having a rhymes-with-pritty day, I've pasted one of my favorite poems here.

"The Layers" Stanley Kunitz

I have walked through many lives,
some of them my own,
and I am not who I was,
though some principle of being
abides, from which I struggle
not to stray.
When I look behind,
as I am compelled to look
before I can gather strength
to proceed on my journey,
I see the milestones dwindling
toward the horizon
and the slow fires trailing
from the abandoned camp sites,
over which scavenger angels
wheel on heavy wings.
Oh, I have made myself a tribe
out of my true affections,
and my tribe is scattered!
How shall the heart be reconciled
to its feast of losses?
In a rising wind
the manic dust of my friends,
those who fell along the way,
bitterly stings my face.
Yet I turn, I turn,
exulting somewhat,
with my will intact to go
wherever I need to go,
and every stone on the road
precious to me.
In my darkest night,
when the moon was covered
and I roamed through wreckage,
a nimbus-clouded voice
directed me:
“Live in the layers,
not on the litter.”
Though I lack the art
to decipher it,
no doubt the next chapter
in my book of transformations
is already written.
I am not done with my changes.