June 19, 2003

Discarding Superfluous Babies

Britainís first designer baby has been born. The Jamie Whitaker was genetically engineered to be an exact genetic match to harvest stem cells for treating his older brother Charlie. The procedure had to be done in the US, because it was banned in the UK on ethical grounds. That something in the UK is banned on ethical grounds has to be a tip off that it is pretty bad.

This form of genetic engineering does not require manipulating genes. Itís really pretty simple. It is just a matter of creating a bunch of babies and then killing off all but the one deemed to be the best match. Eight of Jamie and Charlieís siblings were killed.

What really struck me was what their father said on TV. He responded to criticism of the procedure by saying that no one should judge whether it is right or wrong unless they have been in his situation. How often have I heard this? It is situational ethics made to tug the heartstrings. Itís saying that when the going gets tough, the truth gets going.

I have no problem with donating the stem cells from one child the help a sibling. It doesnít not justify killing, though.

Sweet Politically Correct Home

From my parents today, we received the video of Sweet Home Alabama starring Reece Witherspoon. Holford and Holford give it two thumbs up. The film portrays the redneck Southerners in a humorous and at least somewhat positive light, particularly when compared to New York City.

It was more than predictable that the soundtrack would include the eponymous Lynyrd Skynyrd hit. It is featured at least twice, including the segue from the last scene to the closing titles, performed by Jewel. Both times it is edited to avoid any political incorrectness. They got by with the second verse, since it would have been difficult to have played any significant part of the song without it. It would take someone with a bit of music history knowledge to understand the criticism of Neil Young.

The third verse is a different story. I suppose no one wanted to catch the sort of flack Trent Lott did when he said something nice about Strom Thurmond. Better not sound favourable toward George Wallace:

In Birmingham they love the governor
Now we all did what we could do
Now Watergate does not bother me
Does your conscience bother you?
Tell the truth

In its place, Jewel threw in a bridge about everybody getting along. Seems like a subtle move to undermine the actual theme of the song. Of course, since Jewel was born in Utah, raised in Alaska, and settled in California, she really couldnít understand the song anyhow. But after all, all they really wanted was the chorus to fit in with the film.

Posted by david at June 19, 2003 09:54 PM

With Jack retiring in just a few short years and owning a house down here, we are trying to decide if Alabama is really where we want to spend our last years....oh I just LOVE it here...

Posted by: Mary at July 4, 2003 11:41 PM