Sen. Sam Brownback of Kansas and Sen. Mary Landrieu of my home state, Louisiana, have teamed up to introduce a bill that would ban the creation of human/animal hybrids at the federal level. It might seem like a strange way to spend time and resources, especially considering the dollar’s value is sinking faster than a destitute bridge jumper. But according to proponents of the ban, stopping the unholy birth of man-beasts is of paramount importance. After all, this is an issue of human dignity.
And by “human dignity”, these people don’t mean “the right for two consenting adults to marry each other”. Of course the fuck not. But I’m not sure what they do mean. How would grafting a cheetah’s hindquarters onto a baby’s torso affect the rest of humanity? Other than creating a new reality show star, obviously.
There’s a strange fear among morons that messing around with our genetics is somehow an invitation to disaster. They see this kind of scientific God playing as equivalent to the biblical Tower of Babel. They think we might be overstepping our bounds. But if I learned anything from the Tower of Babel story, it’s that God has a problem with skyscrapers. Yet as Chicago’s majestic Willis Tower proves, skyscrapers are still around. What are you gonna do now, God?
I also learned that the authors of the Old Testament knew fuck all about the history of humanity and the development of language. And that something really suspicious must be going on in Heaven if God doesn’t want anyone close enough to peek inside. What’s he building in there…?
I guess I learned a lot of things from the Tower of Babel story. But none of these lessons has anything to do with creating a test tube centaur. In fact, I can’t help but think “human dignity” is some kind of code for “genetic purity”, which seems a little too eugenicsy for comfort. It’s not like any laboratory mothman is that genetically different from, say, the naturally birthed Elephant Man. Sure, we shouldn’t strive to create genetic freaks doomed to a life of ridicule and pain, but the key difference between the Elephant Man and this hypothetical mothman is the fact that the mothman would have kickass wings. And if scientists were clever enough to create him with those wings, they’d also be clever enough to fiddle with his genes so that he doesn’t die when he sleeps horizontally. You sure did fuck up with the Elephant Man, nature.
But I can’t say I’m 100% pro-man-beast. There is one key concern, though it has nothing to do with “human digntiy”. There’s a question of ownership. If a private research institute creates a human/animal hybrid, to whom does that creature belong? To a corporation? They’d probably just use it to poison third world crops. And if it was made in a state-run institution–a university biology department, for example–would it belong to the government? They’d probably just use it to pave roads or collect taxes or whatever the hell.
Which is why I believe there should be federal guidelines for the creation of man-beasts. Only private individuals should be allowed. With modern chemistry sets, this isn’t too difficult. Bill Nye the Science Guy showed me how to test for herpes by swobbing the inside of my cheek with a Q-tip, and all my future girlfriends should thank him for it. Like the World Wide Web, science has gone from the jurisdiction of the haves to the jurisdiction of the wants. If I can tumble my own rocks, I should be able to create my own rhinoperson. Though I’d probably just use it to dig out my garden, that’s no worse than the slave labor my parents used me for.
And for the sake of human dignity, can we please not hassle gay couples who want to create their own human/animal hybrids? As long as we’re embracing science, we should also acknowledge the fact that gay people have been proven to make just as good parents as straights no matter where the baby comes from. Whether it be a surrogate, an adoption agency, a dusty African village, or a giant glass tube of artificial fluids in the middle of a garage.
Behind every great book adaptation is a forgettable first try. — By Ryan Covey