And the Real April Fools Are…

Is it me, or was there a total dearth of humour this April 1st?! What with phone-in and competition scandals, it seems much of the media has shied away. Still plenty of foolery around in other areas. So who are the real April Fools?

1. Robert Mugabe. The man has totally ruined a country. A revolutionary, turned oppressive dictator. Nothing worse. He needs to see the blinding obvious, and step down. Robert, even with inflation running at 100,000%, the votes won’t increase.

2. Nicky Campbell. For his shocking interview on Five Live the other morning about a report criticising the city’s strip-club scene. He belittled the woman who’d written the report, and gave a strip-club owner the easiest ride of his life. Nicky: if you want to know the truth about strip clubs, you talk to the women in them, not the men. Shame on you.

3. Genetic scientists. Animal-human embryo hybrids are wrong. It’s a step too far. Life is cheap.

4. The US and the UN, for completely failing to bring Israel to account over settlements and the ‘facts on the ground’ wall. Thankfully, a more left-leaning Israel lobby is forming in the US. About time.

5. We are. For believing the lie that we are in a properly functioning market economy. When the captains of the capitalist ship take huge bonuses for doing well… and huge bonuses for doing very badly, it shows clearly that we are not. Something has to change on this. Poor performance should mean penalties, not prizes.



7 responses to “And the Real April Fools Are…”

  1. Very black and white Kes (—!
    Re No3— we are already a menagerie, a vast promiscuous planet of ‘illegal’ collisions, only 10% of our cells are consistent. The myth of ‘The One’.

  2. I like your old-skool revolutionary zeal my friend! We need more of it, although I too am a little unsure about your blanket “no” in No.3.
    I remember Zizek, a bit of a fire-brand himself, saying of his friend Richard Rorty (with whom he philosophically and politically diagreed), “I like him, hes a nice guy, when I am in power he will still be sent to the Gulags. But he will get a double portion of meat”
    Perhaps I should get worried if you are elected!

  3. Not sure that’s the point Nic. The issue is the creation of hybrid life, only to test and destroy it.
    And Pete, you love the zeal, but are unsure about the blanket. That’s the Betrayal of Fidelity you see. You need to stake your colours somewhere, not just wave your pants around in submission.

  4. Uh… …that was not obvious in your initial statement. So you’re ‘against’ the destruction of hybrid life, not the creation of it?

  5. Biologically speaking, it strikes me as inaccurate to say that the scientists in Newcastle have created hybrid “life”. They’ve created embryos out of human and non-human, i.e., hybrid animal cells. But what they’ve got in their dishes are an aggregate of cells and not an individual organism (part-human/part-non-human) over and above the collection. Even in human reproduction, after a sperm penetrates an oocyte we first get a single-cell entity (a zygote), and then roughly every 20 hours thereafter we get cleavages that produce first two, then four, then eight, then sixteen cells, and so on. It’s plausible to believe that from fertilization up through and including all of the pre-implantation stages of the developing embryo none of these collections of cells is more than a collection; i.e., there is no single human animal or organism that those cells jointly compose. So I’d need to hear just why such research is scandalous. If you think a zygote or a four day old embryo is a human being, I could see why you would be troubled by the research. But, a one or four day old embryo is not a human being. It’s not even an it. “It’s” a “they”, a plurality or aggregate of cells.

  6. I’m with you on all of these apart from #3 Kester. I’m unsure as to the nature of what is being created. If the animal egg is emptied of dna, then adult human cells are placed in it to create new cells – won’t those new cells merely be clones of the adult dna? It’s not going to creat a heart and lungs and become a body if left.
    And if those human cells are dna from someone with a disease, in order to clone cells to see how they respond to differing treatments, doesn’t this make the issue far less black and white?
    I’m not a scientist, and like many am trying to make the best sense i can from not just the headlines but the published info too.
    I am, by nature, cautious in this area, but the replication of adult cells to enable research is very different from the creation of an infant chimera, no?

  7. I think what makes me uncomfortable is the potential creep effect. I’m not convinced that there are sensible mechanisms for drawing a line at where things do become inappropriate, with the current tendency for scientists to push their agenda very hard with ‘we can do it, so we should.’
    I guess having read Guns Germs and Steel I’ve become more concerned about our interaction with animals. Our domestication of livestock was vital to progress, but at a huge human cost in terms of disease and subsequent immunity. The question is not so much what scientists want to do now, but what they may want to try in 30 years time, and what the effects of a biological accident might be.