28 June 2013

Sci-Fi Noir Pedantry Fun With The Guardian

I've often pondered the possibilities of devising a Voight Kampff test for the Pretend Left. You could ask a question such as "Do you want to ban things you don't like?" or "Have you checked your privilege today?". If the subject's pupils start dilating with excitement at the suggestion of banning something and their muscles twitch in disgust at their shame in not being as pure of class, ethnicity, gender or sexuality as they would like, then what you have is not a genuine, principled liberal but a sort of lefty Replicant that doesn't even realise that they're not what they think they are.

If you're still not sure, you could start burning a copy of that day's Guardian in front of them and see if they have a heart attack.

In the meantime, I've got another Blade Runner-related reason to frazzle the 'left''s favourite newspaper: one of its star columnists has gone and got the whole plot wrong.

Zoe Williams, in an article about mitochondrial transfer (or introducing a third donor's genetic material to IVF treatment) asks "are three-parent babies the first step towards a Blade Runner future?":

is it defensible to make alterations at a genetic level whose impact on future children we simply don't know? Is there any fundamental difference between screening out diseases and screening out undesirable traits? The spectre is sometimes conjured of a Blade Runner future, in which the rich can modify their foetuses to perfection while the poor have to take what nature throws at them. I personally am of the view that, if we do end up in Blade Runner, genetic modification will be one of our lesser problems, but that doesn't mean it's not worth thinking about.

A replicant, yesterday.

The creations that everyone's worried about in Blade Runner are not genetically screened to weed out any supposed imperfections. They are replicants: bioengineered robots which have been genetically engineered but not genetically selected or modified. There's no breeding, foetal modification or rich/poor differentiation at all.

If only there was some sort of well-known, freely available, easily accessible database of films and their plots that hard-pressed, deadline-pressured journalists on a quality, digitally advanced publication could use when they're trying to seem all popular culture relevant and classic movie savvy. What? Oh.

1 comment:

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