Wednesday, April 19, 2006


This weekend included a journey to Tyromaven's to watch The Corporation. Despite Sarah's endorsement, I was wary; the previews I'd long ago seen in theaters made the film appear to be just another one of the kneejerk liberal documentaries that spawned in the wake of Fahrenheit 9/11. But no.

Everyone should see this film. Right away. It not only presents a fairly balanced view of the corporation as an entity (certainly its biases are obvious, but it does allow corporate mavens to speak for themselves without editing them to death or asking them nasty questions--and wow, the level at which they have no souls amazes me), but identifies the underlying legal and social problems that give it the character it has today. The legal definition of the corporation as a person protected under the Fourteenth Amendment plays a huge role in this, but there are many others that, being on vacation, I don't have the faculties to explain now. Please see the movie; please see it now. But there is one point I want to have up here now.

One segment of the movie focuses on the relatively new phenomenon of gene patenting. According to The Corporation, the only living thing that cannot be patented at this point in time is a "live-born human being." Any genetic engineering, any alteration of a disease microbe, any genetic pattern, can be patented. When a genetic laboratory identifies a genetic sequence, their scientists can patent it immediately. For example, the gene that creates a predisposition towards breast cancer has been patented.

"Why," asked Tyromaven as we watched, "can't someone sue them for having breast cancer?"

Why not, indeed.

There were a number of electrical ideas tossed by my amazing friends after we saw this movie, many of which I will discuss in the coming months, but the actions suggested by this one seem to me the most concrete. So if anybody is or knows an anti-gene-patenting activist, or can see legal problems inherent to this logic, or has anything relevant to say, say it, and if you like this idea or others related to it, spread it. I can't imagine that no idea similar to this has ever been proposed, but nevertheless I think it brilliant, and think there might be some pretty fascinating legal ways to approach it and work it.

Monday, April 10, 2006


While I was unable to participate this month due to a punishing schedule that limited my time with the blogopsphere, I wanted to acknowledge and honor Day. Textaisle started it, and it will be the tenth of every month here on inwards. The concept is awesome and very much worthy of exploration for those politically invested in the blogosphere. I fully intend to participate at least in May, when I'm not teaching, and hopefully for the months to come afterwards.

Monday, April 03, 2006

The Fan and the Excrement

Well. Coral reefs are dying off in the Caribbean at astounding rates, probably destroying both the tourist infrastructure of the Caribbean and the ecosystem of the Caribbean Sea. The number of tornadoes occurring before April 2 this year is more than four times the average of previous years. Time Magazine published a cover story on global warming, the existence of which its parent company must have been vociferously denying for years. The poles, obviously, are melting.

And as a high school classmate of mine said--in ninth grade biology class no less--"We get Waterworld, baby."

I have nothing to say. I am feeling some combination of overwhelmed and numb. My education and insight on this particular subject extends (thus far) only to the obvious, and I'm going to trust that all of you have already thought of it. Though I do ask anyone who feels they have some insight to comment--I'd love for this subject to be discussed here. There is a certain degree to which climates do just change. We are also an idiotically short-sighted species that accelerates our own destruction and that of others.

And when it is destroyed, honestly destroyed, who will be around to care? At best, the Oankali, or archaeologists of a new species excavating the Motel of Mysteries. We won't know the difference. Environmentalism, like everything else, is ultimately based in self-interest.

I'm as self-interested as anybody else.

It is a sad species that must toss shit at a fan before determining whether or not it is shit.