Texas A & M Cloning

by David Vest

Those of us with fond memories of the “Aggie Cold Fusion” debacle and bizarre reports of long-term alchemical research (well-funded, too) by top Aggie scientists could hardly have been more delighted by the triumphant production of “Copycat,” the kitten newly cloned at Texas A&M University.

Why does it seem to have surprised no one that this was done at A&M? For that matter, why should anyone have failed to suspect that the Aggies spent years trying to turn lead into gold? Hell, they turned an “Agricultural and Mechanical Institute” into a “University,” didn’t they?

Whether Aggie science has succeeded in turning DNA into gold is perhaps the more relevant question. The theory is that the commercial potential of cloning is in pet reproduction. People with plenty of money will be willing to pay to have their pet cat or dog “with them always.”

Why, you may ask, shouldn’t institutions of higher learning get in on the action and extract their share of funds from the idle rich? (We can be sure that Little Orphan Annie couldn’t afford to get her pup cloned without a check from Daddy Warbucks.)

The rich may be different from you and me, but they are demonstrably no less gullible.

Architects exploit them shamelessly. When I lived in Houston, people were making a killing selling nuclear bomb shelters in River Oaks and Memorial. Lead-lined rooms in the center of the house were de rigeur, as essential as Audubon prints and books supplied by decorators, who bought them by weight. People with a little less money were all buying the same cast-iron curbside mailboxes. Musically-inclined lawyers would want to sit in with blues bands, having spent upwards of $40,000 on hobby gear to try to recreate the sound Lightnin’ Hopkins got from a borrowed guitar and his fingers.

So ubiquitous were the custom stretch limos that entire cities appeared to be caught in warring funeral processions. When the limos reached the cemetary, the occupants would sometimes pay an arm, a leg and a neckbone to be buried near the big carved face of Jesus with the eyes that “follow you everywhere, in any direction, seeming to move as you move.” That they would not themselves be moving could be counted upon to escape the attention of a reliable few.

The stupidity of new money is one of the oldest, not to say richest, American stories. Can you say Enron?

New money combined with access to advanced technology can be one of the scariest.

It was enough to make even that old reactionary, Allen Tate, “view with alarm,” to use one of his favorite phrases. In 1950, in a talk called “To Whom is the Poet Responsible?” he raised the question of “how much natural knowledge should be placed in the hands of [people] whose moral and spiritual education has not been impressive?”

What sort of people was he talking about? “By such [people] I mean the majority at all times and places, and more particularly the organized adolescents of all societies known as the military class.”

Or, in the case of Texas A&M, the “faux military” class, complete with make-believe uniforms. Never mind Tate’s dismissal of majority rule — what else would we expect from a reactionary? And it is safe to assume that by “moral and spiritual education” Tate did not quite have in mind Jerry Falwell or Bob Jones.

To observe how far the level of Tory discourse has fallen since Tate’s day, we need only ask when was the last time we were able to imagine an institution such as Texas A&M being effectively attacked from the right?

The Aggie kitten is indeed cute. A&M’s estimate of the commercial potential of pet cloning is probably shrewd.

But Texas has already given us Bush II. How much would you be willing to bet that no one in Texas has yet discussed — in the presence of someone with plenty of money — the possibility of cloning Ronald Reagan?

David Vest is a regular writer for CounterPunch, a poet and piano-player for the Pacific Northwest’s hottest blues band, The Cannonballs.

He can be reached at: davidvest@springmail.com

Visit his website at http://www.mindspring.com/~dcqv

Like What You’ve Read? Support CounterPunch
July 29, 2015
Mike Whitney
The Politics of Betrayal: Obama Backstabs Kurds to Appease Turkey
Conn Hallinan
Ukraine: Close to the Edge
Joshua Frank
The Wheels Fell Off the Bernie Sanders Bandwagon
Rob Wallace
Neoliberal Ebola: the Agroeconomic Origins of the Ebola Outbreak
Stephen Lendman
The Show Trial of Saif Qaddafi: a Manufactured Death Sentence
Dmitry Kolesnik
The ‘Ichkerization’ Crime Wave in Ukraine
Joyce Nelson
Scott Walker & Stephen Harper: A New Bromance
Bill Blunden
The Red Herring of Digital Backdoors and Key Escrow Encryption
Thomas Mountain
The Sheepdog Politics of Barack Obama
Farzana Versey
A President and a Yogi: Abdul Kalam’s Symbolism
Norman Pollack
America’s Decline: Internal Structural-Cultural Subversion
Foday Darboe
How Obama Failed Africa
Cesar Chelala
Russia’s Insidious Epidemic
Tom H. Hastings
Defending Democracy
David Macaray
Why Union Contracts are Good for the Country
Virginia Arthur
The High and Dry Sierras
July 28, 2015
Mark Schuller
Humanitarian Occupation of Haiti: 100 Years and Counting
Lawrence Ware
Why the “Black Church” Doesn’t Exist–and Never Has
Peter Makhlouf
Israel and Gaza: the BDS Movement One Year After “Protective Edge”
Eric Draitser
China’s NGO Law: Countering Western Soft Power and Subversion
Paul Craig Roberts - Dave Kranzler
Supply and Demand in the Gold and Silver Futures Markets
Carl Finamore
Landlords Behaving Badly: San Francisco Too Valuable for Poor People*
Michael P. Bradley
Educating About Islam: Problems of Selectivity and Imbalance
Binoy Kampmark
Ransacking Malaysia: the Najib Corruption Dossier
Michael Avender - Medea Benjamin
El Salvador’s Draconian Abortion Laws: a Miscarriage of Justice
Jesse Jackson
Sandra Bland’s Only Crime Was Driving While Black
Cesar Chelala
Effect of Greece’s Economic Crisis on Public Health
Mel Gurtov
Netanyahu: An Enemy of Peace
Joseph G. Ramsey
The Limits of Optimism: E.L. Doctorow and the American Left
George Wuerthner
Bark Beetles and Forest Fires: Another Myth Goes Up in Smoke
Harvey Wasserman
Will Ohio Gov. Kasich’s Anti-Green Resume Kill His Presidential Hopes?
Jon Langford
Mekons Tour Diary, Episode 4, a Bowery Ballroom Blitz
July 27, 2015
Susan Babbitt
Thawing Relations: Cuba’s Deeper (More Challenging) Significance
Howard Lisnoff
Bernie Sanders: Savior or Seducer of the Anti-War Left?
Martha Rosenberg
Big Pharma’s Profiteers: You Want Us to Pay What for These Meds?
John Halle
On Berniebots and Hillary Hacks, Dean Screams, Swiftboating and Smears
Stephen Lendman
Cleveland Police Attack Black Activists
Joshua Sperber
What is a President? The CEO of Capitalism
Patrick Cockburn
Only Iraq’s Clerics Can Defeat ISIS
Ralph Nader
Sending a ‘Citizens Summons’ to Members of Congress
Clancy Sigal
Scratch That Itch: Hillary and The Donald
Colin Todhunter
Working Class War Fodder
Gareth Porter
Obama’s Version of Iran Nuke Deal: a Second False Narrative
Zoe Konstantopoulou
The Politics of Coercion in Greece
Vacy Vlanza
Without BDS, Palestine is Alone