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

DAVID VEST writes the Rebel Angel column for CounterPunch. He and his band, The Willing Victims, have just released a scorching new CD, Serve Me Right to Shuffle. His essay on Tammy Wynette is featured in CounterPunch’s new collection on art, music and sex, Serpents in the Garden.

Weekend Edition
November 27-29, 2015
Gary Leupp
Ben Carson, Joseph in Egypt, and the Attack on Rational Thought
Pepe Escobar
Will Chess, Not Battleship, Be the Game of the Future in Eurasia?
Dave Lindorff
Gen. John Campbell, Commander in Afghanistan and Serial Liar
Karl Grossman
Our Solar Bonanza!
Ramzy Baroud
Forget ISIS: Humanity is at Stake
Elliot Murphy
Cameron’s Syrian Strategy
Gareth Porter
How Terror in Paris Calls for Revising US Syria Policy
Michael Perino
The Arc of Instability
Yves Engler
Justin Trudeau and Canada’s Mining Industry
Tom H. Hastings
ISIS and Changing the Game
John Halle
A Yale Education as a Tool of Power and Privilege
Norman Pollack
Syrian “Civil War”?: No, A Proxy War of Global Confrontation
Sheldon Richman
Let the Refugees In
Ron Jacobs
Rosa Luxembourg–From Street Organizer to Street Name
James A Haught
The Values of Jesus
Binoy Kampmark
British Austerity: Cutting One’s Own Backyard
Ed Rampell
45 Years: A Rumination on Aging
November 26, 2015
Ashley Nicole McCray – Lawrence Ware
Decolonizing the History of Thanksgiving
Joseph Grosso
The Enduring Tragedy: Guatemala’s Bloody Farce
Roxanne Dunbar-Ortiz
Imperial Myths: the Enduring Lie of the US’s Origin
Ralph Nader
The Joys of Solitude: a Thanksgiving!

Joseph G. Ramsey
Something to be Thankful For: Struggles, Seeds…and Surprises
Dan Glazebrook
Turkey Shoot: the Rage of the Impotent in Syria
Andrew Stewart
The Odious President Wilson
Colin Todhunter
Corporate Parasites And Economic Plunder: We Need A Genuine Green Revolution
Rajesh Makwana
Ten Billion Reasons to Demand System Change
Joyce Nelson
Turkey Moved the Border!
Richard Baum
Hillary Clinton’s Meager Proposal to Help Holders of Student Debt
Sam Husseini
A Thanksgiving Day Prayer
November 25, 2015
Jeff Taylor
Bob Dylan and Christian Zionism
Dana E. Abizaid
Provoking Russia
Oliver Tickell
Syria’s Cauldron of Fire: a Downed Russian Jet and the Battle of Two Pipelines
Patrick Cockburn
Trigger Happy: Will Turkey’s Downing of Russian Jet Backfire on NATO?
Robert Fisk
The Soothsayers of Eternal War
Russell Mokhiber
The Coming Boycott of Nike
Ted Rall
Like Father Like Son: George W. Bush Was Bad, His Father May Have Been Worse
Matt Peppe
Bad Policy, Bad Ethics: U.S. Military Bases Abroad
Martha Rosenberg
Pfizer Too Big (and Slippery) to Fail
Yorgos Mitralias
Bernie Sanders, Mr. Voutsis and the Truth Commission on Greek Public Debt
Jorge Vilches
Too Big for Fed: Have Central Banks Lost Control?
Sam Husseini
Why Trump is Wrong About Waterboarding — It’s Probably Not What You Think
Binoy Kampmark
The Perils of Certainty: Obama and the Assad Regime
Roger Annis
State of Emergency in Crimea
Soud Sharabani
ISIS in Lebanon: An Interview with Andre Vltchek
Thomas Knapp
NATO: This Deal is a Turkey