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
September 01, 2015
Michael Schwalbe
The Moral Hazards of Capitalism
Eric Mann
Inside the Civil Rights Movement: a Conversation With Julian Bond
Pam Martens
How Wall Street Parasites Have Devoured Their Hosts, Your Retirement Plan and the U.S. Economy
Jonathan Latham
Growing Doubt: a Scientist’s Experience of GMOs
Fran Shor
Occupy Wall Street and the Sanders Campaign: a Case of Historical Amnesia?
Joe Paff
The Big Trees: Cockburn, Marx and Shostakovich
Randy Blazak
University Administrators Allow Fraternities to Turn Colleges Into Rape Factories
Robert Hunziker
The IPCC Caught in a Pressure Cooker
Robert Koehler
Sending Your Children Off to Safe Spaces in College
August 31, 2015
Michael Hudson
Whitewashing the IMF’s Destructive Role in Greece
Conn Hallinan
Europe’s New Barbarians
Lawrence Ware
George Bush (Still) Doesn’t Care About Black People
Joseph Natoli
Plutocracy, Gentrification and Racial Violence
Franklin Spinney
One Presidential Debate You Won’t Hear: Why It is Time to Adopt a Sensible Grand Strategy
Dave Lindorff
What’s Wrong with Police in America
Louis Proyect
Jacobin and “The War on Syria”
Lawrence Wittner
Militarism Run Amok: How Russians and Americans are Preparing Their Children for War
Binoy Kampmark
Tales of Darkness: Europe’s Refugee Woes
Ralph Nader
Lo, the Poor Enlightened Billionaire!
Peter Koenig
Greece: a New Beginning? A New Hope?
Dean Baker
America Needs an “Idiot-Proof” Retirement System
Vijay Prashad
Why the Iran Deal is Essential
Tom Clifford
The Marco Polo Bridge Incident: a History That Continues to Resonate
Peter Belmont
The Salaita Affair: a Scandal That Never Should Have Happened
Weekend Edition
August 28-30, 2015
Randy Blazak
Donald Trump is the New Face of White Supremacy
Jeffrey St. Clair
Long Time Coming, Long Time Gone
Mike Whitney
Looting Made Easy: the $2 Trillion Buyback Binge
Alan Nasser
The Myth of the Middle Class: Have Most Americans Always Been Poor?
Rob Urie
Wall Street and the Cycle of Crises
Andrew Levine
Viva Trump?
Ismael Hossein-Zadeh
Behind the Congressional Disagreements Over the Iran Nuclear Deal
Lawrence Ware – Marcus T. McCullough
I Won’t Say Amen: Three Black Christian Clichés That Must Go
Evan Jones
Zionism in Britain: a Neglected Chronicle
John Wight
Learning About the Migration Crisis From Ancient Rome
Andre Vltchek
Lebanon – What if it Fell?
Charles Pierson
How the US and the WTO Crushed India’s Subsidies for Solar Energy
Robert Fantina
Hillary Clinton, Palestine and the Long View
Ben Burgis
Gore Vidal Was Right: What Best of Enemies Leaves Out
Suzanne Gordon
How Vets May Suffer From McCain’s Latest Captivity
Robert Sandels - Nelson P. Valdés
The Cuban Adjustment Act: the Other Immigration Mess
Uri Avnery
The Molten Three: Israel’s Aborted Strike on Iran
John Stanton
Israel’s JINSA Earns Return on Investment: 190 Americans Admirals and Generals Oppose Iran Deal
Bill Yousman
The Fire This Time: Ta-Nehisi Coates’s “Between the World and Me”
Scott Parkin
Katrina Plus Ten: Climate Justice in Action
Michael Welton
The Conversable World: Finding a Compass in Post-9/11 Times