February 17, 2011

Should clones' vital organs be harvested to cure cancer?

From my review in Taki's Magazine:

Although the movie industry is always accused of philistinism, filmmakers are often suckers for prestige novels. Richard Grenier, Commentary’s renegade movie reviewer in the 1980s, pointed out a common type of bad classy movie: the credulous adaptation that inadvertently exposes a polished prose stylist’s underlying silliness. Projecting an author’s vision onto a 30-foot-high screen can expose his lack of realism. The most amusing recent example is Never Let Me Go, the dead-serious adaptation of Kazuo Ishiguro’s acclaimed 2005 novel. (It’s now out on DVD in the US and in theaters in the UK.)

Read the whole thing there.

59 comments:

Anonymous said...

I wish I'd read this review instead of James Bowman's rave review. It would have saved me the time and money I wasted going to see this dull, silly flick.

Le Sigh said...

Larry Niven's A Gift From Earth is far more silly. That book reminded me why I usually stay clear of Sci-Fi. Well, maybe it reads better than it sounds on audiobook.

DavidB said...

I saw the film this week and had much the same reaction. The scenario makes no sense.

The speech and behaviour of the 'clones' (especially the boy) also struck me as slightly retarded, and I wondered if this was deliberate: i.e., were the clones engineered to be dumb and docile? This would explain why they seem so lacking in resentment at their fate.

But I haven't read the book, and I suppose I will have to just to see if it makes better sense than the film.

Mr. Anon said...

That's pretty damning for a literary novelist - to produce something that is less thoughtful than a Michael Bay movie. "The Island" was unexpectedly good - more thoughtful than the typical action flick.

Anonymous said...

"Richard Grenier, Commentary’s renegade movie reviewer in the 1980s, pointed out a common type of bad classy movie: the credulous adaptation that inadvertently exposes a polished prose stylist’s underlying silliness."

"Tough Guys Don't Dance" might be one example of this, pretty much ruining what was left of Ryan O'Neal's acting career.

Anonymous said...

Oh, they remade Parts: The Clonus Horror? Huh. Haven't seen that MST3K episode in a while. How's the adaptation?

Anonymous said...

Steve,

I usually find your movie reviews spot on, but I disagree with your take on NLMG.

>They merely endure a docile decade of making their three or four “donations” and then they “complete.”<

I assumed that these clones had been engineered for docility -- as cows have been bred for millennia by farmers. In any case, sometimes (e.g. Auschwitz) escape isn't really a possibility.

>Yet in a climactic scene of Never Let Me Go, Keira informs her equally luminous costars, “We’re modeled from trash. Junkies, prostitutes, winos, tramps.<

I assume the clones don't necessarily know the truth about their origins, or similarity to the recipients of the organs. Telling them they are trash might make them more willing to go along with the donations.

I haven't read the book, so I don't know whether Ishiguro hints at any of this in more detail. But under my interpretation the dystopia is that much more sinister...

Anonymous said...

Steve,

I usually find your movie reviews spot on, but I disagree with your take on NLMG.

>They merely endure a docile decade of making their three or four “donations” and then they “complete.”<

I assumed that these clones had been engineered for docility -- as cows have been bred for millennia by farmers. In any case, sometimes (e.g. Auschwitz) escape isn't really a possibility.

>Yet in a climactic scene of Never Let Me Go, Keira informs her equally luminous costars, “We’re modeled from trash. Junkies, prostitutes, winos, tramps.<

I assume the clones don't necessarily know the truth about their origins, or similarity to the recipients of the organs. Telling them they are trash might make them more willing to go along with the donations.

I haven't read the book, so I don't know whether Ishiguro hints at any of this in more detail. But under my interpretation the dystopia is that much more sinister...

Kylie said...

I thought The Remains of the Day was a brilliant comic novel. I reread it every year.

But I see what you mean about Never Let Me Go, after having read a synopsis and some of the Google Books Preview of the novel. I suspect Ishiguro was using science fiction as a vehicle for discussing important abstractions like the Meaning of Life, Mortality, etc. His mistake was in not glossing over the scientific aspects of his story (which obviously he doesn't know enough about to do well) and instead, focussing on literary themes (which I think he does very well).

I like the way Daphne du Maurier approaced science in her fiction. She gives you the bare bones of some "scientific" device, potion or process and then moves right on to the good stuff--what it all means to her characters and readers. Thus, we never learn why the birds suddenly start attacking people; they just do. In her time travel novel, The House on the Strand, her protagonist takes some portion which allows him to travel from the 20th century back to the 14th and witness murder, adultery, attempted coups, etc.--all far more interesting than his mundane modern life. She explores the question of to whom does an individual owe his loyalty (the old "Am I my brother's keeper?"), the meaning of marriage, etc. But at no time does she allow pesky questions of science and philosophy to interfere with a ripping good yarn.

Ishiguro would probably have done better to do the same, though I doubt his fans would agree. There's a type of self-consciously literary reader who seems to feel that the more incredible the science, the better the fiction, as if to be too concerned with basic scientific facts and theories means you're hopelessly lacking in real imagination and creativity. You know, like most of us iSteve readers.

Descartes said...

Reminds me to both finish reading my book on the ethics of human cloning and watch that film.

But aside from that, clones are a differently conceived twin. So if its justified to harvest a twin, why then a clone?

Clones are fully people in all regards as Dolly was a sheep. If one is to live by the idea that "people are en ends, not a mean" as uttered by Kant, than that is just unacceptable.

Anonymous said...

This whole organlegging plot thingee came from a series of stories written by Larry Niven in the early seventies. The most famous story was "Rammer" which he later developed into a full length novel. For our purposes the short story is better because it focuses on just the use of clones.

One big difference with Niven was that he is a standard small government conservative. He found it easy to extrapolate the totalitarian tendencies of current nation states to a future state that nationalizes corpsicles. This doesn't seem much of a stretch when you consider the medical experiments of WWII Japan and Germany.

Liberal Hollywood has a harder time when they have to create a future villain. Somehow the bad guys must be corporate. Corporate villainy for real human values violations just doesn't compute. It's theoretically possible I suppose, but for true villainy you need a full fledged legitimate government.

General Motors knew they were failing at making cars yet they didn't try to get into the clone organ business. It's easy to imagine any number of human spare parts entrepreneurs arising in many current day societies but always in places that have strong oppressive central governments. It's much harder to imagine two new Jobs and Wozniak types building and organlegging business in their garage.

Albertosaurus

peter A said...

You're right on about the movie, Steve, but your comments about the "stupidity" of the novel are off base. Ishiguro's a writer who elevates style over substance (very Japanese in that way). Either you appreciate his atmospherics or you don't, and there are many valid reasons for disliking his work. But saying the book's plot makes no sense is like saying a china tea cup is an inferior drinking vessel because it breaks too easily and doesn't keep the tea warm long enough. True, but beside the point.

Sam said...

You missed thebook's premise completely. It is not sci-fi nor about morality.

Let Kazuo explain:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-SmuYqKeTTs

agnostic said...

"Do Ishiguro’s teens use sex, drugs, and rock ’n’ roll to anesthetize the way that they feel? Nah. ... They merely endure a docile decade of making their three or four “donations” and then they “complete.” "

That's the one realistic part of the story, which was written in 2005. Kids today don't care about "cruisin' around in my GTO" (the median 17 year-old doesn't even have a license).

And their adolescent frustration and yearning is more about "Why can't SquareEnix make another good video game instead of resting on their laurels?" Not "I just wanna have some kicks, I just wanna get some chicks."

jody said...

i have no idea whether clones should be used that way but i have been thinking about a few other things that cause cognitive dissonance.

1) liberals said nothing about malik hasan's 20 round magazines. not a peep about gun control after he killed 13 people and wounded 32 with his FN five seven. also, why is malik hasan still alive?

2) if east asians are so much smarter, at minimum if they are so much better at learning and memorizing, why are the best 2 jeopardy players ever european gentiles? i suppose the thought process here is, why make 2 million dollars by easily crushing dumb whites in a contest of brainpower, when instead you can make fifty THOUSAND dollars busting your ass in an engineering department. cue doctor evil impersonator! "50 THOUSAND dollars!"

by the way, where is that anonymous poster who keeps posting those retarded international academic olympiad results like they mean anything? if it meant anything, one of those grinders would just go on jeopardy and make 1 million dollars in a year.

3) apropos of steve's recent posts about how the diversity mongers are after silicon valley, i am reminded of my post about how at one point in the 2010 NFL season, the san francisco 49ers had an almost completely african coaching staff of total bumblers, in an area packed with east asians and mexicans. nobody batted an eye. either the locals now mostly accept the NFL's lie that africans and only africans could ever handle the task of running an NFL team, or steve is right that nothing can be "too" african, only too european.

andres said...

Steve, I have the same take you have about this movie. It is never explained why this trio never try to escape their fate. Especially, since the movie never shows them to live in a heavily militarized society in which escape to another country would be highly improbable. And in any case if you know your inevitable destiny is untimely and painful death as is it clear here, you would try to get away from this place anyway even if the odds are slim. The whole movie seems to be very disappointing and highly overrated by many critics.

jody said...

and finally, cognitive dissonance issue number 4. the current issue of sports illustrated features a cover of aaron rodgers and jordy nelson, after the green bay packers won the superbowl.

neither of them were recruited to play NCAA football. rivals.com would consider them to be non-athlete non-prospects. the editors there would laugh at the idea that either of them could even play football. according to them, football is something only something black americans can do. indeed i believe that according to rivals.com, in 2010, 9 out of the top 10 quarterback recruits were black americans.

about 2 years ago i posted the history of aaron rodgers, how he was treated like shit for his entire career, regularly told he couldn't play, and was offered zero DI scholarships and almost quit fooball for baseball. even when he got to the NFL he was treated very badly, almost uniquely
badly. young packers fans, kids, would go out of their way to find him alone after team practices and functions, so they could tell him to his face that they hated him and didn't want him. brett favre made it know publicly that he didn't like rodgers and had no interest at all in helping him learn the quarterback position or mentoring him in anyway. i've never heard another player, ever, say anything like that about a rookie.

after the packers released favre, ESPN reveled for years in comparing the successes and failures of the two players, ecstatic to point out any instances where it was "obvious" that the packers had made a big, big mistake. meanwhile, rodgers displayed nothing but humility while routinely flashing signs of brilliance. he could make all the throws, putting up what are now historical passer ratings, and he could easily blaze past defenders for 15 yard scrambles, making them look slow.

jody said...

any african player who showed that kind of talent would have been considered a tremendously promising young star in the making, an "electric" player, and would have been treated with extreme defference. not a single fan would have shit talked him to his face. instead, hundreds of them would have been asking for his autograph the day after he got drafted. brett favre would have had only positive things to say about his backup. favre never uttered a single negative word about tavaris jackson, a HILARIOUSLY inferior player to aaron rodgers.

meanwhile, jordy nelson went for 140 yards and 1 touchdown against the "superior" athletes playing for the steelers. this is the most yards by a receiver in the superbowl in 7 years, and he did it against the number 1 ranked NFL defense. since it's impossible that he has any talent or is fast, and that every linebacker and safety and cornerback on the steelers is a vastly superior athlete, imagine what nelson could do if he had any talent or speed at all. (note sarcasm)

jordy nelson can easily outrun the steeler's safeties and corners, but zero euro americans have the ability to play cornerback. this is what the NFL is telling me. 64 out of 64 starting cornerbacks are african, year after year after year, and it's strictly due to talent. the best players play, period.

i note also that clay matthews was not recruited to play NCAA football and had to walk on. the 2010 green bay packers were the most european team in the NFL, with 10 out of 22 starters european americans, and they won the superbowl using players that rivals.com would not even consider as bench warmers.

Sheila said...

Steve, I haven't seen the film (and don't plan to). Re "clones" and "organ harvesting," however, this brings to mind the few real-life cases I have read where families have had children solely to provide bone marrow or other (non-fatal) donors to existing children with potentially-fatal diseases. Would they have aborted if the newly-conceived hadn't been a match? Would they have kept having children until they got a match? Ethically, is there a difference other than degree between this and cloning? I think one of these families was Greek and/or one was Armenian (in America, of course). Your thoughts?

Steve Sailer said...

"i.e., were the clones engineered to be dumb and docile?"

I wondered that, too. But, in the book, the narrator mentions that the clones sit around discussing James Joyce, although Henry James would be a closer analog to their subtle but boring conversations about what Keira really intended when she said that thing about Andrew to Carey.

Are they engineered for docility? They're ridiculously docile. The book is full of lines like, "We had the impression we weren't suppose to talk about that, so we didn't." Perhaps the book is intended as an attack on meat-eating, with the Hailsham clones being the equivalent of trendy grass-fed free-range cattle.

But there's no evidence that they were genetically engineered -- at the end of the book, Miss Emily mentions that there was a big scandal when it was discovered that a scientist in Scotland was trying to genetically engineer better kids, implying that Hailsham clones were just simple clones.

Were they selected for docility? Not if they were selected from either criminals (the implication in the book) or from super-rich customers (the more economically practical arrangement in "The Island"). If they were cloned from nice, docile average people, wouldn't any of them ever try to track down their clones to help them out?

Steve Sailer said...

"It is never explained why this trio never try to escape their fate."

Or why no non-clone men don't suggest "Come with me and I'll save your life" to Keira and Carey.

There are no non-clones under about 35 in either the book or the movie, even though there is a lot of driving around. In the book, that's hard to notice, but in the movie, the phoniness of the demographics is pretty obvious, which underlines Grenier's point about how it's harder to get away with silliness in movies than in books.

jody said...

oh yeah, i forgot the whole thing with maurkice pouncey, doug legursky, and BJ raji. wow, did ESPN spend 2 weeks on that non-story. the steelers were sure gonna regret having to use undrafted non-athlete doug legursky as a center. maurkice pouncey was not only a phenomenon but perhaps the best lineman in the NFL, the way ESPN kept going on and on about him. BJ raji was gonna smash pasty, wimpy doug legursky and sack roethlisberger 3 or 4 times. and that was just in the first half!

so what happened when the game was played? doug legursky had 0 false starts, 0 holds, 0 bad snaps, and surrendered 0 sacks. the steelers actually averaged about 5 yards per rush attempt!

not only did BJ raji NOT trample doug legursky, BJ raji had ZERO RECORDABLE STATISTICS IN THE ENTIRE GAME. 0 sacks, 0 tackles, 0 passes defended, 0 interceptions. it was like the guy didn't even play.

http://sports.yahoo.com/nfl/boxscore?gid=20110206009

let's not get crazy now. this was only 1 game. i like pouncey as a player, he's smart and light. at 6-4 he's only 300 pounds and i like that. i don't like these big fat tubs. pouncey should start at center and that's fine. but legursky could easily have started at right guard for the steelers the entire season. he had no problems at all filling in for a pro bowl center, and when matched up with BJ raji, a number 9 overall pick, he performed fine. wonder why he went undrafted...

Anonymous said...

The premise seems backward looking when you consider that scientists already can grow a human ear on the back of a rodent. How hard can it be to grow a human heart in immunosuppressed pig? This will be figured out long before clone harvesting becomes morally acceptable, even for the likes of Steve Jobs.

As for livers, I believe you need only a part of one so if you're fond of drinking, have half your liver taken out and preserved for later implantation. If you like to smoke, save a lung for later.

Anonymous said...

""It is never explained why this trio never try to escape their fate."

Or why no non-clone men don't suggest "Come with me and I'll save your life" to Keira and Carey. "

Wouldn't it make better economic and medical sense just to lobotomize the clones at an early age and institutionalize them. Keepers could then feed them an optimum diet and prevent them from engaging in unhealthy behaviors. Also, there are cancers that humans can develop in the mid-30s so it makes sense to prepare a new clone every 8 years or so and euthanize the 24 year old while having the 16 year old on tap and the 8 year old in the works.

Alternatively, once a clone reaches thirty, he is no longer considered available as a donor and is set to work painting houses, doing light gardening, or working in a fast food restaurant. This would solve the need for importing cheap, unskilled labor that requires minimal cognitive ability. Preferably, the clones would be sterile.

Of course, a novel about lobotomized inmates awaiting surgical slaughter would probably appeal to only a fringe audience.

Ray Sawhill said...

Smart and funny review. Literary fiction writers (especially modern ones) often are pretty lousy creators of plots, aren't they? It's all about the fancy sentences, the chic themes, the structural games, and the delicate tones.

sword said...

Why on earth are the off-topic posts (about NFL ethnic makeup)still up? Steve, zap them!

Anonymous said...

I haven't read the book or seen this movie but I do recall James Wood, a very tough literary critic who never much liked Ishiguro, really loved the novel.

From reading Wood's review and Sailer's review, I'm inclined to say what may work as a novel might not work as a movie, just like what will work as a song will not work as an opera. Novels don't have to be realistic since they can unfold like thought experiments, like dream reality. It's much more difficult for movies to escape realism, which is why what works in the thought-space of a book may not work on real-space of the screen. Novels also don't make good Theatre. (Remember Simon's rule: If it's worth doing, it can't be done. If it can be done, it's not worth doing.) And plays, designed for the fixed/enclosed space of the stage, don't make good movies either. The narratives of plays seem artifically constricted in the open space of film. While some novels are very cinematic and almost feel as if written for the screen, some novels were written to be appreciated as literature and nothing more. Kafka wrote great stuff but they've yet to be made into truly great movies. Welles's THE TRIAL is interesting but problematic. To my mind, the two best KAFKAESQUE movies are not based on Kafka's books but inspired by them. FACE OF ANOTHER by Teshigahara and HOMICIDE by Mamet.

Maybe a better filmmaker could have done more to convey Ishiguro's meta-reality in a twilight zone way. My feeling is that the novel's strangeness owes to the tension between the earnestness of the characters' voices but the dramatic irony between the author and reader. Maybe, there's ONLY the earnestness in the movie, which renders it solemn and dull--literal than metaphorical. A truly talented director might have wickedly shaped than reverently served this material. He should have played it like a mind-game(like what Lynch did with Mulholland Dr.)
In fact, this has also been problematic with the adaptations of Huxley's BRAVE NEW WORLD. Taken literally, much of its nonsensical. The novel works as satire, intellectual argument, thought experiment. But the TV movies of BRAVE NEW WORLD treat every little detail in the most literal way possible. It's like telling a joke minus the inflections, pauses, and the timing--reading it straight like a computerized voice program.

This isn't to say NEVER LET ME GO was meant to be a work of satire like BNW. It seems closer to THX 1138, 1984, and LOGAN'S RUN in spirit. But words by their nature create a certain distance or leeway between the action and the reader, the space necessary for our free flow of thought. Words suggest and imply things which we process in our own way. So, NLMG as a realistic story may seem silly. (This is perhaps why Kubrick's A Clockwork Orange is a great cinematic achievement. Kubrick understood the pitfalls of following a dystopian fantasy too closely in terms of realism so he expanded and played it for stylistic possibilities. But then, the visual brilliance made us forget what the novel is really about, and so the film's rightly been called a moral failure.)

Anonymous said...

What is NEVER LET ME GO about? Hell if I know as I haven't seen it. I do recall seeing REMAINS OF THE DAY, which too was about programming of sorts. The uppercrust aristocrat and his peers were programmed to feel that they are imbued with superior wisdom. And the butler guy was programmed to follow orders and know/feel nothing more than what was expected of him. Even through slights and humiliations from those above him and around him, he goes on with his job. His sense of duty would be admirable if it weren't so pathologically perfectionist. It's like he's part of a caste, and he mustn't do anything to upset the order.
There seems to be an element of that in NLMG. Ishiguro could be commenting on the legacy of the caste/class system and its imprint on the psychology of Britons. Or maybe he's using Britain to reveal something about Japan as well, with its 'obsession' about everyone belonging in his/her place.
This may seem a bit absurd in today's UK, which aint what it was in the 40s or 50s. UK is a wild, crazy, and out-of-control place where traditional class distinctions are a thing of the past. So, the irony is that the intellectual/cultural liberal elites who bemoan and condemn the conformist insularity of Britain of the past seem to be insular, enclosed, and fixated in their own little world of truisms, correctness, etc. I mean the world we live in isn't the 1940s with Nazis attacking Britain, rounding up Jews, and British imperialism controlling much of the world. The biggest problem/danger facing Europe is rapid demographic changes resulting from out-of-control immigration aided and abetted by EU politics and policies. Only for insular liberal elites who have lost touch with real reality are the biggest threats to the West posed by evil 'racists', Nazis, and uppercrust snobs.

Anonymous said...

On the other hand, books and movies have implications beyond the intentions of their creator, and NLMG could almost serve as an allegory about PC and the rise of new global elites(though clearly not the intention of Ishiguro). After all, we have Alex Jones warning us day and night about the new global elites who are working on genetics to boost their own kind above the rest of humanity who are to be subjugated and controlled as slaves(only too happy in their slavery with their troughs filled with cheapie bread and circuses). It is also true that PC has made many white people as defenseless and accepting of their fates as the doomed and ultimately passive characters in NLMG. In the novel by the South African author--I forget the title but the father is attacked and daughter raped by blacks--, the daughter doesn't run from obvious danger. She decides to stick around and become a virtual slave to the newly empowered blacks. Why? It seems western PC got to her soul like the dystopian 'ideology' got to the characters in NLMG. For a long while, Germany has been abolishing itself, but few Germans have dared to mention it. And even now, it remains to be seen if Germans will really do anything about it. Will Germans stoically work to pay for increasing welfare for the expanding Muslim population which will eventually take over Germany? And what did WASPS do as their power was stripped systematically by the rising Jewish elites? And what did Bush and Rove do to the GOP in the 2000s by forking over tens of billions to Africa and embracing open borders while doing precious little for the people--white conservatives--who voted them into office? And how long before Europe is Eurabia or Eurafrica? In a way, it's as if all of Europe has become a vast cloning farm for Africans and Muslims who will surely take over the entire continent in the future. Whites will continue to create the wealth so that it will all be eventually appropriated by non-whites. And it seems like a whole bunch of white blonde women are being 'cloned' to serve as sexual pets of non-white global elites. Where is the resistance? Where is the desire to turn back this tide? We see little of it. Instead, we get white-suicide state propaganda like this:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kTDZKHeOPjU

The new Stockholm Syndrome.

Anonymous said...

Human psychology is strange. In the 1930s, many Jews left Germany, but many didn't. Some didn't cuz they had no means to do so. But some chose to stay EVEN IF they could have left because they'd grown up thinking of themselves as primarily Germans. Despite the dangerous rise in radical antisemitism, their sense of(even a sense of duty to)Germanness kept them in Germany. They kept hoping that a great and decent people like the Germans would eventually come to their senses and stop the persecution. And something I read in Kurosawa's autobio chills me to this day. He said he grew up loving Western classical music and Western(esp. Russian literature). He was a modernized Japanese; he didn't believe in the divinity of the emperor and hated military rule. But he said that if the emperor had called on Japanese to commit mass suicide, he would have done so. His rational mind went one way, his heart went another way. This was later expressed in KAGEMUSHA where a common thief--hired and then fired as an impersonator of a dead clan lord--chooses meaningful death than lonely life in the final scene. Maybe it's because humans need to belong to something. Freedom is nice, but many people would rather belong to something even if it means the loss of freedom. And some would rather die meaningfully than live meaninglessly. Of course, 'meaning' depends on the ideas, values, and feelings instilled into us. Some whites in South Africa know all about the looming danger and are getting out as fast as possible. But other whites wanna remain even if it means impoverishment and death. For them, it's the only homeland they know(sentimental or 'meaningful' attachment), and even if they were to die at the hands of blacks, it may have moral meaning as atonement for 'racism'.
In the KILLING FIELDS, the Cambodian journalist (almost suicidally)chooses to stick with Sydney Schanberg though he could have safe departure with his family. Of course, Schanberg manipulates him, which is why he later feels guilt about the whole thing. Anyway, the Cambodian guy did something irrational because it was meaningful. His career owed much to Schanberg, and he knew Schanberg needed him as a translator, so he stayed. (It may also have been a legacy of Western imperialism--which taught non-whites to serve white bosses--and the culture of Asian subservience--where underlings were supposed to remain loyal to their masters unto death.) And some abused women keep returning to their abusive husbands. And some humiliated men keep returning to the women who keep using and manipulating them. Wasn't there some movie not to long ago about some dweeby beta-male who keeps blaming himself and apologizing to his wife who feels nothing but contempt for him and uses him like a doormat?
And Kurosawa's BAD SLEEP WELL is about the common practice among Japanese--at least in the 50s-70s--for lower execs to serve as scapegoats to save the company's honor. They took their own lives so that their companies could survive.
And BLADE RUNNER has a strange ambiguity. Though Roy and his crew rebel against humanity, Rachael is a more confused figure. She wants to run and save herself but the world of humans is the only one she knows. And even when she learns that her memory is fake, she cannot just let it all go. Same goes for Deckard who may be a replicant too. They are caught between two worlds. And in AI, the robot kid comes to meet his maker and finds out about who he is really is, but he still can't let go of 'mommy'. Innocence-Lost can be a bummer, but Innocence-That-Cannot-Be-Lost is a nightmare.

Anonymous said...

Though the fate of the clones in NLMG is pretty grim, they may still find more meaning in subservience than in freedom. A movie like THE ISLAND, like most Hollywood movies, is without psychology. It assumes that once people know they've been 'fucked over', they will naturally wake up and do the right thing. Not so or at least not always.
In a way, the caste system lasted as long as it did in India because it imbued the members of the various castes--even to the lowest--with meaning. This may seem absurd to modern Westerners, but it makes a certain moral/spiritual sense within the context of Hinduism. We tend to think of the untouchable caste as oppressed and without prospect of upward mobility, but this is because we fixate on the individual-within-a-single-lifetime. For Hindus who believe in reincarnaton, a lifetime is merely a link in an ongoing process. So, an untouchable can socially rise, not in his lifetime but in the next life. And in order for him to be born into an higher caste, he must be a very good untouchable. He mustn't question his lowly status. He must accept it and follow its rules. Then his karma credits will be boosted, and he may be reborn into a member of the higher caste and etc and etc. And, there is a a kind of spiritual justice in the hindu caste system. It could be that an untouchable in his former life was a brahim who committed a great crime and accumulated bad karma. So, it is morally just that he was reborn as(or demoted into) a member of the lower caste. He lost his stripes for the next life. Or maybe an untouchable was a lowly and dirty pig in an earlier life, which means that his reincarnation as an untouchable is really a blessing, a promotion. And if he is a good untouchable who accepts his karmic lot in life, he will be reborn into a higher caste. So, in a spiritual inter-life sense, what may seem unjust and oppressive to us can seem meaningful and spiritual to Hindus. We in the West believe that every human life is unique. Each soul and body belongs to an individual. But in the Hindu East, the soul is an ever-changing chain in the karmic drama. There is no fixed 'I' or 'you'. 'You' just happen to be the latest manifestation of a soul that could have been an ant, lizard, snake, goat, woman, man, etc. and will be a whole series of different lifeforms in the future. Social promotion according to Hinduism happens across lifetimes. For us in the West, untouchables who convert to Christianity are seeking justice and equality. But to Hindu fundamentalists, untouchables who step outside of their caste are refusing to pay for the crimes of their previous lives. Suppose a Brahmin did something godawful and was born an untouchable as karmic punishment. Then, he must suffer as an untouchable, just as a child murderer must do his time in prison. Also, a Hindu may feel that an untouchable who rejects his caste obligation is ruining his chances of being reborn into a higher caste. While the untouchable may improve his lot in his lifetime by defying caste rules, he will also accumulate bad karma, which means that he will be punished in the next life by being reincarnated as an dung beetle, cockroach, or Chris Matthews.

Anonymous said...

Prior to the rise of science of genetics, there was the Western ideal of the Christian soul, whereby each person possessed his/her unique soul beloved of God. A person's worth was a matter of his thoughts and actions. To Jesus, it didn't matter if a person was born poor or worked as a hooker. Salvation was open to all. But Darwinian science told us that we are part of a link. Our intelligence, physical attributes and strengths, our diseases, our beauty, our ugliness, our temperaments, etc are not merely a matter of personal or individual choice but determined by a kind of genetic karma. At the extreme radical end, some ideologies like Nazism have interpreted these findings to mean that certain superior races with super-genes are meant to rule the world while the lesser races are meant to serve the super-races or be exterminated. But even apart from radical ideologies, genetics has thrown a monkey's wrench into the whole notion of indiviuality and free will. What if some people are born to be liberal, some are born to be conservative, some are born to be criminal, some are born to be dumb, etc? And what if IDIOCRACY is the future? But others like Alex Jones fear that elitocracy is the real danger, with the global elites seeking boost their genes to superhuman levels while developing new drugs to mentally tranquilize us into slavish masses and drones.

Anyway, my guess is that the clones in the movie choose meaningful death over meaningless life/freedom since it's the only meaning they know. Consider the fact that plenty of artists in the free world returned to their repressive homelands simply because it had more meaning. Stravinsky warned Prokofiev not to return to Stalin's Russia where artists could get killed, but Prokofiev, though not communist, returned because Russia was his home. And in Dr. Zhivago(the movie), Sharif cannot make himself leave his beloved Russia either. And in RIDE WITH THE DEVIL, a black guy rides and fights alongside pro-slavery Southeners. It has meaning to the black guy since his best friend is a white southerner. Bonding is like bondage. Indeed, the black guy finally feels free when his white friend dies. Similarly, many whites are loathe to fight for their own racial survival because of their personal bonding/bondage with non-whites. A white conservative may not oppose open borders because he has Mexican-American friends he wishes not to offend.

Anonymous said...

When the Soviet-backed regime in Afghanistan was on the ropes, its leader Najibullah could have opted for refuge in Russia, but he chose to stay in the Kabul. The Taliban lynched him to death. But maybe it meant something for him to die on his homeland. And in the movie DOWNFALL, it's chilling how many Germans remain suicidally loyal to Hitler even when they must rationally realize that Hitler is to blame for the tragedy that befell their country. Some of them could hide and run, but they choose to fight and die for a decrepit man. Indeed, it is only when Hitler finally dies that some of them feel liberated from this need to fight and die for his cause--just like the black guy feels free only when his white friend dies. Maybe in NLMG, the clones return not only because of the 'ideological meaning' fed to them but because their deepest personal link is to their teacher in the 'boarding school'. She is the only 'mother' they know.
And like the untouchables in traditional India, the clones may have been instilled with the feeling that they must do what they must do because of their karmically polluted genes. Since they are genetically 'trash', their only hope of salvation is to sacrifice themselves so that those with cleaner genes may live. It's a geneticization of Christian moral guilt which says a sinner may find redemption by giving his life for people worthier than he. TALE OF TWO CITIES ends with a self-loathing sinner who gives his life to save the life of a good man. If Christianity deals with the human soul, bio-genetics deals with matters of race and blood. So, in the eyes of the Nazis, the Jewish race is unclean and must be destroyed so that the Aryan Race will thrive. And on the Left, the diatribes against the white race has gone beyond the historical or cultural. It's as if white genes are karmically polluted, which is why whites are forbidden to show any racial pride, work for white racial interest of power, why whites must apologize forever. And this doesn't apply just to whites who at one time ruled the world, like Anglos and French. It applies to Poles and Romanians too, even though they never conquered or exploited non-European lands and peoples. Affirmative action in the US targets whites of all ethnic and economic backgrounds. And the passive and defenseless attitude of most whites can only be explained when we understand that the PC has great meaning in their lives. They were raised with guilt, shame, and even self-loathing thanks to the media, schooling, movies, culture. So, their suicidal self-loathing, stupid as it may be to many of us, is meaningful to them.

Sailer is wrong to think Trash = Ugly. After all, many people who work in strip clubs, whorehouses, porn, and fashion come from humble or even trashy backgrounds. Many famous Hollywood stars yesterday and today came from the lower classes. Joan Crawford to just name one. And one could say Ronald Reagan too had 'white trash' background cuz his father was a drunken boor. So, one could be 'trash' and still be good-looking and even smart.

Whiskey said...

Well, this novel/film to me cements a suspicion I have about non-Westerners observing Western society -- they just don't get it.

We have ample historical and current evidence of what White people do when they think it is highly likely they will die (in fairly gruesome ways). They become very fatalistic, but also highly aggressive and violent (no real reason not to be, anymore) and intensely interested in augery, superstitions, and so on that can reveal their intimate fates.

We see this with US soldiers in combat, it was seen in Serbia, Croatia, and among the IRA/Orangemen UDA, etc. It was seen among the border peoples of Britain, and in the US backcountry. Also among the Tidewater elite. It was seen in the Blitz, and among Germans in the US bombing.

The novelist seems to think that all British people are genteel, Garden-Party upper middle class twits who are passive. Anyone witnessing the crowd in a UK soccer match would have no illusions. As Theodore Dalrymple observes, the White British chav LOVES fighting, and adopts a fatalistic and cabalistic attitude towards what he sees as inevitable death.

And as Steve notes, the novelist has highly unrealistic ideas of the male sex drive. Which is typical of stuff aimed at audiences of women and gays. Twilight's Edward Cullen is hyper-unrealistic in his abstention in sex, a female fantasy of a "virtuous" hyper-Alpha male. The way this film/novel seems a hyper-fantasy of upper class manners.

Anonymous said...

"i.e., were the clones engineered to be dumb and docile?"

"I wondered that, too. But, in the book, the narrator mentions that the clones sit around discussing James Joyce, although Henry James would be a closer analog to their subtle but boring conversations about what Keira really intended when she said that thing about Andrew to Carey."

People can be bright and docile. Look at the PC cowards at the English Department at Harvard and Yale.
Indeed, how many academics are willing to stick their necks out to speak the unconventional truth? Even James Watson profusely apologized for what he said about Africans. William Shockley was a rare bird indeed.

David Brooks seems like a smart guy, but you know he will never say anything that might jeopardize his career as a 'leading journalist'.

rob said...

Sam said...
You missed thebook's premise completely. It is not sci-fi nor about morality...


Sam is right. I watched that youtube video, and the message is amazingly dumb. Shorter and better version: what's it like to know you have Huntingtons? I think they tackled that on House.

steve burton said...

Sam: so it seems that the story is intended as an allegory.

But the first requirement of a good allegory is that it has to "work" even for somebody who doesn't get the point.

Forster's *Howard's End*, for example, is a successful allegory because it tells an interesting & plausible tale even to those who never figure out what it's *really* all about.

By contrast, a failed allegory, like Vermeer's beautifully painted but hopelessly silly-looking *Allegory of Faith* makes little or no sense unless & until one works out all the symbolism.

Ishiguro's book seems to fall into the second category.

Anonymous said...

"In a way, it's as if all of Europe has become a vast cloning farm for Africans and Muslims who will surely take over the entire continent in the future. Whites will continue to create the wealth so that it will all be eventually appropriated by non-whites."

White productivity drops as whites lose majority status. State and national economies inevitably falter when whites see no point in working harder than their NAM neighbors on the dole. California is a classic example: first whites fled into easy public service jobs (like teaching and govt service) to get inflation adjusted salaries with full health benefits for static effort; now, as the public employment rolls falter, they are fleeing the state in accelerating numbers for white havens like Portland. East Asians adapt to their minority status by dominating the high paid professions or running their own businesses and cheating on their taxes.

Otherwise, I like this post: very insightful.

Anonymous said...

Though I haven't seen THE ISLAND and NEVER LET ME GO, the mentality behind THE ISLAND seems to the kind that led this country into war with IRAQ. We assumed that everyone around the world just loves freedom like we do. "Inside every gook there's an American trying to get out." Now, it may be true that people around the world could gradually be made to appreciate modern democratic freedoms and individual liberty, but it's simply not true that most people around the world are 'ersatz-Americans eager to be liberated from evil oppression'.
THE ISLAND assumes that people will proudly and courageously embrace/fight for their freedom if given a chance, and of course, Michael Bay is a hack director who makes movies for Hollywood Neocons.
Bush Inc thought if we just remove Hussein the bad guy, Iraqis would all love us, embrace freedom, and work together to create a democracy--like the freedom loving heroes in THE ISLAND. So, what happened? Shias rigged the political system to maximize their power, Kurds created their own virtual ethno-state, and Sunnis rejected the new order and fought Americans and Shias tooth-n-nail for several yrs. And whole bunch of Christian Arabs got robbed, raped, and murdered. Even today, the so-called 'democracy' in Iraq is only a kind of inter-tribal compromise fraught with dangers.
We stumbled into Iraq because we only chose to think politically but not psychologically. We thought Iraqis were essentially freedom-loving democrats waiting to be liberated from Hussein. We didn't try to understand that Arabs of Iraq have their own cultural psychology that may not jibe without our values and notions of what is right and wrong, what is just and unjust. It turned out that there were plenty of Iraqis willing to die for their 'irrational' causes. They cared more about 'meaning' than about 'freedom'.

NEVER LET ME GO may be a ridiculous movie, but in dealing with the psychology of power--that it's not just about oppression from top but willing subservience from below--, it grapples with some of the reasons as to why people are the way they are. People like Tom Hagen and Zhou En-lai, though highly intelligent, were willing to bury their own individuality out of an almost dog-like loyalty to someone else. In GODFATHER I, Hagen argued for 'business' over the 'personal' after Vito got shot, which made Michael trust him less. So, in GODFATHER II, it's like Tom goes out of his way to prove his complete loyalty, to be considered a 'brother' by Mike . It's as though he's atoning for his sins in part I. And Zhou En-lai built up his career by switching sides among various communist factions, which made Mao doubt his loyalty. And it was possibly for this reason that Zhou, though one of the most intelligent statesmen in the world, chose to become the biggest political lapdog in the world as well. It appears high intelligence is no immunity to emotional slavery. Tom owes his place in life to the Corleones and so he will go to hell for them. Mao spared Zhou among the countless rivals he vanquished, so Zhou was gratefully loyal for life.
In the 1930s, many Japanese liberals and leftist 'freely' abandon their 'rational' and 'enlightened' principles and embrace the ultra-nationalism of the militarist regime. They chose mental death as a kind of spiritual redemption.

Anonymous said...

NLMG sounds like a reverse of AWAKENING by Penny Marshall. In the latter film, the medical community tries to spring the patients back to life, but the patients ultimately have no choice but to go back to their former veggie state. What's freaky about NLMG is that the choice of returning to one's doomed destiny is voluntary, psychological than physiological.
And in the film THE VANISHING, the guy does something wholly irrational because he simply has to 'know'. Horrifying but there's a certain logic in the illogic. Illogical in terms of self-preservation but logical in terms of human guilt and seach for this thing called meaning.

Though Ishiguro's irony may be something of a stretch, the creepiest thing about NLMG is the notion that well-read and intellectual people--as clones seem to discuss serious literature and stuff--could be no freer or independently-minded than dumb or ignorant people. Indeed, if the clones in NLMG were simply dumb and docile, the story would be sad and depressing but not creepy and poignant.
What's really unnerving is the idea that one could be knowlegeable and still know nothing of the meaning of freedom.
Consider that Germans in the 30s and 40s were among the most educated and intellectual people on Earth. Yet they chose to serve the death cult of a lunatic demagogue. Consider that Jews have been among the most intelligent and educated people on Earth. Yet, so many committed their lives to serving under tyrants like Lenin, Trotsky, and Stalin. And shockingly enough, even people--intelligent Jews included--who were accused of false crimes and sentenced to death faced their execution pledging undying loyalty to Stalin. Bukharin is a strange case. He seemed to be both rebelling against and reveling in his own destruction at the hands of Stalin.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nikolai_Bukharin#Tightening_noose
"peculiar duality of mind" "semi-paralysis of the will"

Even today, we keep thinking education = knowledge = power = freedom. But look around and some of the most enslaved minds are people with Ph.D's and they've created a climate of intellectual paralysis in college departments. Sometimes, I think people go to college not to learn now to think freely and for themselves but to become indoctrinated--mentally enslaved--by whatever orthodoxy. In Nazi Germany, colleges churned out Hitler-loving mental robots, in Soviet Union, colleges churned out Stalin-worshiping mental robots, and American universities churn our Che-Guevara-and-Chomsky-loving mental robots.

Anonymous said...

"In a way, it's as if all of Europe has become a vast cloning farm for Africans and Muslims who will surely take over the entire continent in the future. Whites will continue to create the wealth so that it will all be eventually appropriated by non-whites."

White productivity drops as whites lose majority status. State and national economies inevitably falter when whites see no point in working harder than their NAM neighbors on the dole. California is a classic example: first whites fled into easy public service jobs (like teaching and govt service) to get inflation adjusted salaries with full health benefits for static effort; now, as the public employment rolls falter, they are fleeing the state in accelerating numbers for white havens like Portland. East Asians adapt to their minority status by dominating the high paid professions or running their own businesses and cheating on their taxes.

Otherwise, I like this post: very insightful.

Anonymous said...

There is a short story called THE LOTTERY where, at the end, we discover that a small town practices human sacrifice. Again, as in NLBG, it's creepy precisely because it upends our expectations of how things are or should be. We associate human sacrifice with primitive tribes, not with a white American community. And of course, it's untrue that any such community ever existed in the US. But though historically untrue, it has a certain deeper truth on a psychological level. There is something within us that irrationally seeks the scapegoat. We may not practice human sacrifice on the literal level, but we have subsumed our need for it in other ways.
(But like NLMG, it works better as literature than as a film. We read it in high school and were freaked out by how it turned out. And then a short film adaptation was screened for us, and the whole room was howling with laughter. The story on the written page works through suggestions, intimations, careful choice of details, which finally add up to the horror. But rendered into visual realism, it just looked stupid that a bunch of white people in a small town would be collecting rocks to stone some hapless woman.)
And what is the creepiest thing about THE SHINING(the movie as I haven't read the book)? It's when the wife discovers that Jack had been typing nothing other than 'All work and no play makes Jack a dull boy'. In fact, he's been typing that and only that from day one. On the surface, this seems absurd since Jack intially seemed normal and only gradually got weird. So, the logical thing would be for his earlier pages to be sane and then gradually turn crazier and crazier. Absurd as the scene may be, it too has a deeper truth in the sense that our senses cannot trusted. Speaking of SANE INSANITY, it's as though most social commentators and journalists have been typing nothing but "Spend more and the racial gap will disappear" since the 1960s. This seems absurd since many people in journalism and academia seem to be sane, intelligent, and rational people. Yet, why do they repeat the same dogma over and over and over and over.. just like Jack in The Shining?

PS. Some would say Amy Chua is raising her girls like clones. I wonder what she would say about this movie.

Anonymous said...

"Should clones' vital organs be harvested to cure cancer?"

I take it this is a play on DO ANDROIDS DREAM OF ELECTRIC SHEEP?

Anonymous said...

RE Britain Only for insular liberal elites who have lost touch with real reality are the biggest threats to the West posed by evil 'racists', Nazis, and uppercrust snobs.

Speaking as a Brit here - thats right on the money. For example for liberal leftists here the Royal Family is a big, big threat. Anti-democratic, elitist, secretive. Anyone would think they were on the verge of seizing direct power at any moment (if only!).

The EU otoh that may have a few bugs that need ironing out but basically thats a mighty force for good in the world. Yet every criticism aimed at the royals can be aimed at the EU, and factually substantiated a 100 times over. These people have their heads rammed so far up their own....never mind, you get the idea.

Anonymous said...

Good review. I had noticed earlier that film version of books are a good test of dialogue. Often it's not until you hear a conversation out loud that you realize how unrealistic or inhuman it was. But I guess you're right that this applies to more than just dialogue.

Anonymous said...

I think you nailed this one Steve. The whole MasterPiece theater vibe of the thing makes it's stakeholders think of themselves as sophisticated fans, despite the ignoramus premise of the thing.

It's Joe Bob Brigg's in negative relief.

rob said...

THE ISLAND assumes that people will proudly and courageously embrace/fight for their freedom if given a chance, and of course, Michael Bay is a hack director who makes movies for Hollywood Neocons.

No dumbass, the assumption is that most people won't meekly go to the slaughter.

Fred said...

Jody,

I'm impressed by the way you've put your feelings about Jews aside to praise Rodgers, who announced last year that he had Jewish ancestry and was planning to celebrate Hannukah.

none of the above said...

Jody:

In what universe are we going to enact gun control measures that limit the firepower of serving army officers? The ft hood wacko wasn't going to be affected by civilian gun control laws.....

Mr. Anon said...

"none of the above said...

Jody:

In what universe are we going to enact gun control measures that limit the firepower of serving army officers? The ft hood wacko wasn't going to be affected by civilian gun control laws....."

Yes he would have been. The gun that Hasan used in the shooting was his own personal gun, purchased by him at a gun-store. It was not an army-issued sidearm. I suspect that, as a medical officer posted state-side, he did not even have an officially issued sidearm. I am not in the military, so I don't know. Anyone in the service who would know, please enlighten us.

Anyway, the point that Jody was making still stands: liberals didn't seem bent out of shape about Nidal Hasan being able to buy a handgun or an extended magazine for it. And Nidal Hassan had demonstrated a record of creepy behavior at least every bit as extensive as had Jared Loughner. And he killed more people. So why no complaint from the gun-control crowd?

Anonymous said...

Why Alberto Fujimori returned to Latin America(where he was tried and jailed)when he could have remained a free man in Japan or elsewhere is a mystery. I guess it had something to do with psychological as well as political issues.

Whiskey said...

Yeah Hitler had his last stand. Saddam too. But for people who mostly end up fighting, generation after generation, the reality is different. Albion's Seed makes mention of folk-sayings in both the Border Country and Appalachia, to the effect that a live dog is better than a dead lion, he who survives to fight another day is the winner, etc.

Sustained racial, ethnic, religious, regional, or other conflict produces exactly the opposite effect that the novelist intends. Jews mostly went passively into the gas chambers because they had little experience in daily fighting (and dying) as a way of life. BY CONTRAST, the Greeks and Yugoslavs, no strangers to fighting, tied down tremendous numbers of German troops. Greeks and Yugoslavs were mostly rural, not urban, ill-educated, used to feuds and fighting, and used to hit-run tactics that prevented an entire tribe/family/clan from being wiped out. True the Germans were far more effective, brutal, and ruthless than previous enemies, but the Yugoslavs and Greeks still fought them.

Educated, upper-class people generally collapse, under sudden shock, but border types generally tend to fight, fight, and fight more. Look at British Chavs -- they are not exactly genteel and behind the facade of the elegant, bloodless Englishman is the ever-present reality of GIN LANE.

Steve Sailer said...

"what's it like to know you have Huntingtons?"

Then why not write a novel about what it's like to know you have Huntington's?

Ishiguro's book isn't structured like an allegory, it's structured very much like the classic dystopian novels Brave New World and 1984, which climax with the protagonists having long conversations with an insider (Mustapha Mond in Huxley's book, O'Brian in Orwell's book, Miss Emily, former head of the boarding school in Ishiguro's book) about how and why The System works.

If you want to play in that league, you need to bring a little more on your fastball. Huxley was no genius, but, considering who his brothers were (Julian the biologist and Arnold the future Nobel laureate chemist), he had to work a lot harder than Ishiguro did so he wouldn't be a laughingstock at family reunions.

Sam said...

steve burton:

I don't understand how an allegory can work without the reader getting the point !?!

Anyway, I saw the movie a few months ago and "got it" - more or less. I then read the book and saw the movie again to fill in some blanks.

I wasn,t asking to myself why guys weren't trying to bang the hot clone girls or how a liberal democracy could allow the practice or why the clones didn't rebel or
how they could live missing multiple organs.

Here is a longer clip of Ishiguro explaining the book.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_jCB59pPG7k

People have to understand what a book or movie is trying to convey.
For example, that disaster flick that came out last year - 2012: I didn't expect to learn anything about the Mayan calendar or geology or ethics. I went for the special effects.

And I hope Steve doesn't get paid for his movie reviews.

Anonymous said...

"Huxley was no genius"

YES HE WAS!!!!! IF HUXLEY WAS NO GENIUS, THEN WHO IS? In fact, the problem of some of his novels was he was TOO SMART for them--too busy expounding on philosophy than going about the more conventional business of creating characters and plot.

Anonymous said...

"THE ISLAND assumes that people will proudly and courageously embrace/fight for their freedom if given a chance, and of course, Michael Bay is a hack director who makes movies for Hollywood Neocons."

"No dumbass, the assumption is that most people won't meekly go to the slaughter."

So, tell me smartass, how many Jews courageously rebelled when they were dragged off to the death camps, and how many people in the Soviet Union stood up to Stalin's policies where millions were dragged off to the gulag?

Anonymous said...

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_jCB59pPG7k

This is kinda interesting, what Ishiguro says about accepting our fate and about why his characters don't escape. It kinda reminds me of the ending of WOMAN IN THE DUNES. The man finally has the chance to go free but decides to stay cuz he found a meaning and purpose in the sandpit which he didn't have in the free modern world.
And in ROOTS, the older Kunta Kinte finally has a good chance of running toward freedom but decides to say and remain a slave cuz his wife and child mean more to him than freedom. And George Bailey never leaves Bedford Falls either.

And what the kids did in the 60s was kinda strange and paradoxical. They dropped out partly to run away from modern society, but in a way, they were returning than running away to the real reality. They saw modern society as having fled from the natural cycles of nature. Modern society gave people more freedom, convenience, and fun consumer stuff, but it cut them off from the cycles of nature where life and death are one. While some counter-people 'escaped' to find even more fun, others did so to reject the excessive fun of modern society which cut people off from the truth of nature. Life and death are one. A whole bunch of counterculturites were reading stuff like TIBETAN BOOK OF THE DEAD which said the real meaning of life is 'preparing for death'.

So, seen in a metaphorical sense, the clones' choice to return is a kind of an acceptance of the reality of death. Whether this death is induced by man or nature, it is a reality, or The reality.
Today, so many people get plastic surgery to look young forever, as if aging and death could be put off forever. And our culture is youth-obsessed and has little place for aging and perspective.
We even have a photogenic man-child president.

Many people also choose not to settle down because it takes away their freedom, their sense of being young forever. And women refuse to have children cuz it ruins their looks and robs them of their freedom. A married woman with kids may feel that she is socially and even biologically dead. She cannot have fun like she used to. And her body is not what it once was. Indeed, having children is like organ donation. The child in the womb sucks a lot out from the woman, both during pregancy and childbirth and in the emotional/financial stresses of childbearing. And feminists regard being a housewife as a kind of mental, social, and ideological death. Abortion is favored by many women cuz they can 'save' themselves by killing the fetus.
To such woman, 'Pro-Life' is pro-death since it robs the woman of the 'life of choice'. Abortion saves them in the sense that their freedom, liberty, and 'equality' are saved from the duress of childbirth and child-rearing. They don't have to submit to biology. Leftists dread biology so much that they equate homosexuality with heterosexuality, and pretend that gays too can 'have children'.

But people don't live forever. Women who put off motherhood forever may age less slowly, but they too will age, wither, and die. But they'll leave nothing behind. They'll die alone. But if they had kids, there is a sense of continuation, of beloning to a link. In her deathbed, she will be visited by kids and grandkids.

In NLMG, maybe the clones find meaning in death cuz their organs will save other lives--or give life to other people, like women give away a part of their own life to create new life. Thus, their death is meaningful. It has a link with rest of society. Indeed, many people, especially in the West, sign on to donate their organs when they die cuz it may save the lives of other people.

rob said...

So, tell me smartass, how many Jews courageously rebelled when they were dragged off to the death camps, and how many people in the Soviet Union stood up to Stalin's policies where millions were dragged off to the gulag?

Jews are an exception. The selection for financiering under the protection of nobility bred clever cattle. Note that the ones most willing to go went. In USSR, there was this thing called the holodomor. As for people dragged to the gulag, it was not necessarily a death sentence. I'll bet a dollar that when the NKVD or whoever went to arrest someone, they brought a gun or two. Why do that? Cuz people will fight.

Anonymous said...

Most Hollywood movies should be called NEVER LET ME GROW. They cater to teenagers and the teenager-in-all-of-us.