Dispatches, June 1997
Ms. Bledsoe, human cloning evoked myriad ethical dilemmas never before faced in human history. Now we have de-cloning. How will this affect American society?
I'll be [deleted] if I know. You must be looking for Darlene-Marlene. I'm Marlene-Darlene, her clone. Yoo-hoo, Darlene-Marlene, visitors! Care for a Certs? Two mints in one. Here's Darlene-Marlene now. Oh [deleted], I'm missing Dead Ringers on TV.
Ms. Bledsoe, human cloning evoked...
Nothing de-cloning can't rectify! For instance, the first mandatory de-cloning order I'm signing is for the McInerney Quadruplets — the Siamese twins who cloned themselves and then made a killing doing Doublemint ads. The Clone Control Act of 2020 forbids commercial gain from human cloning.
But won't de-cloning bring up equally ticklish moral and legal tangles?
Could be. But I also see it helping repair the damage that occurred before Congress passed the emergency "One's Enough" list. Good-bye to second Howard Sterns, Newt Gingriches, Jerry Lewises.
Looking back, society made many mistakes in dealing with human cloning. Which in your opinion had the most far-reaching consequences?
Unquestionably, allowing President Clinton to clone himself. He then runs for two more terms as another person by only the most tenuous and debatable legal definition — and as a Republican, no less.
That seems so long ago. Didn't his wife sue?
She couldn't get permission to be cloned along with Bill. So of course his clone was legally single. It was Bill she sued. Said he'd rigged the whole thing.
Naturally, our readers would like to know how de-cloning will affect their interests.
Interestingly! For example, we're restocking the plains with herds of cloned buffalo. If poaching becomes a problem, presto, we round up the herd and de-clone it. Once the problem blows over, presto again — we clone 'em right back. Or suppose you're backpacking through Nepal with a blowhard who happens to be a clone. Getting on everybody's nerves. Slip a de-cloning lozenge into his trail mix and poof! Happy Valley! Or say you're racing a clone to the summit of K2 on a million-dollar bet and you both pause for a breather. You offer him a slug from your canteen and ... you get the idea.
Like every minority, clones have encountered hostility. How would you size up the pros and cons of being a clone?
Well, that talk about clones being only followers — xeroxed people — is rank bigotry. One clone who was a New York cop even arrested his original for jaywalking when they were out for a stroll. Doesn't sound like some spineless pushover to me! Of course you still see those vicious bumper stickers, like "Honk If Your Dad's An Eyedropper." But it's not all bad news. Cloning is transforming American society for the better.
You mean, because only the rich can afford to clone themselves, the upper class has doubled in size?
Exactly! Millions of new jobs, in everything from alligator-breeding for the handbag industry to door-to-door helipad sales. Plus, the Tyson-Tyson fight pumped millions into the Twin Cities.
But there have been bungles, botches, tragedies ...
Sensationalist media exploitation, 99 times out of a hundred! Yes, the Ross Perot clone went famously, horribly awry, a giant turkey with huge ears that keeps running for mayor of Lubbock. Brrr! But those Elvis rumors — give rationality a break. Elvis was so fat they couldn't have found his DNA. Absolutely unclonable.
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