Saturday, January 04, 2003

Since Everyone Is Doing It…

After three days of waiting caused by various technical problems, my new blog is here. I was thinking what would be my first “serious” entry. Various subjects – gun control, abortion, war on Iraq – were considered, but at the end I decided to stick to the potentially most important subject in today’s world – human cloning.

This morning I was surfing the Net and found, on-line edition of Croatian weekly Feral Tribune. In its daily comment Toni Gabrić was one of the few Croatian voices that refused to condemn the cloning as “the worst thing that is supposed to happen in 2003”, as one of his colleagues had said it.

Gabrić notes that the cloning technology is so advanced and potential benefits so vast that any attempt of the ban would be doomed to failure. The only way for cloning to be stopped is for technology to be too expensive and too impractical for any immediate use, using NASA’s space programme as an example.

However, in the same article, Gabrić soon reveals his true motives for the defence of human cloning, and those motives are rather simple – human cloning is attacked by people Gabrić considers his ideological opposites, namely those associated with Catholic Church. Cloning is attacked, because it might end “motherhood, fatherhood and any sense of family”. In his defence, Gabrić not only accuses Catholic Church of being opposed to any technical invention in last 500-600 years but actually attacks family as “ancient, obsolete and feudal institution” and claims that it doesn’t have place in modern, enlightened world.

Those views aren’t going to be shocking for those familiar with editorial policy of Feral Tribune in the past few years. Satirical magazine that used to be beacon on free journalism in the darkest days of Tudjman’s regime seemed to lost its sense of purpose after Tudjman’s death and arrival of new “pro-Western and democratic” government in Croatia. Some of the most distinguished and respected journalists left for greener pastures and that reflected not only in the decreased quality of article, but also in their ideological uniformity. Nominal left-centre alignment of new government didn’t help either; criticising the government – what Feral Tribune did best – became monopoly of Croatian right-wingers and Feral reacted by beginning attacks on government from the position that became extreme left. In the good old days, readers of Feral could have expected articles and opinions written by people with moderate and even some mildly right-wing views. All that changed. Nowadays, almost all articles of Feral preach the same Loony Left gospel all over again.

All this became quite evident after the events of September 11th 2001. Only a week after the attacks, Feral issued cover page featuring US astronaut in military fatigue looking at the ruins of Banja Luka mosque, demolished by Bosnian Serbs during 1992-95 war. This image suggested that US war on terrorism is nothing more than campaign of genocide against innocent Muslims, not different from the one attempted by Karadzic and his hordes. That established pattern that was applied to Israel-Palestine conflict and once proud fighters for multi-ethnic and tolerant society fell so low to count drops of Jewish blood in the veins of their former associate Slavko Goldstein, man who refused to fall in their extremist line. The same ideological pattern was applied to domestic, and later, cultural issues. Any ideology associated with Left was praised in their most extreme form – extreme environmentalism, extreme animal rights movement, extreme feminism, extreme gay rights movement etc.

That even includes movie reviews. I doubt most of the readers of this blog remember Gus Van Saint’s film Finding Forrester as some particularly memorable piece of filmmaking, but Dragan Jurak, Feral’s critic, gave it five stars. Explanation? “Since Gus Van Saint is gay, his portrayal of relationship between young black teenager and old writer is obviously subversive attack on Hollywood’s heterosexual values” (quoting from memory). So, quality of filmmaking comes second to the sexual orientation of filmmaker, which is good example of reverse bigotry of today’s PC-leftists. Few months later, John Woo’s Windtalkers was praised simply because Nicolas Cage’s character in one scene said “Nobody will die today”, which was supposed to be “damning critique of Bush’s warmongering”. In another example – The Wedding Planner – they got it right, but for wrong reasons. The movie was panned because it celebrated marriage, “failed and oppressive institution, instead of showing alternatives used by heroines of Sex in the City”. When Candace Bushnell, author of Sex in the City, tied the knot, Feral didn’t report it. I wonder why…

In any case, although I’m still sceptical over this Raelian business, I think I’ll could be put in “Pro” camp in the cloning debate. Some of Gabrić’s arguments are valid – potential benefits of cloning seem greater than the risks and the calls for ban are nothing more than pure demagoguery. However, if cloning is defended from such positions as presented in Feral, “pro-cloning” camp would have to invest Herculean efforts in order to improve its standing.


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