Archive for July, 2009

Book Cover

Posted in Non-Fictions on July 26, 2009 by Tom Fletcher

This is what the front cover of The Leaping will look like, when it’s published next July. I’m very pleased with it.

leaping__b_format_front

Sperm

Posted in Non-Fictions on July 8, 2009 by Tom Fletcher

If I see one more hysterical article about men – as in, the males of the species – becoming redundant, then – well, I don’t know what I’ll do. Just become even more disheartened by the general idiocy of the British press, probably.

The story is that scientists have developed ‘artificial sperm’ in a labaratory. The tabloids love this, and they’re loving the opportunity to mouth off about the liberal (feminist, and presumably female) elite culling men completely now that we (men) no longer have a function to fulfill. Because that’s what the liberal elite do, isn’t it? Cook up genocidal plots to further their own wants and desires. But, this ridiculous implication aside, there are two major refutations that spring to mind.

Firstly – nobody’s invented artificial sperm. The experiment looks like sperm, it shares some of the biological make-up, but it is not sperm. To say that it is is pretty much hyperbole.

Secondly – are these journalists seriously suggesting that if somebody is no longer required for reproduction, they’re redundant? I mean – what about gay people? What about infertile people? Have they always been redundant too? I don’t quite get the logic here. Or maybe there just isn’t any. Because surely men are redundant anyway, if you take the startlingly heartless stance that the only point in being alive is to have children. And so are women. So is everybody. Because we don’t need to exist as a species at all. I know there is a biological urge to reproduce, and I know that all species have an inherent continuation instinct, but there is no great plan (as far as the journalists are aware) that actually requires the continued existence of humanity. There seems to be a real failure here, of both intelligence and heart. We’re alive, and we’ve got an amazing capacity for imagination, for pleasure, for reason, for empathy, and to reduce all of that capacity to a purely functional existence is just yet more artless, soulless, new-right-wing fuckwittery, intent on encouraging the poisonous idea that if something doesn’t have an immediately obvious purpose it probably shouldn’t exist. Saying artificial sperm makes men redundant is like saying art is useless because you can’t eat it, or beggars and asylum seekers should all be shot. Which, obviously, are sentiments not too deeply buried in my least-favourite newspapers.

I’m not saying, by the way, that having children should not be celebrated. It’s more the nasty political angles and subtexts that haunt the tabloid pages that bother me, and this is just the latest example to really wind me up.

EDIT:

Trust Tanya Gold to write the kind of drivel on this subject that backs up every Mail reader’s opinion of The Guardian. And yeah, I know it’s supposed to be funny, but really… It’s just crap. I wouldn’t wish redundancy upon anyone, but I’d rather a nice blank space occupy the page than her column.

 

SECOND EDIT:

This post was originally written in response to seeing articles in the Metro and in the Daily Mail, and other tabloids, and then the edit was added after seeing an article in The Guardian.