Sat, 16 Apr 2005
Here’s what I think should be the top priorities for genetic engineers:
1. HAND MANGOES. The mango is a wonderful fruit, but jesus, what a pain in the ass peeling it. Even after you get the rind off, it’s too juicy and slippery to eat with your hands. If you could eat a mango like you eat an apple, I’m convinced it would soon rocket past pears, peaches, and oranges to the top of the fruit hierarchy. Get those genetic engineers to work making a slightly smaller mango with a tasty, edible skin.
2. TALKING DOGS. Cos we all want to know what they’re so damn excited about.
3. HEADLESS LIVESTOCK. I have to admit, ten years after I took up the practice, that non-meat-eating really stinks. The vegetarians try hard, but they have yet to come up with a non-disappointing substitute for the hamburger, the hot dog, the corned beef on rye, or the BLT. Now, many vegetarians avoid meat because of health considerations, but for the rest of us whose motivations are purely ethical, the root of the problem is that there is no way to consume animals and animal byproducts without causing those creatures to suffer. But what if we could engineer animals that had no brains and no central nervous systems, and therefore no capacity to suffer? We could stack them up in airless, confining pens, fatten them with feeding tubes, and slaughter them messily with blunt instruments, and there would be no ethical consequences: they would feel no more pain than a potato plant. Then all the vegetarians could go back to eating hamburgers and Jello and quit getting on everyone’s nerves. Why aren’t the genetic engineers working on this? Busy curing cancer, I guess. Well, hurry it up, I want a ham sandwich.