Friday, June 17, 2005


Friday semen blogging

I'd say the biggest development in the world of semen this week is the release of David Plotz's The Genius Factory: The Curious Hitory of the Nobel Prize Sperm Bank. In this book, Plotz uses his investigation of The Repository for Germinal Choice, an organization that made a big splash in 1980 by promising to ensure your babydaddy was smarter than the average babydaddy. The book does, actually, look promising from its opening paragaph:

The Los Angeles Times headline beckoned like a bulletin from the future: “Sperm Bank Donors All Nobel Winners: Plan Seeks to Enrich Human Gene Pool.” It was February 29, 1980, Leap Day—that strange quasi-day seemed right for such an otherworldly story. The article began by describing the sperm bank as “the world’s most exclusive men’s club,” then piled on the weirdness: a reclusive zillionaire . . . a secret cadre of Nobel geniuses . . . the women of Mensa . . . a mysterious, ultramodern fertility technology . . . a sinister experiment to improve the human race. It sounded like something out of a James Bond movie.

It's got lots of eugenics stuff.

What's most interesting about the book is how it got started. As far as I can tell, David Plotz started this project way back in 2001, when he announced in Slate (where Plotz is a Deputy Editor) that he would make his research an exercize in "transparent" "cyberjournalism". His months & then years of research into how these families turned out led him to start calling himself "the Semen Detective." Interesting, and good, and apparently productive for him (he got a book out of it) but ultimately, not obviously a changing of the guard so far as journalism goes. In fact, I'd say there's something more disturbing at work.

As much as I love semen blogging, I also understand that there are more important things in the world. I'm not sure that Slate does. They're more than happy to do their little "So you want to start a film festival..." or "How do feeding tubes work?" stories even as real, actual outrages are happening in their names as Americans. The only one around there who can seem to muster any excitement about the state of our discourse, media, political structures, and foreign affairs seems to be god-damn Christopher Hitchens!

Okay, I'm clearly missing the point of Friday semen blogging. Then again, as one of my friends asked me today, "What is the point of Friday semen blogging. I'm so mad at George Bush and Powerline that I've forgotten.

Wow, you're all fired up.

Trying to fire up the rest of the nation at this point may be a bit immature.

September 2006 is when the rest of the nation starts thinking about politics. You'll have to get them fired up then.

I would really like to believe that this time around we could send the Republicans a clear message that this administration is nuts, but I don't think most of the rest of the nation sees it that way.
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