June 30, 2007

The Spermies Have It

Here we have yet another stupid, smart-ass commentary on men's potential extinction. Although, referencing the original article, it seems all the pseudo-panic is premature, to say the least--to quote a doctor discussing these synthetic sperm cells:

"Before we get too excited about this being a new form of infertility treatment, these cells cannot as yet be made into functioning sperm, so we have no idea if they can pass ‘the acid test,’ the ability to fertilize female eggs as is achieved with donor sperm in IVF treatment."

The fact that this research is at its beginning stages doesn't stop people from making wild speculations, however. Usually these speculations are mixed with a great deal of condescension, patronization and outright sexism. To quote the writer of the first article, Brian Alexander:

"I just want to know why you women are in such a rush to get rid of us. Sci-fi and fantasy literature are full of all-female societies like Wonder Woman’s home island. New York Times columnist Maureen Dowd penned a friendly little book in 2005 called “Are Men Necessary?” Are you trying to give us a complex or something?"

Well, let's see, does the concept of patriarchy ring a bell? Perhaps if all males had been living for centuries under a system that treated them like:

a) property;
b) pawns on a chess board;
c) children; and
d) slaves;

--just possibly males in that position might think it a good thing to get rid of their overlords too.

He goes on to say:

"Well, strictly in terms of keeping the human species alive, you women need some of us. You just don’t need all that many of us (though we would prefer to keep that under our hats, if we wore hats). We make a glut of sperm, millions of them, so one man can spread a lot of seed.

Sperm banking has long been an important part of in vitro fertilization, just as bull semen is integral to dairy production. Frankly, you only need a small tribe of us guys equipped with porn magazines and plastic cups. You could feed us, groom us and give us a little exercise — pretty much like you do now."

Nah, we don't even have to go that far. Just have a few hundred males in each generation jack off--for genetic variety, you see--freeze the semen, and ship said males off-planet to explore space. They should have a great time out there, since they won't ever need to ask for directions.

Then create a few hundred males from the frozen semen for the next generation--it is possible to select for sex, even now--and start the process all over again. That way the more sensible gender would actually be running the planet.

Mr. Alexander ends his article with what he thinks is a joke:

"So ladies, laugh it up while you can because once those artificial eggs and the artificial womb hit the market, you’ll be buying your own dinners at Chez Francoise."

And this would be bad...why?

Thankfully, most readers of the story are no more enamored of it than I am: it's rated 2.5 out of 5 by over 1200 people.

Look, if you're going to discuss this subject, take it seriously. If any of this research pans out, it will revolutionize society, much like the birth-control pill did. An article made up of smarmy asides just makes the writer look like a jackass.

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