Thursday, 7 June 2007
The Genetics of Kipple, Creativity and Louis MacNeice
I spent two days of last week removing the Boo (Beloved Only Child) and some of her accumulated stuff from her rather nice rented Norwich terrace. As is the way with offspring a certain amount of accumulated stuff has returned home whilst they do not. She is now enjoying the delights of more northerly climes whilst my loft has provided sanctuary for assorted clothes, ornaments, computer debris and various poles which I am reliable informed will re-assemble into something useful and absolutely necessary.
I watched the news the other day about the possibility of everyone someday receiving a genetic passport at birth containing information about possible diseases or conditions that the human entering the world might be heir to. I just know there is a gene for the gathering of stuff or kipple as the Boo refers to it, generalising from the term used in books by the amazing science fiction writer Philip K Dick in ‘Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep’ on which the film Bladerunner was loosely based
‘The First Law of Kipple is that Kipple drives out the nonkipple.’
Somewhere lurking in my DNA is a code for the creation of kipple. As I have mentioned in an earlier post this gene is evident by the state of my house and garden shed. This is not modelled behaviour I hasten to point out as the Boo was able to collect almost from birth. However genetics may have also played their part in creativity as even the Boo can not deny that the completion of an MA in creative writing has some connection with poetry and fiction, however tenuous.
Years hence will the baby be handed over with its passport stamped, ’Watch out for depression, possible bi-polar disorder, alcoholism, kipple and creativity.’ Will anxious parents see their child’s genetic future coming to pass when the child totters out of playschool clutching a finger-painting and utters the prophetic words, “I made this for you Mum, it’s a sunflower, don’t ever throw it away will you. I think I might make you some more to keep as well, it will cheer us up.”
Of course this may all be detected in the womb and only children with safe, predictably happy lives will be allowed to enter the restricted space called world. Perhaps people will be able to take out insurance against producing such children and will then be able to purchase the finest therapy at an early stage to eliminate any adverse personal and social effects that their errant genes may lead them towards. However we all know what happened when they tried to keep Sleeping Beauty away from needles or anything sharp and pointy for that matter.
Of course I am being far too paranoid as we will surely recognise that the ghost in the shell is composed of more than the sum of the genes. Planetary tidiness may suggest the elimination of all aberrant genetic material, especially if resources become scarce and the survival of the fittest mentality begins to kick in. People are like kipple, its use and existence may seem non-apparent but you never know when something will come in useful, possession or evolutionary wise.
See I am a clever liberal Guardian reader and can now leap from the condemnation of eugenics to justify the shed, the loft, the three boxes of garish plastic flowers from my dead mothers house. ..and in one bound the blogger was free of guilt about family crap. I have used much of my Wallace Stevens daily hour of just sitting and thinking on the issue of genetics, it has taken me thus far...more thinking may take me further. Of course Louis MacNeice said it all more beautifully in his poem Prayer Before Birthwritten during the Second World War and he wasn’t making an anti-abortion plea here in case anyone mistakes his intent.
By the way I took my newspaper house poem to my monthly poetry workshop and the other poets helped prod it with their own particular sticks and thus it is being chivvyed towards being a far better poem...don't you just love it when that happens.