Weeding Womb


Macs by Terry Bisson. This one strikes a little too close to home for my tastes. It's a series of discussions (supposedly about cloning for use in capital punishment - now all the families of victims can pull the trigger) with a surprise ending. However, the subject matter is either a direct ripoff or a not-so-subtle comment on the Oklahoma City bombing (guess who the 'Macs' of the title are now...).

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Now a little rant: (I know this is completely hypocritical of me, but so what?) Why does this story worry me when I've played Wolfenstein 3D, which features a similar 'kill-the-Real-Life-bad-guy-yourself' theme.

Yes, I played Wolfenstein 3D. Yes, I killed Hitler in episode 3.

But for me, WWII is history. Yes, it is a horrible thing to say, yes it's a dreadful minimization of the suffering and deaths of millions of people, yes it's awful for me to be saying this even as the last of the people involved are slowly dying. Yes, it's a shame.

But that doesn't change things. WWII and the Holocaust have a place in my mind from which they will never be dislodged, but for me it's a world full of past-tense, even though its after-effects still hang over us like a black stormcloud. It happened. I don't remember a time when it hadn't happened, or was happening.

The Oklahoma City bombing (and Columbine, and other such tragedies) have a colder grip on me. Sure, fewer people suffered, felt pain, died. But I saw them suffer, feel pain, and die. (Thanks to CNN's we-don't-need-news-when-we-have-a-pile-of-corpses policy.) I can say 'I was eating breakfast as these people died.' I can say 'I was laughing as these people bled.' I can say 'Even though I never met them, I remember a time when they were young, vital, alive.' I can think about that fact that I'm alive and whole and they're not, and that it wasn't always that way. I have memories of past-tense, present-tense, and future-tense. And that makes a world of difference.

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So, no, I didn't like this story much.

The Archon

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