Two films and my personal concerns about the way society
is encroaching upon human dignity, respect
and freedoms inspired this blog entry.
The two films are the 1949 comedy "Passport to Pimlico" and
the 2005 action movie "The Island".
Passport to Pimlico is about the inhabitants
of a small post WWII cockney section of London SW1, who declare independence
from the rest of the UK and set up passport controls for movement through
the makeshift border barriers, hastily set up around the streets of Pimlico.
The Island concerns the growth of human tissue for replacement of diseased
body parts for those men and women wealthy enough to pay for extending
their life spans by buying insurance in the form of
custom made cloned body parts of themselves.
The Island's scientists discover that the cloned body parts
will only function if they are farmed from whole human clones
so they create the humans in the labs but keep that secret
as the clients and world at large
would be aghast if they knew that whole beings that appeared human
have to be killed to provide the repacement body parts for their
original insureds. Two escape however and they meet one of the
original humans for whose benefit they had been created.
The escapee clones could only be identified by their bar codes,
and murder and mayhem ensue.
The attitudes of those running the
giant labs where the clones of "The Island" were grown
and their experiments with human tissues and clone-types to
make the best spare parts for the wealthy human clients,
completely devalued the essence of what it is to be human.
When the two clones began their escape, the scientists' concern
was that the "product" ie the two clones, was becoming contaminated. The
analogy with modern day scientific experiments on human embryos
and the abortion of foetuses as unwanted waste products or
contaminents, was clear - to me anyway.
Then the use of bar codes for identification purposes is scarily becoming
a reality too. The Passport to Pimlico's theme was in 1949
an absurdly funny notion. Since then the kind of security
checks now in place everywhere from museums to the High Court
have detracted substantially from the quality of life. Possibly
given the fanaticism of suicide bombers, such security checking
is essential though that does seem to hand the fanatic, a victory
of the dog in the manger variety - "If I for religious or political or
other reasons cannot enjoy your freedoms, then neither will you."
However the UK government is now proposing a scheme, the effects
which will bring together some of the worst elements from both of
the above mentioned films, namely scanable compulsory ID cards.
UK citizens have long eschewed compulsory ID cards as
undermining individual human freedom and dignity.
The use of these ID cards will not be restricted to Pimlico
but will be required to be produced anywhere in the country,
to anyone in power who may be
concerned about the product being contaminated.
Great Britain - The Island perhaps?