The reaction to a new Netflix series shows that we may not be ready just yet...
Sweet Tooth is a new big budget series from Netflix. Better described as fantasy than science fiction, it is set in a future where “nature made everyone sick” because “bad people ruled the Earth”. But then a “miracle happened” and human-animal hybrids were born.
What follows is a struggle for acceptance as bigoted humans try to wipe out the hybrids. These faux headlines (actually an advert in a real newspaper) make the political subtext clear: “General calls hybrids a threat to national security; Activists fight back”.
It’s as subtle as a brick and equally original.
What did surprise me, however, was the following tweet from Netflix featuring images of the hybrid babies, each sporting a different set of animal features — dog, bird, deer and pig:
Can we talk about how cute the hybrid babies on Sweet Tooth are for a second?? pic.twitter.com/pj4lwqF4Ez
— Netflix (@netflix) June 4, 2021
Though we were invited to find the hybrid babies “cute”, the replies to the tweet were overwhelmingly negative: “sick”, “vile”, “Alex Jones was right” etc etc. We hear a lot about ‘transhumanism’ these days, but clearly cishumanist sentiment is alive and kicking.
I have to agree with cishumanists. The images are disturbing — and all the more so for presenting the ultimate transgression as “cute”. Of course, we’re talking about a work of fiction here and not one that concerns itself much with scientific credibility.
Even if it were possible to engineer a full human-animal hybrid (as opposed to the insertion of a limited number of animal derived genes) and sustain it beyond the earliest stages of embryonic development, it would look nothing like the kids of Sweet Tooth. No, the results would be… messier.
Of course, if we ever get to that stage it won’t be through some sudden “miracle”, but step by step — each one justified under the banner of scientific progress and signed off by the appropriate ethics committees.
Should these experiments then succeed in producing viable offspring, and if they are found to be useful in some way to their creators, then you can be sure that the effort to secure public acceptance would draw upon the language of diversity and tolerance.
So while we’re a long way from destroying the distinction between man and beast, the process has begun.