Wednesday, April 4, 2012

Elitist Jerks (from 4/3/12)

No worries, I did my writing yesterday. I’m just not satisfied enough with the work to post it. I started a short? story that focuses on the question of eugenics and will explore its morality and immorality. I admit that the story began with no real direction, only a desire to write about the subject. It has begun to grow however.

I’ll share the story when it’s a little further along. I admit I didn’t quite make it to 1,000 words. The working title is simply “Eugenics, Inc.”

The story will focus on two characters. One is Erik Denton, a man in his late twenties/early thirties who is CEO and founder of Eugenics, Inc. He is charming, relatively good looking, rich and fervent in his belief that eugenics is no more immoral than a gun. The second character is a woman who leads a group of protesters and hates Denton and all he stands for. She, obviously, believes that eugenics is wrong. This woman is has yet to be named. She decided to be part of the story only last night, after I had stopped writing.

Through their interactions I plan to explore arguments for and against eugenics. The intention is to reconcile these two characters on some kind of middle ground, but I will see how the story develops. I tend to write organically, letting the stories I write unfold as time goes on, instead of outlining and plotting it all out and forcing my work to walk into whatever pair of shoes I try to fit its feet into. I believe in the kind of planning in which you plant the lawn, then pave the trails people have made a year or two later instead of paving a nice path and expecting people to conform. That’s a sure way to have dirt paths in your grass. I’ll re-evaluate my planning choices someday when I actually finish something. In the meantime, LIVE CREATURE, LIVE.

I also have some research to do if I’m going to do the topic justice. Until I plugged the word eugenics into the dictionary on my Mac at work a minute ago, I had never heard of Francis Galton. I certainly owe it to myself, my work and any potential readers I foist the story off on to do so. Besides, writing is so much more fun if you can subtly point out all the neat stuff you know. Like naming one of the buildings on the Eugenics, Inc. campus the Mendel Administration Center. Clearly I was paying attention in my high school biology class. (If you don’t know, Gregor Mendel was a 19th century monk who is considered the father of genetics.)

That being said, it reminds me of an interesting topic. It surprises me, (and my own knowledge isn’t necessarily any less lacking), how little people around me recognize pieces. You would think that in an age when we’re literally constantly bombarded with information that somewhere along the line Michelangelo’s David would be more than just a naked man. Oh, yes. Context.

I went to a co-worker’s housewarming party on Saturday night and he had an apron with the statue of David printed on it. I’m not 100% positive on this, but it’s possible that I was the only one of the ten or so people who attended who recognized it. Everyone else was mildly scandalized by the giant picture of a muscular naked man. Maybe I’m just an elitist schmuck (says the man writing a short story exploring the topic of eugenics), but I feel like David is one of those pieces that is so famous that everyone should be able to know it on sight. It seems to me that not knowing the piece is like being unable to recognize the Mona Lisa. The thought kind of bothers me, particularly since I consider my own education in famous art to be severely lacking.

There’s a lot to be said for a classical education, which isn’t necessarily one I received. Certainly the people I admire most tend to know authors, poets, art, music, theatre, wine and can talk about them. Perhaps it’s a product of my own liberal arts education, but I think it started young. Those things were always important to my parents and I spent plenty of my childhood exploring museums; listening to the soundtracks of musicals and going to them; and staring at shelves full of Shakespeare, Eliot, Poe, Kipling, and many others.

Education is actually going to feature into the Eugenics, Inc. story as well. The company not only matches people genetically, but I’m imagining something on par with a gated community or at least a school system. The Eugenics, Inc. schooling will include positive psychology training, physical education training, arts appreciation, math and sciences. One goal of this fictional company is to create better leaders for the world, from conception to high school graduation.

And close enough, dammit, goodnight.


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