Blue Genes / Gattaca

Dec 12, 17:41 by IROSF
A thread to discuss Gattaca, or Daniel M. Kimmel's discussion of the film.

The article can be found here.
Dec 12, 20:06 by Jim Van Pelt
Hi, Daniel. Gattaca is one of the two modern films I teach in my high school Science Fiction class (the other is The Truman Show). It's a great piece of work. A perfect blend of character and ideas.
Dec 12, 21:50 by Daniel M. Kimmel
I've used it in my college class, and I recall one woman coming up to me after class and saying, "I never thought I'd cry at a science fiction movie."
Dec 13, 01:22 by Abby Goldsmith
Gattaca is one of my favorite movies, from the first time I saw it in theaters.
Dec 13, 13:17 by Ted Chiang
I liked Gattaca, but I remember wondering as I watched it, "Why do they keep retesting everyone's DNA?" Employers conduct random drug tests because you can be clean when you're hired but start taking drugs at any time, but your DNA doesn't change; genetic testing would only need to be done at hiring time, and if imposters are a problem, drawing blood with a syringe would be a simple test that couldn't be fooled.
Dec 13, 13:22 by Bluejack
I haven't seen it in a while, but my vague recollection was that dna had become something of a barcode, a biometric identification system that should be hard to fake. (Apparently, not that hard.) The story logic persuaded me at the time, although in retrospect one could imagine more secure (not to mention simple) security systems.
Dec 13, 20:13 by Ron Dwyer
It doesn't hurt for a movie to have Uma Thurman.
Dec 14, 01:22 by Ted Chiang
Blunt, that wouldn't explain the urine sample at the end; there's no need to run an identity check on your astronauts just as they're about to board the rocket.
Dec 14, 03:48 by Daniel M. Kimmel
But who says that identity is the only thing they're checking for?

Aren't we already in a culture where they're checking for all sorts of things? There's a guy who was just fired from a company because they found out he was smoking cigarettes -- on his own time.
Dec 14, 13:30 by Ted Chiang
If identity isn't the only thing they're checking for, then the message of the film is diluted. If they're looking for drug usage, then they're checking for deliberate behavior that the individual has the power to change. I don't want to get into a discussion about the ethics of drug testing, but in terms of judging people by "what they are born with" vs "what they do with it," drug usage falls into the latter category.
Dec 14, 17:05 by Alison Cuyler
But I thought Gattaca was a secure environment, and your DNA is not so much tested as giving you authorization to be there. You know, security clearance, like fingerprints and retina scans. It serves multiple purposes.
Dec 17, 22:36 by Richard Lovett
I noticed the testing thing at the time, but was willing to buy it for the sake of argument. It's been a while since I saw the film, so I can't remember if there were ways to logically defend it. But this weekend the TSA took a hotel-freebie bottle of hand lotion from me boarding an airplane because even though it was my only toiletry, it was in my pocket, not a Ziploc bag -- so maybe the film was prescient and realized that security precautions don't have to make sense to be ubiquitous?
Jun 14, 09:17 by
Thanks that you let us know that


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