If you had not spotted this, apparently a Canadian dentist, Dr. Michael Zuk, has announced plans to sequence John Lennon’s DNA, based on a rotten molar he bought off auction for $31,000, with the ultimate goal of (his words here), “bringing back one of rock’s greatest stars.”
Now, I don’t want to be a Simon Science-Bad or Nelly No-Clones or anything here, but I’m going to go ahead and say this is only going to end in tears, for a few reasons.
Problem 1: Cloning’s not a thing we can do.
This seems obvious, so that’s why it’s first. That dude wants to spend $31,000 on pipe dreams, howzabout he pays off the rest of my student loans and we can start dreaming together while dancing around in our solid-gold shoes?
But then again, Dr. Zuk is a Canadian dentist. Who just laid down $31,000 on a diseased fossilized tooth, so maybe we shouldn’t take this off the table right away. What with their universal healthcare, are they further along in the cloning-race than the good old U.S. of Original Human Beings A? Oh my god, is universal healthcare in Canada based on Parts: The Clonus Horror?!
Get on that, fresh new controversy, Salon.com, while I get to the other problems.
Problem 2: The tooth.
This particular tooth, upon which mad science is about to be zapped, is a rotten molar Lennon lost in the early 60’s and gave to his housekeeper (y’know, like you do), who gave it to her son and yada yada yada now a Canadian cloning enthusiast has it.
It is 1) diseased, 2) old-as-balls, and 3) I am just speculating here but probably not kept in the best condition. I mean, maybe the son kept it in a pristine case, maybe it was at the bottom of a junk drawer, but for certain it was rattling around in his mom’s purse for a little while first, collecting lint and old Chicklet dust.
It is a bad tooth to use in the best of science experiments, let alone mad science experiments, is what I’m saying.
Which means, based on the rules of cloning and DNA-adjacent experiments that I know of (various Bizarros, The Fly, that Empty Child episode of Dr. Who, the fact that if Dolly the Sheep’s so great then how come she’s dead, huh?, etc.), even if a clone of John Lennon can be created, it will be a Flawed Clone.
Ugh, a flawed Clone Lennon, stumbling about, boasting He Am Tinier Than Jesus, wearing his round glasses on his balls and hanging out with Ted Nugent… It’ll be a nightmare.
Problem 3: Nature Vs. Nurture.
Even if Canadian science IS well on its way to cracking cloning, and even if it DOES produce a viable John Lennon clone, it’s just going to be SOME DUDE WHO LOOKS LIKE JOHN LENNON. And again, you want to know the confusion and disappointment that can create? ASK JULIAN LENNON.
He will possess none of the life experiences, musical influences or personal relationships required to successfully “bring back one of history’s greatest rock stars,” as Canadian Mad Man Dr. Zuk hopes.
At BEST, he’ll have the musical influence of Original John Lennon’s song catalog, and how soon before he grows resentful of OJL’s influence and ends up gravitating toward Taylor Swift in a misguided fit of rebellion? Or begins to wonder what the point of it all is, if the original guy left behind a body of great music and an agonizing Christmas song, and decides to chuck it all to go hunt for beaver pelts in the Canadian wilderness?
Unless Canada is also developing corpse-brain-transference technology AND artificially-accelerated body growth (and I mean, come ON), what we’re going to have here is a ward of the Canadian state who is encouraged to stick with his music lessons for reasons he is entirely unclear about.
He won’t even SOUND like John Lennon. He will sound like a somewhat nasal Canadian. Unless they also get this kid a dialect coach, and this point I’ve become pretty concerned with how this Clone Lennon is being raised, haven’t you? Canada’s own Boys From Brazil project? I’m liking this less and less!
Problem 4: The Suicidal Despair Once He Gets A Good Look At What Became of His Bandmates.
I don’t think I really have to elaborate on this one. Though maybe Ringo could take on some kind of “fun uncle” status in young Clone Lennon’s life.
So in conclusion, Mad Canadian Dr. Zuk, don’t get your hopes up on Clone Lennon. But if you’ve got another pile of money to throw at a problem science hasn’t spotted yet, allow me to remind you that Ron Perlman will not be around forever, but if you clone him now, Original Ron Perlman can teach his replacement The Ways Of Ron Perlman, and we can save ourselves some tragedy in the future.
(I mean really, why stop at one.)