X-Message-Number: 11397
Date: Tue, 9 Mar 1999 21:34:50 EST
Subject: Icing celebrities

Recent postings have mentioned Stanley Kubrick and Peter Sellers; now the name
of Arthur C. Clarke has come up again. Many on this list probably know that he
has read considerable cryonics material, and his ostensible objection is that
"we are different people every ten years or so anyway."   

Of course, ostensible objections are often different from the real reasons
people avoid cryonics; nevertheless, we should try to deflate the stated
objections. The most obvious problem with Clarke's reported objection is that
it is merely a GUESS, and yet he is willing to (possibly) forfeit his life on
the basis of that guess!

I long ago stopped making special efforts to recruit prominent people. They
are worse than average prospects, for many well known reasons, including prior
preoccupations and fear of peer ridicule. However, times and circumstances
change, and maybe it is time to rethink the celebrity question. Fortunately,
we need celebrities now less than in the past, but every little bit helps.

Possibly the best prospects are those who have only their celebrity to offer,
not money. Clarke may be one of those--well known and respected, but probably
not rich. One enticement might be the opportunity to save others, or at
minimum to help larger numbers make serious investigations. Good for the ego.
So how do we do that, other than plain nagging? 

Alcor is reported once to have offered Fred Pohl a free suspension if he would
sign with them and allow it to be publicized. Aside from the fact that it
didn't work in that case, I have mixed feelings about that idea. It feels
wrong, a bit sleazy; if the celebrity really is convinced, why shouldn't he
pay like everyone else? If it becomes  known that he got a freebie, won't that
backfire? On the other hand, it is well known that many celebrities think they
have a divine right to freebies, and even the rich ones demand that someone
else pick up the dinner check or provide a free evening gown etc. All in all,
I still oppose free suspensions for celebrities of any sort. (Well, we would
probably give a freebie to the Pope--and lest you laugh, we did once receive a
query from someone claiming to represent a Cardinal living in the Vatican.) 

A compromise? CI already has a policy (hardly ever invoked so far) of allowing
work or service to sustitute for the membership fee in unusual cases. Maybe we
could offer a celebrity a free membership in exchange for use of his name and
other help in recruitment. No deception need be involved; if he hasn't yet
executed his own contract, that fact would be made clear. He could simply say
something like: "At this point I am only considering making the actual
cryostasis arrangements for myself--but I am considering it seriously, and I
suggest others do too. I still have some doubts or reservations, but there is
a real chance that it could save my life, or yours, or those of people you

Any better ideas?

Robert Ettinger
Cryonics Institute
Immortalist Society

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