X-Message-Number: 161
From: Kevin Q. Brown
Subject: Another L.A. Law Cryonics Review 
Date: 24 Mar 1990

Allen J. Lopp presented in the Feb. 1990 issue of Cryonics an important
perspective on the Jan. 4 airing of L.A. Law, which featured a cryonics case
[msgs #150 & #156].  After briefly reviewing the content of the show, he
pointed out the following:

  "... While it may be tempting to conclude that this episode was pro-cryonics,
  I think it would be more accurate to say that it was pro-civil liberties.
  The judge did not defend Paula's right to be frozen as much as he defended
  her right to privacy and to choose her own fate.  We must be mindful that,
  even though we cryonicists are deeply grateful for a TV presentation such
  as this, the makers of L.A. Law did not feature a cryonics story as a favor
  to us or because cryonics is a major pressing legal controversy of the day.
  They did it because they want high viewer ratings and because a highly
  entertaining story could be formed around a cryonics theme.  And they made
  it entertaining not by engaging in Frankenstein-type horror voyeurism
  (as previous TV efforts such as the TV movie 'Chiller' did), they did it
  by placing the sympathies of the viewer on the side of the cryonicist.

  For the first time (to my knowledge) a cryonics proponent is a totally
  positive character.  In this sense, L.A. Law has handed cryonics a
  public relations feat that is unequaled.  This contrasts strikingly
  between the 'Miami Vice' cryonics episode in which the cryonicists
  were bumbling oafs and frauds; or the 'Star Trek: The Next Generation'
  cryonics installment where the two cryonicists were unpleasant and
  psychologically maladjusted, and the one sympathetic resuscitee clearly
  would never have chosen cryonics for herself.  On L.A. Law, Paula was
  not only likable, she was beautiful, intelligent, assertive, courageous,
  and both lovable and loving.  She undoubtedly is nothing less than a heroine.

  In fact, if there are any themes I see emerging from the L.A. Law
  treatment, they are courage, compassion, hope, and love.  These are
  elements cryonicists often associate with the cryonics goal, but
  rarely communicate effectively to the public.  In contrast, on L.A. Law
  Paula consistently gets the viewer on her side by highlighting her
  capacity to love.  She hugs her attorney friend repeatedly throughout
  the show.  Before the judge, she confesses her love of life in terms of
  its potential for experiences of loving families and friendships.
  (Cryonicists, take note: She does not talk about dodging the grim
  reaper or her hopes to live forever, hook an 80860 chip directly into
  her cranium, or explore the craters of Ganymede.  She speaks in terms
  that make little old ladies in Peoria feel sentimental and cause
  toddlers in Walnut Creek to get misty-eyed while they hug their puppies
  and kitties.)  Moreover, she speaks of her impending death solemnly but
  totally matter of factly and without a hint of a tear.  Dagny Taggart,
  eat your heart out!

  The judge, too, is clearly a man of compassion, unwilling to dash this
  woman's last hope.  And he shows the courage of his compassion, even
  though he knows his decision is very unlikely to be upheld in the long run.

  So the most profound message I get out of the show isn't about law, it's
  about public relations: Despite all our insights into the technological
  wonders of the future, when cryonicists address the public we must speak
  in their terms, not ours, if we hope to reach them.  Fear of death,
  even the desire to avoid death, is not something they admire, so we must
  sometimes downplay it.  Paradoxically, loving life is something to value,
  but not wanting to die means you are a coward.  Moreover, you must love
  life for the right reasons.  Enjoying your family, friends, and watching
  your grandchildren grow up will win their sentiments.  Staying young,
  getting rich, or enjoying the wealth of the future, and especially
  wanting to live beyond our 'allotted time' are evidence of greed and
  selfishnes that make the respected members of the local Rotary Club want
  to dig graves twice as deep for us.  It has nothing to do with rationality,
  little to do with law, and everything to do with social values.  That's the
  way it is, and we don't have to like it but we do have to deal with it.

  It is this very subtle balancing act that the writers of L.A. Law
  navigated so expertly.  And it is the same balancing act we must master
  in our offerings of cryonics services to the world, when we ask judges to
  defend our rights, and when we want legislators to hear our concerns. ..."

Allen Lopp also suggested that cryonicists send a "Thank You" note to the
producer of the show Michael M. Robin, as did the Feb. 1990 issue of Venturist
Monthly News [see msg #156].  The March 1990 issue of Venturist Monthly News,
however, took Bob Brakeman's suggestion that you instead write to the Executive
Producer David E. Kelley;

  "Kelley should be the recipient of the letters [expressing appreciation
  for the show] not only because he is the actual EP, but also because he
  is, in addition, the key writer on the show, and of course it was the
  work of the writers which made all the pro-immortalism points you
  admired so much."

David E. Kelley's address is:
    Twentieth Century Fox
    10201 W. Pico
    Los Angeles, CA 90035

                                       - Kevin Q. Brown

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