X-Message-Number: 23072
Date: Wed, 10 Dec 2003 00:00:40 -0800
From: "John Grigg" <>
Subject: Cryonics in the media

Mark Plus wrote:
Meanwhile, Leon Kass, Immortalism's current arch-enemy, seems 
idiosyncratically focussed on fictional portrayals of characters who bring 
disaster upon themselves from meddling with the natural order and reaching 
for things allegedly beyond human propriety. (Curiously, Kass doesn't seem 
to be bothered by the Borgs on his side, like the defibrillated Vice 
President or the cochlear-implanted Rush Limbaugh.) Apparently Kass is too 
Matrix-bound to consider other perspectives, and he would have everyone take 
the Blue Pill, indefinitely. Refer, for example, to the Slate article, 

I thought Jeremy Rifkin was the arch-enemy of immortalism? lol  It was about 
three years ago that Rifkin was deemed that by some at Extro 5.  I suppose 
arch-enemies change over time.  I look forward to reading a book circa 2023 
which proves through historical anecdote what a deluded fool Kass was.  And 
hopefully there well be a chapter telling the story of how Kass finally made 
that realization himself.  

he continues:
Either that, or else Immortalists could co-opt the ultimate neo-Luddite 
bogeyman, Victor Frankenstein. If American culture has been able to give 
vampires a public-relations makeover so that novels, movies and television 
shows regularly portray them sympathetically, with blonde American girls 
even choosing them as lovers, then I don't see why Frankenstein couldn't get 
the same treatment. Maybe cryonicists could at least acknowledge an oblique 
relationship with vampires, since the cryonaut, like the person becoming a 
vampire, has his blood removed in a process that (we hope!) leads to a 
dispensation from mortality.

The Anne Rice novels sure did remake the vampire genre, but I find it strange 
romanticizing mythical beings who are by their very nature serial killers.  But 
vampires in film and print tend to be shown as much better looking & charming 
than Dr. Frankenstein and his rampaging monster.    

As for linking cryonicists with pop culture's beloved vampires, when you remove 
the blood & insert his masters to make a new member of the undead you get a 
fiend with instant immortality and supernatural powers who looks great at the 
local night club.  While with cryonics you remove the blood, put in 
cryoprotectants and then put the subject into a dewar where he stays put till 
brought back many years later by advanced technology.

I know cryonics and killer zombies have been linked in film but that was not 
something which would cause new recruits to rush to their phones to call Alcor 
or CI. lol  Instead of graves they had dewars to rise out of as they sought to 
terrorize the living.  

Actually, the recent Frankenstein film starring Kenneth Branagh as the doctor, 
showed him sympathetically as a scientist trying to improve the race and fight 
mortality after the tragic and premature death of his own mother.  And as for 
having a lover, Helena Bonham Carter was the woman cast to be his lover and 
wife!  I'd say Dr. Frankenstein was doing pretty dang good on the matter of who 
was his lover.  We should all do so well.  

When it comes to the message the book and films had, some say it was not really 
about science gone amok but the great tragedy of a child not receiving the care 
it needs from its parental figure.  So the story of Frankenstein is very 
relevant for our time as we move forward to create new machine and biological 

As far as the Frankenstein monster goes, the recent tv commercials showing him 
as a prosperous aging boomer who does tai chi, gardening and even plays the 
guitar for school children thanks to a brand name pain reliever are not only 
hilarious but show the power of advertising.  "I used to suffer from such stiff 
joints until I started using ________."  "Just look at how I used to be (they 
show a clip from the classic Frankenstein film where the monster staggers 
forward with his arms jutting forward)!.     

On a recent Saturday Night-Live episode they had a tv commercial parody which 
was already briefly mentioned on Cryonet.  A thoughtful man says to the camera 
"I suffer from halitosis and my doctor recommended I try cryogenics."  Another 
person states "I have bad dandruff and my doctor recommended the same thing!"  A
narrator chimes in with a colorful computer graphic demonstrating how 
"cryogenics" works.  "With cryogenics the blood in your body will be drained and
your body frozen (graphics show the red body slowly turning blue)."  "Then your
head will be removed and put in longterm cold storage (the graphics show the 
head being snapped off with jagged edges and taken from the body)."  A 
testimonial bearing woman matter of factly says "my doctor says in the future 
science will be able to bring me back!"  And finally a man says "I am male 
pattern baldness so I can tell you, cryogenics is for me!"     

I realize some cryonicists might be offended but I think playful humor like this
could to an extent get people to relax about a subject which became a lightning
rod for negative public opinion in recent months.  Humor properly used *by* 
cryonicists could be a boon for us in getting the message out.    

Cryonics has found its best niche in entertainment media by being the means to 
put a new twist in the classic Romeo and Juliet style storyline.  "Forever 
Young" with Mel Gibson and the probably better film "Late for Dinner" are 
examples of this.  "Ralph's Journey" by David Pizer is a literary take on the 
same thing.  Personally, I'm very glad cryonics is seen in such a romantic light
by pop culture.  I'll take this over vampires and Frankenstein any day.  

What I think we need is a popular film which shows cryonics as more than just a 
plot device to get people from point A in time to point B.  If cryonics WERE the
focus and hero of the story with brave and devoted people working to make it 
happen, we would have our chance to really get the message out properly.  The 
film would have to end with the characters "on the other side" and greatly 
enjoying their transformed bodies/lives in a new and wonderful world.

best wishes,

John Grigg

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