Sunday, June 04, 2006

X-Men: The Last Stand

The Women's Bioethics Project will be conducting a series of online focus groups examining the bio-ethical implications of the recently released “X-Men: The Last Stand.” Plot outline: A “cure” for mutancy threatens to alter the course of history. For the first time, mutants have a choice to retain their uniqueness, though it isolates and alienates them or give up their powers and become human. Directed by Brett Ratner.

If you would like to participate, please email with your name, age, gender, and geographical location. We need your demographic information to be sure we have a representative sample but all responses will be compiled without attribution. The groups will be held mid-July and the results presented to the WBP advisory committees and state legislators bioethics working group. Please consider participating in this important project. Incentive: WBP coffee mug to all participants.

[Submitted by Kathryn Hinsch]


Kevin T. Keith said...

Sounds like a fun and fascinating project. There is certainly a wealth of provocative bioethical parallels and metaphors in the movie, and probably no limit to how much can be said about them. I've blogged on it myself but have only scratched the surface.

However, I don't quite understand the purpose of this project. It's not that it isn't a worthy topic, but why exactly is it important for the WBP Board to hear about it? What practical issue hinges on public reactions to the X-Men movie? What are you going to say to the state legislators, after tabulating public reactions to the plan to reverse the "mutant X chromosome" with serum from the captive anti-mutant? ("We are strongly opposed to anti-mutant therapies that would affect the ability of persons of color to control the weather!")

Talking about the X-Men movie and its biological metaphors would an interesting thing to do, but there are probably more direct, and better, ways to address legislation aimed at practical bioethics issues in the non-mutant universe.

Anonymous said...

Keith – you are absolutely right – my posting must appear a little random. Blogs are better places to recruit focus group participants than to roll out strategic plans to influence public policy (note: so far we have had a great response and would welcome more focus group participants.)

We are in the process of writing a comprehensive review of public perceptions of genetic engineering. We are starting with popular fiction (see our recent bioethics book club project) and moving to recently produced films. We are looking at that because that’s where people are often first exposed to the issues (sadly, The Hasting Center Report has a circulation of under 10,000 – not much compared to People Magazine.)

State legislators are very interested in learning about the results of our analysis because this is the reality their constituents experience and the context in which they evaluate legislation.

If you are interested, would love your help in formulating our focus group questions as well as feedback on the final analysis. Thanks for, as always, calling it like you see it.

Kathryn Hinsch