Thursday, July 01, 2004


I was home last night since I was on the last day of a 3 day grapefruit only marathon and it’s hard to go out to dinner and smell real food when you’re only eating grapefruit. As usual the networks were airing vacuous reality dross – the Ultimate Love Test – that’s not even interesting. My parents did the whole “let’s date other people” thing in the 70s. It was called an “open relationship” and it didn’t work out that well. Couched in the world of reality television it’s even more pathetic.

So I ended up watching the Discovery Channel though I can’t remember which one. On Directv there are all different kinds of Discovery – there’s Discovery Science, Discovery Health, Discovery Media and a bunch more that I can’t remember. They’ve genrefied discovery. I started out watching Anne Wilson from Heart discuss her weight problem and the lap band procedure she had done to help her lose weight. Under her narrative they played that really cool acoustic song "Love Alive" – and in a moment of nostalgia I flashed back to Lori's house where we sat with the Little Queen album and sang all the songs! So I ran to the computer, went to Amazon and bought the album – Heart really did rock! Love those girls.

Then I must’ve got distracted – I really need to eat protein, specifically meat, to be able to focus for any period of time, because when I found myself in front of the TV again there was a different show on and it was called Genius Sperm. I swear to God. I don't know how it all ended for Anne, but I'm sure she's lost even more weight, and I was quickly riveted by the sperm show. Apparently there was this guy, Robert Graham, a millionaire inventor, and back in the 70s he opened a sperm bank called the “Repository for Germinal Choice”. His plan was to only accept sperm from donors who were Nobel Prize winners, published scientists and inventors – guys he thought could be considered “genius”.

So Mr. Graham went around soliciting sperm from various people, though on this show I saw two men who admitted to having donated and neither one of them were a scientist or an inventor. The first guy who was a CIA operative, now raising Ostriches on a farm in Virginia (and missing his left bicuspid-guess there's no dental on the CIA retirement plan) described being taken to dinner by Mr. Graham who explained the proposal and then asked if he wanted to accompany him back to his hotel room where he could make his deposit! The guy said the experience made him feel feminine – snort! But he donated over a period of 8 months back in the 80s. He doesn't know of any children that resulted from his sperm, nor is he interested in meeting any children that might have.

Next there was a clip – like those movies that you saw in elementary school in the 70s with the weird sound – of Mr. Graham wearing a white lab coat and looking for all the world like the benign, yet evil scientist in some sci-fi movie. He’s got a full head of white hair and a very patrician profile – he looks like the consummate white guy circa 1948. He’s explaining how the donors can make their “deposits” (hee!) at their own homes and then ship them to the repository in cryogenic containers. He lifts the lid of one such container explaining that the substance in the container will freeze semen as hard as glass in a matter of three seconds as the camera pulls in close on a glass vial of frozen genius sperm. Eeeuuuuwwww.

Next we meet Jason who is a donor. He lives in Orange County and has a masters degree in genetics, but he's made his money in real estate. He also claims to have a genius IQ (160+ - though I'm not seeing any test result, so I guess we're just taking his word for it). We see Jason, who is wearing black shorts and a black, sleeveless sweatshirt – kind of a ninja workout outfit – doing karate moves and I think he was hitting a punching bag too. He has reddish hair and a goatee and he interviews that he wasn’t solicited as a donor he went to the repository and volunteered. He feels that his genes are so special he should father as many children as possible. He says, “Well when they saw me, I mean look at my physique, they knew that I was a superior specimen.” Not only did Jason donate his genius sperm (which to date has resulted in nine births) he has also fathered ten children with a bunch of different women! He doesn’t want to get married because that would limit his ability to “spread his seed”. In my head I start calling him The Super Sperminator. There is a clip showing him holding one of these babies that he’s had with multiple mothers and the camera pans to show three more little boys - all clearly from different mothers of various ethnicities.

I’m kind of wondering about any screening process that the mothers had to go through – or were these just women he picked up at Josh Slocum’s on random Saturday nights? I imagine the conversation at the bar:

SPERMINATOR: Hey there, I'm Jason. I am rich and just look at my physique! I have super, genius sperm! and I'm offering you this one time only opportunity to breed with me. Clearly you can see that I am a superior man - c'mon, look at my physique! I will stop by and visit you and the child, but I must continue on my quest to spread my seed to numerous wombs with an eye to populating the world with people just like me!


But before I can spend too much time pondering this I am looking at some children who are sperm donor babies. There are four adorable blonde children somewhere in Colorado I think, who live with their mother now that their parents are divorced. When she and her husband were married they were told that he was infertile so they have three children from sperm donation, two from the repository for genius sperm. The youngest child was a surprise – turns out dad wasn’t sterile afterall! Now I’m wondering if that news affected how he felt about the older children, who don’t appear to be genius or special, at least not obviously. In fact, the mother interviews that they’re not really special or above average. They’re great kids, but an advertisement for positive eugenics, um – no.

You see Mr. Graham was a big fan of positive eugenics and hoped to create a rennaissance with his repository.
Eugenics is a branch of genetic science that was born in the United States back in the 19-teens and 20s. The definition is the “study of hereditary improvement of the human race by controlled, selective breeding”, similar to how better racehorses are created by selective breeding, there were a group of guys who thought that genetically superior human beings could be bred as well. That would be “positive” eugenics. In actuality what happened in this country was more a form of “negative” eugenics wherein people were determined to be unfit to “breed” because they were mentally ill, or they had a venereal disease, or they were slow intellectually, or any number of reasons, and many states had the right to determine that these people should be sterilized.

Against their will.
By court order.

Horrifying huh? And you thought the Nazis came up with that kind of nightmare! No! Americans did!! Of course, the Nazis took it to new levels of horror by exterminating people who they felt were “unclean” or unfit to breed. The Nazis also put a form of positive eugenics into practice in a program where all single German (Aryan type - blonde, blue eyed, bodacious) teenage girls were made to report to “Lebensborn” breeding facilities where they were BRED to carefully selected Aryan SS officers. The children, when they were born were turned over to the Nazi party to be raised as perfect little Germans.

Enough history – back to the adventures of The Super Sperminator (who would probably love the idea of a breeding facility) – turns out that he is the father of two of those children in Colorado and he wants to meet them. Now this part I don’t get. I may be cold and callous, but does contributing genetic material pre-dispose one to an emotional connection? I can understand a person who is adopted wanting to see what their ancestors look like and wanting to know about genetic predisposition to various health issues, but all of that is supposedly culled out in the donor process right? This seems to me to be about the Sperminator wanting to inflate his already overly large ego even more. Look at all the children that I accept no emotional responsibility for! It's like, look at my tomatoes! So I’m watching him talk to the chubby blonde girl who carries his genetic material and it’s really creepy. He talks to her in this soft, high, kind of pervy voice that you could imagine a child molester using to tell a kid that it’s okay to put their hand in his pants pocket and try to grab the puppy. So they make arrangements to meet and I don’t know if they actually do because I fell asleep. I am so surprised I didn't have a bad dream where I'm pregnant and the Sperminator is the father! I actually have dreams where I'm pregnant, but they're generally not nightmares.

One of the people interviewed for this show is a journalist named David Plotz who has written extensively on the repository and even worked to find out who donors are and what had happened to the children. Today I went here to get the whole story. And it’s quite an interesting story although they don’t write about Jason, The Super Sperminator.

As someone who has specialized in relationships with commitment phobic men I have to say that Jason has the most unique and creative reason I’ve ever heard as to why he can’t commit – he has to be free to populate the world because he is made of such superior, genetic material!

What an ass.

No comments: