June 15, 2022
Imagine this guy running away with your DNA in the can.
According to two law professors, this is now very likely, although most likely if you are famous. (Apparently nobody wants the DNA of anyone in education.) In The Conversation, Liza Vertinsky and Yaniv Heled, two professors of law, lay out the prospect of a "likelihood that genetic paparazzi with DNA collection kits may soon become as ubiquitous as ones with cameras." I have been blissfully unaware that Emmanuel Macron worried that Vladimir Putin might desire Macron's genetic material, and even more appreciatively clueless that Madonna demands new toilet seats when she is on tour to ensure no one runs off with some DNA from her backside. (This scenario also makes images of Dennis Nedry running away with Madonna's DNA from a can in a can rather hilarious.)
I have to admit I am not surprised by these revelations. Every time I watch a Forensic Files and learn that a case was closed because of a surreptitious grabbing of a discarded cigarette butt or coffee cup, I am reminded of how dangerously close we are to having absolutely no rights regarding our genetic material. However, to consider more broadly how many people might want Johnny Depp's DNA (and how so many fewer might now want Amber Heard's) makes the comical now seem more horrific.
Those of us who were fans of The Big Bang Theory laughed when Sheldon is overwhelmed by having the DNA of Leonard Nimoy from a napkin, noting that all he needs "is a healthy ovum" to grow his "own Leonard Nimoy." But, who's laughing now?
If you want to be famous, realize there are no more private parts:
I want to be on that big screen,
Downloaded and streamed,
Millions idolizing me
Making it hard to walk the streets.
But, wait, I now need
To heed the maítre d',
The woman serving tea,
Boy Scouts who hold the door for me?
"They'll want a piece of you."
But don't they always?
"They'll take little bits of you
And sell them on e-bay."
E-bay? That's a fate hardly
Like my dreams of Sotheby's.
Bite your tongue (but keep the spit)
Fame isn't what I hoped of it.
I took a part, the destiny I headed for,
What I sweated for.
With a wipe from the seat
Some nasty little creep's
Taken an invisible part of me,
Or at least that's how it seems.
If you see me later
Pay an investigator
To ensure you're not receiving
A future me so deceiving.
Where will it stop?
My legacy in a tourist stop?
Or endlessly mutated fits and starts
All to expose my private parts.
Vertinsky, Lisa and Yaniv Heled. "Genetic Paparazzi Are Right Around The Corner, And Courts Aren't Ready To Confront The Legal Quagmire Of DNA Theft." The Conversation, 3 June 2022. https://theconversation.com/genetic-paparazzi-are-right-around-the-corner-and-courts-arent-ready-to-confront-the-legal-quagmire-of-dna-theft-178866