Wednesday, January 18, 2017
23andMe: The Ultimate Selfie
Or maybe it's just the Ultimate in self-absorbed, money-burning-a-hole-in-your-pocket naval gazing self-absorption?
There's a radio commercial on XM/Sirius for this company that basically screams "look how f--ing insane this product will make you, you bored jackwagons!" It features a couple on what seems to be their first date. The guy tries to make small talk but his attempts at being friendly are constantly foiled by his date's obsession with her new 23andme report. He offers her a coffee, and she declines, telling him that her 23andme report says she's more likely to be addicted to coffee. He suggests a movie, and she replies that its a good idea because her 23andme report says she's more likely to be a night person. When she says she has to run, she adds "and I CAN run, because my 23andme report says I am likely to be a good sprinter!"
Her date responds politely, which suggests to me that she's probably really, really hot, but I can't tell for sure because after all it's a radio commercial. If he were me, I'd respond by telling her goodbye and tossing her phone number in the nearest garbage can, because looks aren't everything and I've dated more than my share of lunatics in the past.
As far as I'm concerned, 23andme (and Ancestry.com and all the other Find Out Who You Are By Ignoring Your Actual Life "services") are just symptoms of the cocoon-society we find ourselves in. If you want to "know who you are" these days, you don't take classes or volunteer or write or do anything to discover and unleash hidden talents. You just send a few drops of your spit to a laboratory or pay some internet company to tell you where your great-grandparents were doing a hundred years before you were born. You don't build anything yourself- you just take credit for what some distant ancestor did in another country because after all, that guy passed his genetic material on through your family so....um, well, that's about it, actually. And you don't take responsibility for anything you do, you just find some chemical excuse for it- "I'm addicted to coffee because that runs in my family." Oh, and you totally toss out the concept of Free Will along with your individualism- "I'm just a bag of germs mixed with DNA strands made up of people who came before- whatever I do is pretermined by that DNA."
This sounds good to some people- mainly those who are so bored and directionless and afraid of life that they need a security blanket and a map and big shove to get them through each day. I thought that was what established religion was for? Or are 23andme and Ancestry.com just the new religion? The Church of Me, anyone?