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by Dale Connelly, 7/21/00

Dc: This is DCR, a news program not to be believed.
At a genetic engineering conference this weekend protesters are promising to make themselves heard as attending scientists discuss startling new developments in this highly controversial area of research.
Which leads us to this week's … "Blahbety Blah Blah"

(music: theme)

On Blahbety Blah Blah, opposing points of view come face to face in a civil and competitive and we hope, cooperative way. A contest of wits and issues. Our topic this time … the promise and the menace of genetic engineering. The Blabety side will go first, with Ernest Stanley and Kate Murgatroyd of the environmental watchdog group Evergreen Agitators.

Ernest: Genetic tinkering is a hazard!

Kate: It toys with the very fabric of life itself!

Ernest: But we have to remember, this is no monster movie. This dangerous work is being done by thinking people, not mad scientists. That's why it's so important that we open this discussion. We have to reach them with reason!

Kate: What they're doing is creepy. We are sentinels and right now we are sounding the alarm.

(sfx: timing bell)

Dc: OK .. and now, the Blah Blah side will respond. Dr. Larry Kyle and Mrs. Elvira Kyle, who are both with Genway, the supermarket for genetically engineered foods.

Kyle: Well, first of all, don't throw out the image of the mad scientist!

(sfx: bolt)

Heh heh heh heh heh. I've always loved the mad scientist!

Elvira: A free spirit! Unrestrained by the petty rules of bureaucrats and health regulators!

Kyle: An adventurer! That's your mad scientist! Not creepy!

Elvira: No! If it's creepy you want, think about being a toad! Ick!

Kyle: Now that we have access to a map of the human genome, it's just a matter of throwing a tiny little genetic switch and there you go, you're a bog creature.

Elvira: Wouldn't that be awful if it happened to you!

(sfx: timing bell)

Dc: Ok. Round one goes to the Blahbety side, Ernest and Kate.

Kyle: Oh, no!

Elvira: Oh, what a world! Unfair!

Dc: They raised serious issues which you glossed over and then you answered them with a threat.

Elvira: You're nit picking now. Nit picking!

Dc: Remember, this isn't just a discussion, it's a competition. But it's also designed to promote healing and the establishing of common ground. If you can find some agreement … that's extra points for both teams.

Elvira: Can we agree we all like chocolate cake?

Ernest: Nope.

Kate: Not a chance.

Dc: Round two. The winning team in round one gets to gets to make an accusation against the losing side. Ernest?

Ernest: Let's talk about Genway.

Kate: Genway is one of the main culprits in genetic engineering's assault on the planet! It's "Beetle Proof Parsley" is an environmental disaster.

Ernest: The parsley eats the beetle that preys on it. But it eats everything else too! It eats Ladybugs, Walking Sticks, Preying Mantises.

Kate: Birds, Squirrels, Raccoons. It's voracious.

Ernest: Even when it gets to the plate! Restaurants report Genway parsley devouring the entree before it gets to the table, and ransacking the kitchen!

Kate: They call it "Garish Garnish."

Ernest: And THAT'S what genetic engineering has given us!
A nightmare on a platter.

Dc: OK. The Blah Blah side, Dr.'s Kyle and Kyle. Defend yourselves!

Kyle: None of this is new.

Elvira: It's old! All old! Those creatures being eaten in the field are insects! Bugs and pests. If they were in your house, you'd step on them!

Kyle: We've made it possible for the American Parsley industry to bring in a crop this year. And that means jobs!

Elvira: Jobs! Jobs! Yes, my lovelies. Jobs in the restaurants. Somebody's got to put the parsley on the plate! So what if it eats the other food? Restaurant portions are too big anyway!

Kyle: And so much of the food is terrible! Ghastly! Only Genway is doing something about it! .

(sfx: timing bell)

Dc: OK, round two is over … and it goes to the Blah Blah side, Dr.'s Kyle and Kyle.

Ernest: I don't believe it!

Kate: What a lame defense!

Dc: Job creation has always done well as an argument for plundering the environment.

Ernest: This contest is rigged!

Dc: We're almost out of time. The Blah Blah side gets to lob one back at the Blabeties.

Kyle: We don't want to lob anything. We want to make an offer. We're hoping for reconciliation.

(sfx: bolt)

Elvira: An offer, yes … we believe we have science and reason on our side, but we admit our opponents have youth and passion.

Kyle: How wonderful. Youth. Passion. Nature's one/two punch!

Elvira: We'd like to put that to good use if we can.

Kyle: What would you say to some genetic experiments to graft your youth and passion on to an eggplant?

Elvira: Eggplants are so bland! They could use a little zest!

Kyle: All we'd need is a tissue sample. And you could forever change the dull reputation of an important and nutritious vegetable.

Evira: Passionate Eggplant! Full of conviction and self righteousness.

Kyle:. Organic Immortality! A little bit of you in all the fields.
Don't answer right away. Think it over.

Dc: And the Blahbety side, you have just fifteen seconds.

Kate: Well this is exactly what we're warning against.

Ernest: Careless, indiscriminate experimentation, putting human DNA into vegetables without testing or oversight! Filling the environment with new, toxic combinations.

Kate: Speak for yourself. I know I'm not toxic.

Ernest: But … it's the idea. Where does it stop?

Kate: If you could put our DNA in an eggplant … could you put a little bit of me in a rose or an iris or a new kind of daisy?

Kyle: Definitely.

Kate: I'd kind of like that.

Ernest: And how about me? Could you put some of my DNA in a really spicy radish?

Elvira: But of course! It would be a simple thing!

(sfx: timing bell)

Dc: Time's up. And it sounds like you've started to move towards an area of common purpose and understanding.

Ernest: We still think they're irresponsible, insane earth plunderers. But if my face made it on to a package of radish seeds … that would be so cool!

Kyle: Yes, and we were idealistic once, weren't we dear?

Elvira: Speak for yourself!

Kyle: So if we can help young people like these two compromise on their values and abandon their convictions for wealth and fame and comfort … then we're passing along a gift we've already been given.

(sfx: bolt)

Heh heh heh heh heh.

Dc: It's Blahbety Blah Blah … opposing points of view face to face in a civil and competitive and we hope, cooperative way. Thanks to this week's guests, Ernest Stanley and Kate Murgatroyd of the environmental watchdog group Evergreen Agitators, and Dr.'s Larry and Elvira Kyle of Genway.

(sfx: wrapper)

Elvira: Would anyone like to suck on a little toenail of Newt? It's a great breath freshener!

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