Human Exceptionalism

Biological Colonialism “Comedic Tour de Force”

Secondhand Smokette and I went to a Barnes and Noble this morning and I stumbled upon a new book: Larry’s Kidney: Being the True Story of How I Found Myself in China with My Black Sheep Cousin and His Mail-Order Bride, Skirting the Law to Get Him a Transplant–and Save His Life, by Daniel Asa Rose. Great: A comedic tale of biological colonialism and exploitation, I thought. Just what the world needs.

So, I have perused a few reviews. Here’s a sample:

This book is a side-splitting tour de force that whisks readers off to China on a quest to get a transplant for the author’s cousin Larry. Second-time memoirist Rose recounts their exploits with an insuperable wit that will appeal to readers who crave unrelenting humor. In a more serious vein, Larry’s challenging journey to China will resonate with readers who are rightfully concerned about the plight of American patients who may be relegated for years to an organ transplant waiting list. — Library Journal, May 1, 2009

Yes, all that matters is what happens to Americans and our organ shortage. But here’s the thing: Some poor Chinese prisoner was almost surely tissue typed to match Larry and then killed for his kidney. That’s how it tends to work when Americans with plenty of cash in their pockets go to China to buy organs. In this vein, please read Smokette’s powerful “American Vampire,” about this same topic, in which she wrote:

But just as it is wrong for Americans to die waiting for organs, it also is wrong for prisoners to die because an American needs a liver, or for a child to die because his mother sold her kidney. And it is beyond reason that in a country that passes numerous regulations on the feeding and care of livestock, people don’t want to judge those who, like vampires, troll for organs in the Third World.

But Larry is such a character and Rose is such a good writer–and no doubt, he opposes water boarding–so who cares? I am sure the “donor” literally had a “side-splitting” good time. Hilarious.

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