Stacey, Jackie. The Cinematic Life of the Gene. Durham, NC: Duke University Press, 2010.
Chapter 1: The Hell of the Same: Cloning, Baudrillard, and the Queering of Biology
This chapter is a close reading of Jean Baudrillard's writing on cloning, largely pulling from his 2002 work Screened Out. Using what Stacey calls his "discursive excess" (20), Baudrillard argues that the specter of cloning threatens to reverse evolution and annihilate that which makes our species successful: sexual difference. He positions cloning as a yearning to revert back to our "primitive" beginnings as self-replicating, undifferentiated single-celled organisms, erasing "the greatest revolution in the history of living beings," sexual reproduction (25).
Baudrillard describes this evolutionary step as the real sexual revolution. Further, he argues that the "sexual liberation"—that of birth control, feminism, and queer theory— is completely opposed to the evolutionary sexual revolution. Through its embrace of sameness, "[s]exual liberation, the so-called crowning achievement of the evolution of sexed forms of life, marks, in its full consequences, the end of the sexual revolution" (33). Stacey writes that Baudrillard "elevates heterosexuality to the foundational cornerstone of civilization" (30) and believes "[f]eminism and genetic engineering are united in their mission to undo the basic foundations of nature and culture and to dislodge sexual difference as the cornerstone of civilization" (33). Baudrillard's writing and the larger "genetic imaginary" show a "profound anxiety about the destabilization of sexual difference as the cornerstone of culture and about the introduction of unnatural forms which separate sexuality, reproduction, procreation, and kinship" (33).