A Clone of My Own

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July 30, 2015 by NowhereButPop

by Andrew Doscas

I look back on my childhood, and one thing that sticks out is that I was a huge Michael Keaton fan.  Batman, Johnny Dangerously, and Beetlejuice were all movies I would sit down, shut up, and mindlessly watch, even if they were 2/3 of the way done.  There was one movie though, that amused me way more than it should have—Multiplicity.  The basic premise of the movie is that construction worker, Doug Kinney (Michael Keaton) is overworked, stressed out, and egregiously neglects his wife.  To alleviate all of these problems, Doug trusts a scientist obsessed with cloning anything he can get his hands on, who he just met, to clone him.

Because one clone isn’t enough, Doug decides to clone himself a second time, for no reason at all.  The two clones Lance and Rico then decide to clone Lance because the mad scientist who got this shitstorm rolling in the first place had a lifelong desire to clone a clone.  This final clone (Lenny) or Clone² is either retarded or has the mental capacity of a coked out five year old who just discovered House of Pain.  I get that Lenny is deficient as he is a “copy of a copy”, but what I could never understand was why the other two clones, who still possess all of Doug’s memories and knowledge, only had a portion of Doug’s overall personality.  The first clone, Lance, is a tough guy…because Lance is a tough guy name, while the second clone, Rico, is very sensitive and considerate.  It seems that each clone’s personality, while possessing their own distinct personality, is merely an exaggerated and one-dimensional facet of Doug’s overall personality.  Lance is a womanizer, Rico likes to cook and talk about feelings, and Lenny keeps slices of pizza in his wallet.  As far as the ethical concern over human cloning is concerned, Multiplicity is by no means The Island.

If clones were made, I really don’t think they’d be one-dimensional beings that just retain one aspect of the real person’s personality.  The clone wouldn’t just be the “nice” side of someone, or solely their slutty side, or their dickhead side.  What I never understood though, is why the subsequent clones, especially the independent and aggressive Lance, all act subservient to Doug, their progenitor.  They’re practically deferring superiority over to him.  Even though it’s true, why would a clone with a fully fleshed out personality see itself as a lesser being, and then act accordingly?

Doug even gives them rules to abide by, paramount of which is that no one save for the original Doug is allowed to sleep with his wife, Laura.  A completely reasonable request, which to my amazement, the clones all obey.  Since they’re all, in some way really Doug, shouldn’t they have some of the emotions, urges, or even lust for Doug’s wife?  But no, they all agree to this rule as if it were completely inconsequential to their lives, as if they weren’t even remotely interested in sleeping with Doug’s wife.  It’s not even until Laura mistakes all three clones for Doug at separate points throughout the movie, and basically molests them that they’re forced to sleep with her…but it’s just to keep the façade going, lest the truth of all the clones be revealed.

Who knew Michael Keaton was so layered?

What I still can’t wrap my head around is why all clones still act subserviently to Doug.  It’s like they’re contractually obligated to obey him.  I don’t believe that a clone’s entire personality would be solely comprised of one aspect of the original person’s personality from which they were cloned from.  And if clones are anywhere near as arrogant as real people are, then they wouldn’t view themselves as lesser people…even though they really would be.[1]  Despite these obvious discrepancies, it got me thinking: “What if I had a clone(s) of my own?”.  What would they be like, and how would they react to me?

Assuming that each clone would possess only a fraction of my own personality, it’d be safe to guess that if I had three clones, one would be eternally angry, one would be a starry-eyed idealist, and the other would be a hyper maniac with the attention span of goldfish.  Regardless of which traits of mine the clones inherited, they would all either share my impregnable stubbornness, or my extreme scorn and resentment for authority figures.  Knowing myself, as their progenitor, they would most likely ignore any of my orders, or they would begrudgingly go along with them all the while plotting to one day get their revenge on me.  Even if I wanted to boss them around and make them go to work for me or throw out the garbage for me, all three of them would tell me to fuck off.  Just because they’re clones doesn’t mean that they’ll be obedient automatons.

Multiplicity wasn’t a particularly good movie.  It was a typical 90s movie that tried to simultaneously blend comedy with some semblance of heartfelt sentimentality.  It was a silly movie, and more often than not, it was a ridiculous movie.  It tackled an ethical conundrum in the crudest and most basic way possible while throwing away any modicum of sensibility in exchange for a heavy dose of self-seriousness in the most Chris Columbus way imaginable.  I could just never understand why someone would want to spend time with the three worst versions of themselves.  It’s kinda egotistical; but then again so is deciding to make more of yourself for no reason.


[1] I’m sure this sentence qualifies me as some kind of –ist, describing people who don’t like clones.  Although I have discussed here my disdain and abject apprehension for opening the can of worms on human cloning.

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