22 Oct 2009
October 22, 2009

A View of a Womb

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The BBC is running today with an interesting story about Womb transplants. Apparently, UK scientists have successfully transplanted the wombs of rabbits and think they’ve cracked how to do it for women. But wait, an expert from the British Fertility Society is being reported as noting that; ‘rabbits are different from women’.  It’s always important to have learned input like that.  I can think of some things which women (and indeed men) have in common with rabbits (two eyes, one heart, one brain, for example) but I’m prepared to accept the advice of the expert that in the round rabbits are indeed different from women, and that certainly helps me make more sense of the story.

Last week, I debated on Radio 4 with a Brigadier who pointed out that the allies aren’t ‘trying to create Berkshire in the Hindu Kush’.  As with the rabbit man, I found this helpful.  Indeed, the Chief of the General Staff has noted that, variation on a theme this, ‘we’re not trying to turn Afghanistan into Switzerland’.  Again, the fact that we’re not going to be forcing Afghans to wear lederhosen and stash large amounts of Nazi gold is surely comforting to us all as it represents just the sort of pragmatic move which is going to help us resolve our present difficulties around the whys and wherefores of Afghan culture.  So thanks, lads.

Yet, and I’m not sure if this is healthy scepticism or unhealthy cynicism, it might be that when ‘experts’ treat the public like they’re daft and sally forth with patronising simplifications they invariably have the opposite effect from the one they intended.  Were the rabbit man, the Brigadier and the General really going for a full-on comedic effect (think of the images they conjure up)?  Well, whether they were or not, they certainly succeeded.