Saturday, November 24, 2012


The Sun ZebraA guest post from Rolando Garcia author of The Sun Zebra (4.7 stars, 51 reviews).

Marie Shelley probably did not know what she would get started 195 years ago when she published her novel “Frankenstein; or, The Modern Prometheus.” Her tale of a man playing God and the nasty consequences captured the imagination of the public, and her work became a literary success that would later move into the realms of theater and then film and television almost as soon as these were invented. It was in the 1931 film, where the master of horror Boris Karloff played the monster, that the current view of what the monster looks like was cemented in the popular culture. Since then the vast majority of visual references to Frankenstein have those emblematic electrode bolts sticking out of the sides of his neck.

There are two interrelated aspects to the cultural impact of this book that I find very interesting. One is that the name Frankenstein became synonymous with “monster,” although in the book the monster does not have this name or any name for that matter. Frankenstein is the name of its creator Victor Frankenstein. The second aspect is that the word “Frankenstein” has also come to mean a creation (work or entity) that breaks free from the control of its creator and acquires a life of its own sometimes bringing hardship or ruin upon the creator. In modern society there are many instances where both of these aspects of the Frankenstein ethos, either real or suggested, are bestowed upon the creation by preceding its name with the prefix “Franken.”
When my daughter was in middle school she brought home a project from her ceramics class. It was a strange dark green shape with two knobs sticking out at right angles and what appeared to be stiches on its surface. I asked her what it was and she replied, “It’s a Frankenapple.”

Environmentalist and consumer advocacy groups often refer to genetically modified foods as “Frankenfoods” and to genetically modified crops as “Frankencrops.” Related to this, a rumor got started back in 2000 that involved the Kentucky Fried Chicken chain of restaurants. When the franchise began calling itself “KFC” to reflect that it offered a wider variety of food choices, the rumor originated that they did this because they were not serving chicken anymore in their restaurants but a genetically modified organism that they could not legally call “chicken.”

So what were they rumored to be serving? Frankenchicken.

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