“Everywhere I go I find a poet has been there before me.”
There are many artists who seem to have been way ahead of their times and invented things, living and nonliving, that somehow eventually find their way into the world. Think of Da Vinci’s sketches of what later became an airplane or the submersible ship in 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea. Or how about science fiction’s amazing leaps into the future?
I was reminded of all this when I read a New York Times article no less! about the mockingjay, a fictional bird created by the author of the astonishingly popular trilogy, The Hunger Games. The mockingjay is a cross between a mockingbird and something called a jabberjay, which is a genetically engineered bird that spies on people. In the trilogy, the mockingjay is the failed attempt of a repressive government to exercise control over the people it rules.
Here’s what happened: The jabberjay was supposed to operate as a recording device that would listen in on people’s conversations and then replay them for their masters. But instead, they bred with mockingbirds and produced a thriving hybrid that is a living symbol of defiance. This highly creative fictional concept is actually rooted in reality: Jays are highly intelligent birds that are natural thieves and spies. And mockingbirds, as their name suggests, have a unique ability to mimic the songs of other birds.
This artistic hybrid isn’t so all that bizarre. Technology to copy pieces of DNA can easily be purchased on eBay and biotech tools could lead to what one think-tank expert described as “an explosion of diversity of new living creatures.” So at some point in time, the mockingjay of The Hunger Games might become a reality. Life imitating art once again: Fascinating, isn’t it?