Gemini Man: DNA Misuse

“The concept of a man getting chased by himself, that’s a really compelling idea for a story…Thanks to the technology, now it’s possible.”

Ang Lee (Director)

The film should have remained a concept. Gemini Man falls short in delivering a compelling story and relies entirely on Will Smith to carry what little story was there to begin with.

I will admit that I did not have high hopes coming into Gemini Man. I entered the movie theater expecting a fun action film and was in part satisfied to this effect. If you have seen the trailer for the film, you basically know the entirety of the plot from beginning to end. Will Smith plays Henry Brogan, a government hitman who has decided to retire at age 51 after amassing a whopping 72 kills and coming to the conclusion that he is not as sharp as he once was.

Beyond citing the lack of finesse he exercised in the 72nd hit, Smith, I mean Brogan mentions that the ghosts are starting to catch up with him. Smith’s retirement is cut short basically immediately; he doesn’t even get to enjoy a full day before he is betrayed by the government agency. The agency sends a clone to kill Smith and to effectually replace him.

Can’t a man get some peace and quiet?

It is worth noting that this initial chase sequence between the older Smith and computer-generated younger Smith is the highlight of the entire movie. Really, it does not get better than this and it comes fairly early on in the film.

Taken from GameSpot Universe Trailer’s Youtube

The DNA used to produce the Smith’s clone was notably taken without his consent. The agency’s goal in doing so was to produce soldiers without consciences but with Smith’s innate killing ability and skill. Arguably, this is not a very original idea, as evidenced by Star Wars: Episode II- Attack of the Clones and Looper, but I guess it is at least sufficient to drive the plot forward. It also serves to make one distrust institutions of power and get one thinking about how our DNA is used in actuality.

Taken from GameSpot Universe Trailer’s Youtube

Government DNA Databases

No, this is no conspiracy theory and I do not have an aluminum foil hat perched on my dome. The FBI has a database containing the DNA of people who have been:

“convicted of, arrested for, or facing charges of certain qualifying federal crimes or convicted of qualifying District of Columbia offenses, as well as non-U.S. citizens who are detained under the authority of the United States”

This database is used to cross-reference unknown DNA samples at crime scenes against those within the database in the hope of finding the perpetrators of crimes. This technique is good in theory because the victims of crime are able to rest easy knowing the true perpetrators in crimes suffered.

A majority of people have nothing to fear if their records are clean but those who aim to find out about their family records are also subject to their DNA being archived. Users who send their DNA to testing services such as 23andMe, Ancestry,Heritage are archived by the government in order to ensure quality in testing. Keep this in mind if you are at all interested in using a DNA testing service, or receive a kit as a gift; make sure to read all the privacy information. The fact that the archival process is not made clear to people from the very start is malicious.

DNA Archival Hits Home

The Justice Department is also proposing to maliciously archive the DNA of all immigrants crossing into the United States. The proposal is said to be done with the intent to crack down on crime, but in doing so, the legislation associates immigrants with criminals. This begs the question, how far is too far in aiming to “protect” the country?

Written by: Nils Ljungquist

Behind the Mic: The Flow w/ De Leon

Mikel De Leon

In this segment of Behind the Mic, we examine the wild life of thrill-seeker / adventurer / local lunatic, Mikel De Leon!

A gift (or curse, depending on how you look at it) has been bestowed upon Mikel De Leon: the need to always be doing something that increases his heart rate. It drove him to pick up soccer when he was 4 years old. Then surfing. Then, in November of last year, he bought a motorcycle.

Two months later, his body was lying in the middle of the freeway after being struck by a car.

“All I could think of was ‘Get up, get back on your bike, go home. Tell your dad you’re sorry. Everything’s ok,’ ” De Leon said about the incident that sent him to the hospital. He couldn’t get up, though. He didn’t have the physical strength to collect himself despite not feeling any pain, because his body had already gone into shock. Miraculously, to his (and his doctor’s) disbelief, he didn’t break any bones or even damage his brain. He did, however, injure his ankles, knees, shoulders, left wrist and lower back. Now, he’s grateful to be recovering at a relatively quick pace, but in all honestly, he just wants to surf again.

“I’m just like ‘Come on, I want to get back in the water. Let’s go!’”

Mikel De Leon

Mikel (MEE-kehl) De Leon is the host of “The Flow with De Leon,” which airs Thursdays at 8 a.m.

Although De Leon won’t be getting back on a motorcycle any time soon (or hopefully ever considering he’d like to be alive as long as possible and healthy enough to one day teach his future children how to surf), he’s still finding ways to scratch his adrenaline-seeking itch. At first, soccer scratched it for a while, but he began to lose interest in it after over a decade of playing. He wanted to replace it with something equally athletic to keep the weight off. The activity would also need to be peaceful and leave him in a serene mental state.

Mikel De Leon being the coolest cat around.
Photo by Monica Vigil. Coolness by Mikel De Leon

Surfing fit the bill.

“Surfing was just like, dude, everyone loves a surfer. Of course I’m going to get into it. It turns out, it’s not like that. But it’s ok. As long as I’m out there with my friends surfing, that’s all I care about. As long as I catch at least three good waves per day, I’m good.”

Mikel De Leon

Since the accident, De Leon hasn’t been able to surf and as a result, he’s been growing impatient to return to the ocean. He currently lives in Imperial Beach, a sandy, laid-back beach city in southern San Diego, just a hop and a skip away from the sea. Beforehand, De Leon would wake up every morning and make his way to the water with a surfboard in hand to catch a few waves before school or work.

“Sometimes I wouldn’t even shower because the waves were that good. I’d go straight to work and they’d know. They’d be like ‘Dude, there’s sand in your ear.’”

Mikel De Leon

His life appears to come in seasons, packaged up in different themes depending on the chapter. Sometimes he’s a chill surfer, a passionate soccer player, or even a temporary motorcyclist.

Long, soft hair totally by Mikel De Leon and genetics.
Photos by Monica Vigil. Long, soft hair totally by Mikel De Leon and genetics.

And now? He’s a radio host.

His brother attended Georgetown University and had a late night radio show at his college station. De Leon remembers listening to it and deciding he wanted to do that one day. One day after he transferred to San Diego State University from Southwestern College, he saw a sign promoting KCR and the rest has been a joyful, musical ride. His show heavily features groovy indie sounds like Homeshakeand Yellow Days, peppered in with bedroom pop. Want to tune in and listen to a combination of Beach Goons, Temporex, Minor Gems and Oak Palace? Do it! He’s plays them all.

What’s unique about “The Flow with De Leon” is that many episodes are themed (kind of like his life). One episode was full of music he would play if he owned a low-rider, featuring oldies, cholo goth, cumbia and the iconic Selena Quintanilla. He’s also had some dirty rock and reggae days, amongst many others.

An avid consumer of music, De Leon has even begun singing and creating his own tunes.

“I started off doing stupid, little, fun projects where I wasn’t taking it seriously,” he said. His friends, however, told him that he was good. He began to experiment with genres and searched for his sound in pursuit of turning the fun hobby into something more serious. Influenced heavily by Tame Impala, he plans on releasing an EP sometime in the summer. De Leon is implementing a deadline on himself or else he’ll “never release it.” He watched a short documentary about the singer of Tame Impala, Kevin Parker, and how he also had to give himself deadlines or else he would never publish his music, always trying to perfect it. It inspired De Leon to try the same approach.

“I need to set a date because if not, this is going to be a never ending cycle.”

Mikel De Leon

Be sure to listen to his shows and start your Thursday mornings right. You never know what theme you’ll stumble upon. Also, come summertime, remind him that he’s got an EP to release.

His favorite modern band?

Tame Impala (duh.)

Feel free to follow Mikel De Leon on Instagram. You can listen to his Spotify playlists here and here.

Written by: Monica Vigil