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Godsend, or Cruel Joke?

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Kiersten Marek, editor, Kmareka.com In the category of news you can live without, but that I can’t help passing on, this is a spoof website for an organization calling itself The Godsend Institute: http://Godsendinstitute.org. It’s actually just a promo job for a movie coming out April 30, 2004 starring Robert Deniro, but if you go to the website without any knowledge of this (like I did) you start feeling like you’re in an episode of The Twilight Zone. A Cloning institute in Cohasset Massachusetts? Now suddenly cloning is okay, and not only that, it’s available in Cohasset, Massachusetts?

Who knows how long The Godsend Institute will remain online before someone starts screaming about medical ethics violations. The URL is reportedly owned by Lion’s Gate Films, the producers of the movie.

I came across The Godsend Institute while checking my google ad links on the story I did on nanotechnology in January. (I don’t get paid for clicking on my own google ads, by the way, it’s part of quality control to screen out some). They even list a phone number, which I might call to ask a few questions, like how to do you think this joke makes real childless couples feel, if they come across The Godsend Institute and are momentarily filled with hope that technology is going to help them in some new way.

While the Godsend Institute’s website is professional and full of happy pictures of anonymous people, there were several tell-tale signs of hokeyness, the first being the picture of Dr. Wells standing in the snow, which looked too much like a movie still, and, indeed, it is. For those of you inclined toward playing sadistic jokes, you can tell people about The Godsend Institute like it’s a real thing. I’m more for letting people in on it, and hoping the movie is worth all the buzz they are trying to generate. You can see photos from the movie Godsend here and a trailer here.

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  • Eric Olsen

    Crazy, could well backfire. Thanks Kiersten!

  • Eric, Yes, it does seem a little crazy to me that an actor like Robert DeNiro would allow his image to be used in such an elaborate hoax. I guess it all goes under the category of “no such thing as bad publicity.” Nevertheless, I’m surprised that real fertility specialists are not outraged.