There are many terrible things about the rising feeling that we’re living in the second act of a disturbing sci-fi movie. The North Pole reached the melting point this week. Major world cities are running out of water. Foreign powers are waging war on America without firing a single shot, yet we seem unable to quell random acts of spectacular violence within our own borders.
But once in a while something happens to make me feel very glad to be disastrously reaching my personal and professional zenith in a futuristic apocalypse, and Variety this week offered a particularly prime example.
You may remember Sammie, or, as she is more formally known, Miss Samantha Streisand, Barbra Streisand’s beloved Coton du Tulear dog who was prominently featured in the singer’s (is “singer” a good enough adjective to describe Barbra Streisand? What else? Icon? Legend? Judge—in the biblical, Deborah sort of sense) recent Netflix concert special (which I remember because it was the first thing I ever allowed my infant son to watch on television, so that it would properly imprint itself on his brain,) including in lengthy “In Memoriam” segment at the end of the film, which showed Sammie scampering happily and scarfing organic chicken from silver bowls in luxury hotel rooms all over the world before heartbreakingly informing us of her death last year at the age of 14?
Well, while Sammie’s memory may be a blessing, it’s also the kind of memory that still scampers around the Rose Garden and pees on the carefully chosen Aubusson rug in the monochromatic Great Room. That’s right. Barbra Streisand has cloned her dog. Twice. Sammie has now been reborn in the persons (dog-sons?) of Miss Scarlet and Miss Violet, who are always dressed in red and lavender so that their mistress can tell them apart. (But, I hope, a sort of a dusty, worn-out, velvety shade of red as seen periodically through the color scheme of Yentl, because Barbra doesn’t like colors that are too bright. Miss Violet, on the other hand, will feel perfectly at home in the Lavender Bedroom in the guest cottage—known as Grandma’s House—where Streisand records.)
There’s a part of me that wonders if the fact that animal cloning now apparently a service that can be performed in the better pet stores of Malibu is something that we should worry about, but you know what? There’s already so many things in the world that are threatening. Why not just enjoy that someone like Barbra—whose life, career, and persona have been so shaped by the early death of her father, Emmanuel Streisand, when she was only a year old—has the money to insulate herself from the experience of loss? There are only so many antiques and Stickley furniture and expansive cardiology wings (the Barbra Streisand Women’s Heart Center at Cedars-Sinai is where I have already planned to die) in the world to buy. Why not use all that dough to make sure you never have to be sad again?
So I hope Streisand lives out her days with a Sammie clone never out of her lap or off her tour jet. It’s when we start thinking about cloning Barbra herself that I might start to get a little worried—after all, she’s one of a kind.