ABC reporter Nick Watt on Monday imagined the world as a better place without men, who he jokingly dismissed as war-hungry criminals only good for making pop music. The segment, which aired on "Nightline," featured the views of an Oxford professor, Bryan Sykes, who believes that the Y chromosome will disappear in about 125,000 years.
Apparently not seeing a downside, Watt mused, "But would the absence of men make the world a better place? There would be far fewer wars without men on the planet. The U.S. prison population would drop a colossal 97 percent. Road deaths in the U.S. would fall 70 percent." The ABC journalist flippantly discussed the subject in a way that would never be done if the professor had longed for a world without woman. At one point, Mr. Sykes derided, "To be frank, we're not really all that necessary." Watt helpfully added, "Our only hope, that women decide to keep us alive for their own amusement. For the pop music, perhaps." Can anyone imagine a mainstream journalist joking about keeping women around for the entertainment of men?
Towards the end of the segment, to demonstrate just how irrelevant men are, Watt visited with a lesbian couple living in London and raising a child. After noting how successful the two women have been, the correspondent proclaimed, "So, two moms aren't better. But just as good." Watt's blithe comment certainly kept with the tone of the rest of the piece. After ignoring the fact that many of the world's greatest scientists, inventors and leaders have been male, he dismissed the contribution fathers make in raising children.
While Watt couldn't take this subject seriously, he has been combative in the past. On March 29, 2008, he attacked a Dutch filmmaker as "racist" for producing a film that declared Western culture superior to that of radical Islam.
A partial transcript of the segment, which aired at 11:35pm on April 28, follows:
CYNTHIA MCFADDEN: We begin tonight with a warning to all the men out there - you may not be necessary. As tempting as it might be to think this is just a bad joke, it's not. Though it is something women have been known to say from time to time in moments of anger or frustration, well, now, it might be proven by science. According to a new theory by a distinguished professor, even though women probably wouldn't mind if men did stick around, there may not be anything we can do about it. Nick Watt reports.
NICK WATT: A world without men. Bored barmaids with little beer to serve. Unwashed cars. Empty bleachers. Map reading - a lost art. And, well, you get the picture. But this isn't just an unlikely sci-fi scenario. Ever seen "Cat Women of the Moon?"
[Clip from "Cat Women of the Moon"]
WATT [Pictures of male and female stars appear onscreen]: Bacall, but no Bogey. Hillary but no Bill. Posh, but no Becks. No Starsky or Hutch. This could be reality, according to an imminent professor of genetics at Oxford University.
PROFESSOR BRYAN SYKES (OXFORD UNIVERSITY): The Y chromosome is deteriorating and will, in my belief, disappear.
WATT: The Y chromosome. That symbol of masculinity, embodied by Austin Powers.
[Clip from "Austin Powers"]
WATT: The Y is passed father to son, it makes babies into boys, but it's fatally flawed. Unlike other chromosomes it can't repair itself and will completely disappear in about 125,000 years. But, we have a more immediate problem. Sperm counts have fallen by an incredible 20 percent in the past 50 years.
SYKES: To seem to be saying that men will become extinct, which is what I'm saying, I suppose. And I've had all kinds of unpleasant messages from male groups saying how can you possibility - how can you betray your gender?
WATT: But would the absence of men make the world a better place? There would be far fewer wars without men on the planet. The U.S. prison population would drop a colossal 97 percent. Road deaths in the U.S. would fall 70 percent. But surely, flawed Y chromosome or not, bad behavior or not, we are needed for procreation. I mean, women can't have babies without us. I'm afraid pretty soon they won't need our sperm, our chromosomes, our anything. The female ability to survive without men is only 10 or 20 years away.
WATT: That's the picture that Professor Sykes is painting. Nuclear families without a man in sight. [Sitting in van with camera crew.] We've come here to South London to see what, if the scientists are right, will be the future of humankind. Come on, guys. That's Azlan, the producer, we've got Bezard on sound and behind the camera, Andy. Yes, we are four men. I'm a bit scared. [Walks up to house.] Hi.
LAURA: Hi, there.
WATT: I'm Nick.
NATALIE How are you?
WATT: Nice to meet you. Hi. Hi. And this? [Motions to baby]
LAURA: This is Sanne.
WATT: Hello. How are you? Natalie actually gave birth to Sanne. She's raised by two moms.
NATALIE: The child would be well balanced with just two moms. That's been proven somewhere back in the '40's. You do not need specifically a mother. It's the care giving and the relationship between the care giver and the infant that is the important part.
LAURA: I think as long as they're getting the attention, affection, you know, the discipline, everything that they need to find their way, and to feel good and confident. She's obviously confident. She's happy. She's very stable and secure and all that is so important. So I think so far we're doing okay.
WATT: Were some of the mothers jealous that you actually had like--
NATALIE: I had actually a couple moms saying, well, she won't understand better. And actually, I thought, not really.
WATT: Why not?
NATALIE: She just didn't. I think it's exactly the same as any of the dads.
WATT: So, two moms aren't better. But just as good. But surely they need a big burly man for something? I mean, is there anything I can do while I'm here? You know, put up some shelves, change light bulbs or--
LAURA: My father is a mechanic. So there's nothing about a car that disturbs me. I've also, in the states I renovated a house. So we're certainly not concerned about that either.
WATT: Feeling emasculated, I went for a walk with the professor, but he was no comfort.
SYKES: To be frank, we're not really all that necessary.
WATT: Our only hope, that women decide to keep us alive for their own amusement. For the pop music, perhaps. Or maybe the storytelling. We're good at that. I'm Nick Watt for "Nightline" in London.