Informant (L) is a neuroscience major at USC double-majoring in art history.
L: This is a folk tale that’s very important to me, um, that I am convinced of is a fact. So, let me set the scene. I used to volunteer at a neuroscience research laboratory that was in one of the two newest buildings at the USC Health Science Campus. Um, and those two buildings are: the Zilka Neurogenic Institute and the Eli and Edythe Broad Center for Regenerative Medicine. Now, Eli Broad, for the unfamiliar, large, like real estate insurance magnate in California, billionaire billionaire, who just passed away in like, April of last year, I think. And so, is there like any more stereotypical, like on his deathbed, billionaire thing, to like write a giant grant for, then for like a fucking STEM cell research, like make-me-live-forever research institute, right? So I’m convinced that when like Broad wrote that grant, there were strings attached. It was not just to build the building. Like there is definitely a couple of USC doctors that are taking care of the body. And here’s the scene: If you go to Grand Ave., to downtown LA, which is like, Broad’s whole mission, was to like make that area upscale, which it is now, you can go to the Broad Museum, which is where his whole collection is. And part of the appeal of it is that you take this miniscule elevator that goes up from the ground floor to the top floor, and you can see through this little window, the large middle one, the large middle floor, which is where they keep all the art that’s in storage, under temperature and humidity control. Now how convenient to have all that temperature and humidity control technology laying around with a reason for it to be there? Is it possible that maybe hidden between all the sculptures, there’s a little case with the cryogenically-frozen head of Eli Broad? Is it possible that this museum is actually a pyramid to this dead man where they keep his corpse and there’s a little live-feed at the end? A video camera or two, sensors, and you got people in the regenerative center that are monitoring that feed and doing their research and just waiting for the day where they can bring the man back?
I: So like the Walt Disney thing?
Informant was discussing a tale that he claims is true and intends to spread it to as many people as he can.
Fascinations with the mystery surrounding the elite upper echelons of society have been deeply embedded into our culture thanks to media and entertainment news. My informant tells a story about Eli Broad and his supposedly cryogenically-frozen state (which I relate back to Walt Disney). This conspiracy theory is somewhat similar to a memorate, taking observed experiences (the Regenerative Medicine Center, the Broad Museum, and the fact that Broad was extremely rich) and relating it to a traditional narrative belief system (cryogenic state and moderation of Broad). While this tale may be utterly false, my informant’s delivery of the story is particularly interesting—it first uses personal relation to the topic as ethos, then pieces together information in such a way to prove his point, then ends on rhetorical questions to his audience. Such a performance moves the audience emotionally to potentially believe in this theory. In general, the concept of living forever is also a point of fascination to humans, with objects like the Philosopher’s Stone supposedly being able to bring about eternal life. Such a fantastical element is also a compelling point of the narrative.
Eli Broad and Living Forever