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Wednesday, May 10, 2006

Katherine Kersten's Korner

Holy crap. Today's kolumn comes completely out of left field. She talks about the Body Worlds exhibit at the Science Museum, but says that it Disney-fies death, whereas real death "devastates us, bringing anguish and loss or unbearable pain." Huh?

Wingnuttia Level: ??? (I don't even know how to classify this one)

The only explanation that I can come up with as to why Kersten has such a view on death is that recently she has experienced a death that devastated her, brought her anguish and pain. Of course, many deaths are like that, and these feelings are completely normal. But not all deaths are like that; some deaths, like those that come at the end of a long terminal illness, may be about finally being freed from pain. And to connect her feelings about death to the Body World exhibit makes no sense at all.

I think the exhibit is very cool and I definitely plan on going. It is not disrespectful to exhibit people in this way; in fact, by educating the masses about how anatomy really works, it is very respectful. Moreover, her concerns that "How would our view of Body Worlds change if we knew that one of these "whole body specimens" -- intestines spilling out, muscles splayed and flying --was John, the friendly guy next door, who died four years ago with his family weeping at his bedside?" are completely ridiculous. People in the exhibit actively chose to donate their bodies, so if John thought that he would make a more lasting impression on this Earth after his death by being in this exhibit instead of decomposing underground, more power to him. I can definitely respect that.

Body Worlds doesn't treat people like stuffed goats. It treats people exactly how they want to be treated. Nothing wrong with that at all.

To say that plastinization gives people eternal life, as Kersten seems to believe, is also ridiculous. It may make better use out of corpses than worm food, but it doesn't give anybody eternal life. The bodies are all anonymous; even if we knew that neighbor John donated his body to Body Works, there is no way to tell which is his. How is that for eternal life?

Like I said, maybe Kersten has struggled recently with a very difficult death. Just about any feelings that arise from such an experience are okay. Personally, I don't fear death, and I have experienced it firsthand, from grandparents dying to the death of somebody who was far too young. While death may be unpleasant sometimes, it is simply a part of life. We must always realize that. Ignoring it, keeping it away from our senses, or not thinking about it are hardly healthy ways of living.


At 9:54 PM, May 10, 2006, Anonymous MN PiG said...

It's a good thing we have Minnesota Democrats Exposed to read because this blog is really lame. What is really funny is you believe it too since you actually post more there than you do here. Even you moron friends hate this blog. Too bad for you to be all alone.

At 9:46 AM, May 11, 2006, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I'm not typically squeamish about things, and I'm not going to rail against the exhibit, given that the donors made their choice. On the other hand, it DOES seem a bit... ghoulish. My sibling is interested in attending the exhibit, though, so I might wind up tagging along.


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