Author Archives: xavier

Cadavers: Something of Value and Meaning for Some

There is much controversy about how the bodies of the dead should be treated. In the past, during times of great plagues, those who suffered and died from the plagued had their dead bodies piled on one another in the streets. Some people had the lucky job of picking up the dead bodies and dragging them out of the cities in order to “clean” the streets. Nowadays, that would be considered cruel and disrespectful. We have established laws that regulate what we can and cannot do to a dead body, such as dissection, burying one in a residential place, and having sexual intercourse with one. However, most of the laws that are set in place are done so in order to protect emotions of the remaining family member’s or make them feel better based on what they think a dead body actually represents or contains. Growing up in a society that practices such laws made it difficult for me to understand how other cultures could have opposing views of the dead body and treat them as mere objects.

For example, the Chinese sold the plastinated bodies to the United States to be put on display in museums of New York City and Atlanta in “Bodies…The Exhibition” to be viewed by paying customers. These bodies were taken from chinese prisons without the prior consent of the deceased or their family members. The skin on their bodies were peeled back, and the bodies were arranged in comical “poses.

What? Is there no wrong doing done here because the benefits (income) that can be made by such an exhibit is so significant? Or is there no attachment because these people are not Americans, and since we do not have any cultural or familial commonalities with these people, should our laws not apply to bodies brought into the country? Is this not cruel and brutal and inhumane? This is outrageous and disgusting.

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