Slog - The Stranger's Blog

Line Out

The Music Blog

« A Post-Play Discussion that Ac... | The Global Warming "Debate" »

Thursday, September 28, 2006

Educational and Freaky

Posted by on September 28 at 12:50 PM

The P-I takes a thorough look at the Bodies exhibit in the Life & Arts section today, including a nice photo of our beloved critic Lindy West examining the circulatory system of a human head:
450bodies_2faces.jpgPhoto by Karen Ducey/Seattle Post-Intelligencer

I find it strange that Museum of the Mysteries director Philip Lipson, whose “Museum” peddles ghost tours, doesn’t see the irony in his complaint about the freak-show nature of the exhibit: “It’s not treating [the dead] with dignity and is just making a peep show out of dead bodies.”

Yes, I am slightly obsessed with this show. It opens Saturday; buy tickets at

CommentsRSS icon

I saw Body World in Chicago recently and it was a great exhibit and I learned a lot about the structures of the human body.
Body World will be in Vancouver BC next year. I mention that close location to Seattle because I have read that Seattle's version pales. Of course I can't verify that yet.

I saw Body World also. Brilliant! The Seattle exhibit is a cheap knock off, it's funny how Seattle people get so worked up about crappy touring shows. I see all my theatre in New York. The Seattle versions suck. (But for some reason everyone raves about Theatre here!?!)

who raves about theater where?

I'm surprised no one is talking about how the bodies in this very profitable show are obtained from the Chinese government and could very well be the remains of political prisoners.

Some people are concerned and discussing it, Christian, but I'm not talking about it much because I don't think the troubling possibility outweighs the fucking awesomeness of being able to look inside human bodies. The dead are dead and gone--at least these corpses are going to educational use rather than rotting somewhere. Leave your religion out of my science.

I've now seen BodyWorlds (in L.A.) and Bodies (in Seattle), and both are totally amazing. BodyWorlds is a little more informative and a little more artistic (my god, that horseman of the apocalypse!)--on the whole, a more elegantly educational experience than Bodies. But the opportunity to get some perspective on the human body--as a meaty animal and as a delicate machine--is, I think, incredibly intellectually important.

Also, what's with people skipping the fetus room? I don't see the difference between a dead baby and a dead grown-up. Because grown-ups deserve to be dead?

But more importantly, why am I making that horrible fishyface?

actually, to me, in the photo on this slog post, the woman viewing the exhibit is kind of grossing me out. is it her body? was it photoshopped? is her keen interest ironic? is she about to kiss the head? say baby talk? here coochie-coochie?
i know, i'm obviously disturbed.

I wish you'd stop making fun of my hunchback.

Perhaps it's the unfortunate combination of the conductor's hat, lumberjack over-shirt, hobo bag, and cut-off jeans that is causing the queasiness?

Perhaps it's the unfortunate combination of the conductor's hat, lumberjack over-shirt, hobo bag, and cut-off jeans that is causing the queasiness?

Sorry, Lindy, I didn't mean to expose you to ridicule. I think it's an awesome photo. Our commenters are often nasty just for the sport of it.

"Some people are concerned and discussing [that the bodies on display may be the bodies of Chinese political dissidents], Christian, but I'm not talking about it much because I don't think the troubling possibility outweighs the fucking awesomeness of being able to look inside human bodies."

Jesus Christ!!! I will cross my fingers and hope that your statement above wasn't serious.

Some enterprising lawyer would be the bee's knees if they filed suit to have the remains of these poor people (and that's exactly what they are - the bodies of indigent people) seized and then interred so that they may have some semblance of human dignity restored to them.

Oh, I'll recover.

Amy Kate,

My concern is about human rights and the fact that these people didn't exactly consent to having their remains dealt with in this way nor profited from. It's depressing that the "fucking awesomeness" of it outweighs your concern for human rights. Clearly, the Bush administration should simply put their torture victims on display in a fucking awesome way and then it would be ok, right?

As for your comment: "Leave your religion out of my science." What in my original statement invokes religion? Do you consider human rights to be a religious belief only? Or was this statement based entirely on the fact that my real name is "Christian". The shortened version is "Chris" if that makes it easier for you to understand.

Nicely put Christian. I completely agree with you. Those are the same reasons I'm not going to see Bodies. And YES it is depressing how people see right past it all.

For those of you who dont understand why one wouldnt go see this show just because I think it's revolting that humans can gets their rights taken away so fast, it's quite similar to people refusing to get married until everyone can. That's my metephore.

Sorry, but I don't think human rights apply to corpses. Your rights leave your body when your life does. Of course there are outrageous human-rights abuses occurring in China; but there's been no evidence linking that to these bodies. The consent issue is silly. If you don't arrange for your own burial, cremation, or whatever it is you want done with your remains, and you leave your body in the hands of your community, then you might end up as a tissue donor or educational specimen or as dog food.

You heard it here first: Amy Kate thinks it's okay to use humans as dog food or profitable sideshows as long as you cover up the torture well enough. Just make sure it's fucking awesome.

By the way Amy, what did religion have to do with it?

What torture? WHAT TORTURE HAS BEEN LINKED TO THESE BODIES? NONE. The Bodies bodies died of natural causes. Go to the exhibit and see that for yourself.

It IS okay to use human remains as dog food, fertalizer, whatever... ashes to ashes.

I thought you were posting as A "Christain," rather than "Christian." Sorry for the assumption.

Actually, the treatment of the dead has a lot of impact on the living. The Chinese government can use the sale of bodies as a form of intimidation to the living, since Chinese tradition is that one cannot go on to the afterlife without proper burial.

Secondly, our local hospitals spend a lot of time and enerrgy doing outreach to ethnic and religious communities such as the Hmong in order to encourage them to use Western medicine. This just reinforces every fear anybody could have about American culture: that the poor are entitled to no diginity and no rights; that anything can be bought; that Asians aren't entitled to the same treatmet and respect given Whites.

Thirdly, if you want an answer to "why do they hate us?" in terms of terrorism, you won't have to look any farther than this exhibit or this attitude. "My need for cool and my cash outweighs your rights to respect as a human being."

If you want to look at the awesomeness of the human body, go to the show in Canada. There you'll see non-Asians on display who gve their consent. You can have "awesomeness" without being a dick.

So let me see if I have got this new Stranger math:

Performer who dares to rap about gay-bashing on Capitol Hill = 'Banton must be shutdown.'

Exhibition of bodies from countries with known human rights violations; for rich White people to ooh and ahh over = 'Fucking awesome.'

No wonder the world is becoming more and more of a shithole...

Amy, I think the burden of proof lies with those running the exhibit, not those concerned with human rights. If every body on display had explicit permission from it's original owner, I wouldn't have a problem with it. But they don't and they never will because those running the show buy them from the Chinese government with no questions asked. It is impossible at this point for those concerned to find out if these people on display would have been okay with being used in this fashion. I for one think it's a great idea and would seriously consider donating myself for such a thing, but how we treat the dead does matter. I love the idea of this exhibit, but I just want a more respectful approach.

I'm just wondering if it's JUST amy kate or the entire stranger that's endorsing this exhibit? Can anyone answer that?

Nevermind, I opened up the first page of this weeks stranger and what is there? I huge VERY expensive ad for Bodies. That just answered my question.

Comments Closed

In order to combat spam, we are no longer accepting comments on this post (or any post more than 45 days old).