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Op-Ed Last Updated: Oct 18th, 2006 - 15:25:52


Bodies: flesh, blood, dignity
By Claire Robinson
Oct 18, 2006, 15:23

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In an exhibit where bodies have been unethically imported from China, the fascination behind the cases far outweighs the thought of any social injustices. Bodies…the Exhibition debuted in Tampa, Florida in the summer of 2005.
The Dalian Medical University in China showed no remorse when questioned about the possibility of executed political prisoners used in the exhibit. Are we endorsing the lack of human rights in China? Or is it okay to use these bodies for education?
Is it okay that I have a yearning to smell their dead flesh, to know the history behind their eyes, to study their blackened lungs and sinuous arms? I paid thirty dollars to be bombarded by an intense anatomy lecture far superior to any text book, but at what ethical expense?
The dim lighting brings life to bodies that look like perfectly crafted putty, but are in fact, real humans. Over twenty bodies and two hundred specimens create an experience that is, as one witness says, "Weirder than you can ever imagine." But, beyond weird is this sense that I’m being watched, that their eyes are sizing me up, watching me watch them. I’m shivering in my skin while staring at what’s left of theirs.
Rounding the corner, there’s an opportunity to donate your body to science. It makes it seem as if the person standing next to you would willingly be cut into thirds. Perhaps this is an attempt to discourage people from concerning themselves with the origin of the bodies.
There’s an exit sign if you want to avoid the room where dead fetuses are posed at all different stages of the birth cycle. These babies had no choice in being here, and my fascination gives way to guilt.
All in all, the exhibit is far better than any haunted house you can attend this season. It is a must-see presentation of the intricacies of a body.
Bodies…the Exhibition will be on display through December 31st at 800 Pike.

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