Also at the HMNS, the reason I did not renew my membership: the corpse show, Body Worlds 2. I wasn’t about to pay $25 to see it, but I took a peek in at the entrance, and then went to the gift shop and browsed the exhibition book. It is hideous. Some say, “You can’t critique it if you haven’t seen it.” Oh, but I have seen it. These gruesome bodies are displayed on billboards all around town, and in TV commercials and movies (one of the “Body Worlds” exhibitions was the setting for a chase scene in the James Bond movie, “Casino Royale”).
The defenders say it is “educational.” Parts of it may be–but that’s like saying you read “Playboy” for the articles. The exhibit is lurid. It is macabre. It is gruesome. It is obscene. There is no legitimate educational reason to pose dead bodies playing cards, or to carve one up like a bureau and call him, “Drawer,” or to display “Skin Man” holding up his peeled skin as he were taking off a coat on a warm afternoon. It’s voyeuristic, macabre “entertainment”–and I think the use of the display in that James Bond movie underscores that fact. The scene has no educational value; it is all about vulgar display, and is an indictment of everyone involved.
Good Lord, deliver us.