Sunday, July 22, 2007

Body World

My husband and I went to Body World this week-end at OMSI.

I had put it off, the way I put of watching a 'heavy' video until I'm in the right mood. Sometimes I end up sending them back to netflix because I've had the damn thing for three weeks and life hasn't reached the right philosophical balance and never will.

But here I was at Body World, not feeling especially good anyway. My stomach had been rebelling against some aspect of my recent life. It didn't feel any better at Body World where I could look at an actual stomach, either alone, or in the company of its fellow organs.

My husband was in heaven. Scary stuff revealed! Here is a man who loves science fiction, science, horror movies.

I suffered. The big questions were coming at me. Is this ethical? Would this be ethical if they didn't display the bodies doing skateboard tricks? Are we just meat? How big a wuss am I? (that last question was easy to answer -- a pretty big wuss)

But never mind the big questions how about the big exclamations. He is holding his own skin! The circulation system! That's where the heart is! Liver! Spleen! Oh my god look at the size of those male sex organs. Her butt is in the air showing everything! You name it, I had no idea where it was.

I really wonder what everyone else trooping through the exhibit was thinking. My mind was following two tracks. On the first track I was horrified at the whole jolly show. Everything was merrily transgressive. Here you have a dead person and they are chopped up in artful ways and doing some sporting maneuver. The showmanship, which is integral to the whole show was the opposite of respectful. I guess I think a little dullness is in order when dealing with the human body.

I had to admit though, and this is track two, that it was amazing. Could it be that the people who donated really don't care that their bodies are used in this way -- might even think its a good thing? The crowd wasn't solemn but they were respectful. Lots of parents were there with well behaved children. The children didn't look traumatized like I did.

My one take away that I wasn't expecting was an empathy for social conservatives. They are always going crazy about a movie, a fashion. They think its terrible; it doesn't show respect. The rest of society goes, 'huh! What's the big deal! if you don't like it don't wear it or see it." I'm usually the no big deal person. Now I know how it feels.

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