First, though, I have to set this up.
An exhibit just closed at The Franklin Institute (staying in Philly for this) called “Body Worlds” by Dr. Gunther von Hagens, which shows the human body in various stages of activity. The point of the exhibit is to show how complex the workings of the human body really are through all of its internal organs and other elements in ways that we never see.
This exhibit has drawn controversy because von Hagens’ models are plasticized cadavers. However, as he has pointed out in the past, he received all legal signoffs from the people displayed and their family members before using their bodies this way. I did not see the exhibit, though I would like to at some point. However, some family members did, and after getting over an unsettled feeling for a minute or two when first viewing the display, they ended up enjoying it very much.
Before the exhibit closed, the Institute staged what was, in effect, a “Body Worlds” 66-hour marathon last weekend, and Inquirer reporter Melissa Dribben wrote an article about it (Dribben used to be a columnist and then became a feature writer, though I personally had no problem with her in the former role).
In case you can’t read what Dribben wrote because of registration, I want to highlight this paragraph:
As 2 a.m. came and went, it became obvious that it was past bedtime for some visitors. The elderly, walking with canes or lowering themselves into chairs, talked about enlarged hearts, metastases and swollen prostates with personal insight. Parents struggled with cranky toddlers and bugeyed infants sucking on pacifiers.What the hell is a child, especially a toddler, doing up at 2 A.M? What kind of numbskull parent would drag a bleary-eyed, cranky kid out of bed to see this or anything else for that matter?
This, to me, is craven self-indulgence. As a parent, I’ve had to forego a bunch of things that I wish I hadn’t (like a clutter-free house and a clean living room rug, for example). There are a bunch of movies I hope to catch up on at some point that actually DON’T involve talking animals, cartoon characters on amphetamines or other Disney machinations. That’s THE PRICE OF DOING BUSINESS!
Well, then, I guess I now understand why such individuals would want to see an exhibit of the human body in a calcified, plasticized state. I would guess that their brains are in approximately the same condition.