Museums Bid for Bodies Term Paper

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Speech: Museum's Bid For Bodies

Good evening ladies -- and yes, good evening gentleman as well.

Well, where should we begin? Ahhhh yes -- Are any of you aware of what a cadaver parade is? Have any of you ever actually heard of a cadaver parade?

Let me read to you a recent headline that I discovered: "Anatomy of competition: 2 museums bid for bodies -- what is a bid -- it is an offer or a proposal of a price."

What do you think about that? (Pause) My initial thoughts after reading those words were: "This is unbelievable, no, it is downright shocking, shameful, and certainly very offensive.

When was the last time a price was hung on us human beings? You probably already know, that's right -- During the days of Slavery. (Pause) Am I right?

I believe that the practice attaching a price to the human body is a mockery at best? Consider what this implies -- are we supposed to assess a body's net value via an underground cadaver market?

Since there is an obvious biding and competition process for cadavers, I raise the question, who justifies the appropriate closing price for a dead person?

Consider why slavery is unacceptable as a business practice in our society. The reason is simple slavery is immoral and it devalues human life and I believe that there should not be a commercial dollar value associated to a human life. (Pause)

Slavery is more than illegitimate, unethical and immoral. Slavery is a crime against the social order and mankind as a whole. As a business practice, I feel it is simply an evil act

Therefore, if slavery and the pricing of the human body is a ghastly wrong -- would you not concur that this exhibit is no different than the principals of slavery? (Pause)

It is not acceptable to commercialize a cadaver, death or humanity

There are too many alternatives available such as animals or plastic models

I would like to read this article to you:

This is from the third sentence or fifth sentence:

'Tricia Horvath, executive director of Healthspace, spent a year and a half laying the groundwork to bring the controversial exhibit of human bodies to Cleveland -- working with religious leaders, bioethics experts at medical schools and others to color the exhibit educational instead of freakish

On the second page

Hovarth said she lobbied Body World's staff by phone and email, telling how she was working with leading rabbis and catholic bishop, Anthony Pilla, to pave the way for ethical and educational programs to prepare the community for the exhibit

Wow, how telling was that?

If this exhibit is truly an educational endeavor, than why would it need to 'color it?' If it was truly for the sole purpose of education, why should she worry about 'painting it' and 'paving it.'

An educational exhibit simply does not need to be 'Painted!' because the educational value should already be apparent.

This morbid and freakish event should have us all raising questions about the ethical nature of the event. This boisterous sales pitch lauding the educational value of this exhibit is an almost criminal attempt to subvert questions of decorum.

I do not believe that this is art and I certainly do not feel that this is instructive therefore there must be some middle ground?

I am fully aware that there is a fine line between genius and crazy -- Where does art begin? Where does lunacy begin? And, maybe more important to our social order, where does criminality and evil begin? What is next, a new market for Cannibalism?

I would like for you all to gaze at these pictures that have been relegated as works of art.

Can you agree that this is fine art? Or, do you see an exhibit that basically is degrading a past human life? By renaming the body as a cadaver does not justify desecrating the remains

Nameless -- skinless -- The exhibit promotes this abuse through dissection. These bodies are being displayed because they have been ripped -- as though they have been flayed.

To me, they have been made to look like slabs of meat no better than gruesome cattle.

If you can justify parading human cadavers, if one can justify putting cadavers on an exhibit, I'm wondering what's next

So I ask you, where does one draw the line? What are the boundaries of art and business? Why on earth has ugliness become more fascinating than beauty? Why is repulsiveness more fascinating than attraction?

I think it is ironic that there will be many individuals attending this exhibit because they desire to be repulsed.

Tell me. do you feel that this can be considered as creative and what does it take to appreciate a creative work that is actually a hideous style

At the core of it, this exhibit cheapens being a human -- it is simply obscene and a void of ethics.

The question must be asked, is it justifiable to present something as art even though it comes at the price of human dignity? If this is not a degradation of humanity and life then I am lost to what it is ... (Pause) If not for money, what is then

Allowing this business venture to hide under the cover of art is criminal

The desire for financial success and the need to enjoy fleeting fame and fortune should not be legitimized as any business venture one can come up with such as this exhibit that is a devaluation of human life? (Pause)

Compromising the integrity of human life to make money -- I say insanity never looked this good!!!!

Let me read more -- this is from the second paragraph of page 2

The artistic exhibit features the bodies partially dissected, revealing what lies beneath the skin, and posed as they would have been in life. In the California exhibit, one body is posed as a basketball player dribbling a basketball. Another features a pregnant woman and her 8-month-old fetus reclining as if posing for a painting. One features just the blood vessels, another, a skeletal system. The exhibit in California greets visitors with a palatinated horse and rider

Consider the venue, "page 2, Then Cleveland was named the poorest city in the nation and the promoter grew concerned it wouldn't draw enough people to make the exhibit profitable ... " "I hate losing it" Horvath said, "it was important organization and it's good for Cleveland. But we will find something else"

Is she kidding -- how on earth can this sort of thing be good fro Cleveland? How can morbidity, death and abused cadavers on parade be good for our fair city? Given the reality of the city's economic situation, I feel improving a crumbling school system or creating new and lasting jobs would be good for Cleveland?

Certainly, displaying dead people in the name of art does not qualify as a noteworthy attempt to better the city.

I ask, do morbidity, horror, and gore hold more of an appeal in a small town because their cultural activities calendars are not particularly full or thriving. Would taking this type of exhibit to Cleveland raise the entertainment and tourism value?

Instead of searching for something noteworthy or of more significance, why have morbidity, ghastliness, cadavers, death, horror, and cannibalism become an entertainment of choice?

"These are tough economic times and we have to think about what will bring people in the doors" Horvath said "how do we compete for people's leisure time? Do people expect intellectual stimulation or do they want to be entertained"

What are we hearing here? Shock value is can be a big commercial draw? What commodity can be more marketable than one where there is a combination of horror, gore, shock, cannibalism, ghastliness, morbidity, criminality, macabre, gruesomeness and shame? This is really going over the deep end.

I suggest that the parties responsible for this event should instead be looking for something that has a greater substance, offers more and is therefore more fulfilling to the human spirit. There can be art with an experiential value, viable artistic merit and uplifting cultural value. I am aware that people have become sedentary and passive but that does not justify settling for gore for the sake of entertainment ... (Pause)

I am assuming that these cadavers shamelessly on display are probably attracting more attention in death than they most likely enjoyed in life. But that tells a great deal about our society -- morbidity generates interest and curiosity but the nature of life is taken fro granted and humanity seen as blase. There is such indifference for our fellow man. (Pause)

Mankind has created an environment where coming up with an idea that can be considered shocking enough, morbid enough, shameful enough or horrifying enough -- well, those ideas lead to financial and business success -- it simply does not matter that these successes sacrifice dignity and devalue life and living


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"Museums Bid For Bodies" (2004, December 14) Retrieved October 22, 2016, from

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