Statement on Bodies the Exhibition from Douglass McDonald

From Cincinnati Enquirer: ‘Bodies’ settles with N.Y.

This is an interesting article because it is one of the few where Cincinnati Museum CEO Douglass McDonald actually makes a statement.  Usually, he’s hiding behind a statement from Premier.

“It’s a New York document. We talked to our lawyers and it applies only to New York, not Cincinnati,” said Douglass McDonald, president and CEO of the Museum Center. “Obviously, we’ll continue to watch the events and monitor changes, but at this juncture, it doesn’t change anything for us.

As a legal document, it definitely only applies to NY.  However, Premier’s own lawyer is quoted in saying that they would apply it to “operations worldwide”.

The Premier lawyer who negotiated the settlement, general counsel Brian Wainger, said, “We are happy to have this behind us.” Wainger said the settlement terms only applied to exhibits in the state of New York but that the company would “adopt practices that mirror New York’s requirements” in its operations worldwide.

But, it should be more than what the lawyers say.  The exhibit in NY is in South Street Seaport, an entertainment district.  The exhibit here in Cincinnati is at the Cincinnati Museum Center.  The Cincinnati Museum Center has a duty to the public as a learning center to provide both educational and ethical displays.  The ethics of this exhibit has been called into question.  Premier has made assertions about the source of the bodies, but are not able to back any of it up.  How can you trust what Premier or the Cincinnati Museum Center has to say about this?

“I’m not surprised, though. Cuomo announced his investigation the day before ABC announced the show, and that was a day before sweeps week began, so you knew something had to happen.

Oh, so blame it on the sweeps week.

“I’m still comfortable with the exhibit. What we know for sure is that it continues to be a spectacular, educational exhibit. We’ve been looking at hard facts and evidence since we started considering the exhibit, and the hard facts and evidence continue to support the positive information Premier gave us at the beginning.”

The hard facts are that Premier has settled with the NY Attorney General’s office and admit that they are unable to prove where the bodies come from. 

McDonald refers to a paragraph in Cuomo’s formal document that seems to support the claim that the bodies are not executed prisoners.

Paragraph 14 reads: “Premier has also affirmatively represented that it conducted its own internal due diligence and … independently concluded that the specimens currently on display in New York are not, and do not come from, Chinese prisoners who were subjected to execution, torture or other forms of physical abuse. … Premier’s ability to independently analyze the Whole Bodies is not at issue here. Premier, however, cannot independently confirm that any of the over 200 parts in the New York Exhibit were not taken from Chinese citizens or residents who were executed, tortured or subjected to other physical abuse.”

What McDonald neglects to say, is that paragraph 14 is Premier’s own statement.  Of course Premier’s statement is going to support what he believes in.

Paragraph 15, which he conveniently leaves out states this:

15. The Attorney General finds that, given the sensitive and controversial nature of Premier’s Bodies Exhibits, including the one in New York, and particularly given the history of human rights violations in China, the above-referenced representations made by or on behalf of Premier were overstated.

Premier does not deny the Attorney General’s findings.  When I see Douglass McDonald’s statements, I see someone who’s desperate to keep the money flowing no matter what the costs.   

Bodies the Exhibitions Disclosures in NY

From the NY Attorney General’s Assurance of Discontinuance:

…Premier shall clearly and conspicuously make the following disclosures on its website and in the lobby of any Covered Exhibit:

(A) “This exhibit displays human remains of Chinese citizens or residents which were originally received by the Chinese Bureau of Police.  The Chinese Bureau of Police may receive bodies from Chinese prisons.  Premier cannot independently verify that the human remains you are viewing are not those of persons who were incarcerated in Chinese prisons.”

(B) “This exhibit displays full body cadavers as well as human body parts, organs, fetuses and embryos that come from cadavers of Chinese citizens or residents.  With respect to the human parts, organs, fetuses and embryos you are viewing, Premier relies solely on the representations of its Chinese partners and cannont independently verify that they do not belong to persons executed while incarcerated in Chinese prisons.”

Star Trek theme composer dies

From CNN.com: ‘Star Trek’ theme composer dies at 88

Alexander “Sandy” Courage, an Emmy-winning and Academy Award-nominated
arranger, orchestrator and composer who created the otherworldly theme
for the classic “Star Trek” TV show, has died. He was 88.

The Star Trek fanfare immediately signals, this is Star Trek.  It’s one of the most recognizable pieces of music in television.

I didn’t like the theme song as much when I was little, but it’s pretty kitschy cool today.  I hope the new Star Trek movie uses it.

There’s a little interesting point about the lyrics in the story.

“Star Trek” creator Gene Roddenberry later wrote lyrics to the
tune, which were never sung on the show but entitled him to half the
royalties, Courage said.

According to wikipedia, Gene Roddenberry only wrote the lyrics to cash in on the royalties, saying “Hey, I have to get some money somewhere. I’m sure not going to get it out of the profits of Star Trek“.  This caused Courage to end his association with Star Trek.

Reading the lyrics, doesn’t seem quite fair that Roddenberry got half for his contribution!

Lyrics to Star Trek theme song

“Beyond

The rim of the starlight
My love
Is wand’ring in star flight
I know he’ll find in star clustered reaches
Love, strange love a star woman teaches

“I know
His journey ends never
His Star Trek
Will go on forever
But tell him
While he wanders his starry sea
Remember
Remember me!”

Let’s buzz primitive tribes with our airplane

From CNN.com: ‘Uncontacted tribe’ sighted in Amazon

Researchers have produced aerial photos of jungle dwellers who they say
are among the few remaining peoples on Earth who have had no contact
with the outside world.

Taken from a small airplane, the photos show men outside thatched
communal huts, necks craned upward, pointing bows toward the air in a
remote corner of the Amazonian rainforest.

Shouldn’t there be some kind of Star Trek non intervention “Prime Directive” be in play here?  Buzzing the primitives with a giant noisy bird causing them to point bows at you somehow doesn’t seem to be the proper thing to do. 

Bodies the Exhibition refund in Cincinnati

How much does Bodies the Exhibition cost at the Cincinnati Museum Center?  ZERO.  If you didn’t know that the bodies were possibly of tortured and executed Chinese prisoners.  Bodies that may have been purchased from the black market.

If you’re disgusted about this, ask for your refund.

From ABCNews.com: Crackdown on Ghoulish ‘Body Exhibitions’

The Premier lawyer who negotiated the settlement, general counsel Brian Wainger, said, “We are happy to have this behind us.” Wainger said the settlement terms only applied to exhibits in the state of New York but that the company would “adopt practices that mirror New York’s requirements” in its operations worldwide.

One of the requirements Premier Exhibitions agreed upon in the NY settlement is to offer refunds.

If by chance, the Cincinnati Museum Center refuses to refund your money, please tell them that you’ll be contacting the Ohio Attorney General’s office and asking for an investigation.

Ohio Attorney General
State Office Tower
30 E. Broad Street, 17th Floor
Columbus, OH 43215-3428
(614) 466-4320