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  1. Lewdog
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    Lewdog Come ova here and give me kisses! Supporter Contributor

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    Displaying Bones of Famous People

    Discussion in 'Debate Room' started by Lewdog, Apr 23, 2014.

    In the U.S. we often see articles where the bones of famous kings, queens, Pharaohs, etc. go on display somewhere. What you never see is the bones of famous American being shown in museums and other places for people to see. What do you think is the difference in why this happens? Would people want to see the bones of a guy like George Washington, Abraham Lincoln, or other famous people on display? I have been wondering about this for awhile but I stumbled across this article on Yahoo! today that made me start this debate.

    http://news.yahoo.com/scholars-analyze-bones-swedish-medieval-king-104532365.html

    I'd like to know how people from the U.S. feel, and people outside the U.S. where the bones are often put on display.
     
  2. MLM
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    MLM Banned for trolling

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    Sounds neat. I hope they do it more. They should work on preservation as well. It helps bring history to "life" for a lot of people to see what historical guys looked like, and seeing the actual historical guy makes it even more so.
     
  3. Lewdog
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    Lewdog Come ova here and give me kisses! Supporter Contributor

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    I just don't understand how there is such a huge gap in cultures. Lenin's body is on display in a mausoleum for everyone to see. I can't think of anything like that in the U.S. other than mummies at museums.
     
  4. thirdwind
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    thirdwind Contributing Member Contest Administrator Reviewer Contributor

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    To put it into terms writers can understand, Lenin's body is in the public domain, whereas Lincoln's is not. :p
     
  5. MLM
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    MLM Banned for trolling

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    I think public displaying Lenin and other communist leaders had more to do with the deification of him in official propaganda and the widespread use of personality cults in the socialist bloc. I'm not aware of it being a normal practice in any of those nations' cultures. There was the old line that Lenin was "more alive than the living" in the sense that his revolutionary ideas are eternal, and the making of his body into a memorial fit that concept well.

    I just think these kinds of displays are cool in themselves. More of a historical interest.
     
  6. minstrel
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    minstrel Leader of the Insquirrelgency Staff Supporter Contributor

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    Time may have something to do with it. We have no problem displaying ancient mummies, sure, but displaying the recently dead (and America's history is short enough still to make even George Washington recently dead) is a different thing. The Swedish king referenced in the article died over three hundred years before Columbus came to America. The United States of America, as a nation, isn't even three hundred years old.
     
  7. Garball
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    Garball Sometimes nothing can be a real cool hand. Supporter Contributor

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    I do not comprehend the significance placed on dead bodies. I think if you could burn bodies for energy that would be a lot better than taking up land that could be put to better use for something like a golf course or go kart tracks.
     
  8. MLM
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    MLM Banned for trolling

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    Do you understand the significance of famous people? That's a major factor in the current discussion. :p
     
  9. Garball
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    Garball Sometimes nothing can be a real cool hand. Supporter Contributor

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    I understand the significance of some famous people while they are alive and their legacies, not their corpses.
     
  10. Lewdog
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    Lewdog Come ova here and give me kisses! Supporter Contributor

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    I think there is a link to being able to see the person and what they look like so that you can comprehend the things they did in life. It would be hard to understand the significance of an important event like the signing of the Emancipation Proclamation if you never saw a picture, drawing, or any visage of Abraham Lincoln.
     
  11. Garball
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    Garball Sometimes nothing can be a real cool hand. Supporter Contributor

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    Most people think that Napoleon was very short when in fact he was average height if not a hair taller. Has history changed for you now?
     
  12. Lewdog
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    Lewdog Come ova here and give me kisses! Supporter Contributor

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    I also learned the other day he had a problem with his teeth. I also learned that George Washington didn't have wooden teeth like some people thought he did. He did have some horrible teeth that hurt him so bad by the end of his Presidency that he made his speeches incredibly short because it was painful to even talk. The thing is, those interesting facts is what makes me even more interested in knowing those important people and what they did. The only way we can learn those facts is from studying the person.
     
  13. Garball
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    Garball Sometimes nothing can be a real cool hand. Supporter Contributor

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    How many other people had bad teeth at the same time? How many soldiers that fought in the war had bad teeth? What makes those people important is what they did, not how they looked doing it. Would you think differently of Einstein if he had neatly combed hair?
     
  14. Lewdog
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    Lewdog Come ova here and give me kisses! Supporter Contributor

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    He was the President of the United States. It's fascinating. Do you know why all those big wigs (pun) wore those big white wigs?
     
  15. Garball
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    Garball Sometimes nothing can be a real cool hand. Supporter Contributor

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    Yes I do know.


    I just don't associate physical appearance with importance.
     
  16. Lewdog
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    Lewdog Come ova here and give me kisses! Supporter Contributor

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    I just think it makes history easier to understand when you have a visual marker to place with the events.
     
  17. Garball
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    Garball Sometimes nothing can be a real cool hand. Supporter Contributor

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    I find it easier to understand when it's written in english.
     
  18. Lewdog
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    Lewdog Come ova here and give me kisses! Supporter Contributor

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    Talk to @Wreybies, he's the translator. :p
     
  19. minstrel
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    minstrel Leader of the Insquirrelgency Staff Supporter Contributor

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    I think it would be a good idea to keep the DNA of important people around so we could prove if someone who claims to be related to them really is. For example, it's interesting to find - and prove by DNA - that there are living descendants of Thomas Jefferson and his slave Sally Hemings.
     
  20. Lewdog
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    Lewdog Come ova here and give me kisses! Supporter Contributor

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    I think that one site has really intact family trees of a lot of the famous people.
     
  21. Link the Writer
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    Link the Writer Flipping Out For A Good Story. Contributor

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    I think the reason we don't put the bones of Abraham Lincoln or George Washington on display is because of one important factor. That stuff is reserved for kings, queens, Pharaohs, etc. The U.S. president is supposed to be just like every other American, except he (soon there'll be a she, I hope) just so happens to be the one calling all the shots along with the Judicial and Legislative Branches of our government. By putting Washington's or Lincoln's remains in a museum is like saying he's not one of us mere mortals.

    From my understanding of European monarchs, the king/queen was believed to have been anointed by God Himself to rule over their realms. Hence the 'Divine Rule' thing. You, random British/French/Dutch/Netherland peasant, are not like our glorious King/Queen because his/her line was chosen by God to rule your smelly butt.

    The concept of divine rule was not something Washington appreciated very well. Hell, he didn't even appreciate it when he heard that people were planning to call him 'His Excellency' when trying to figure out a title for their new leader. So he'd be appalled by your suggestion of putting his remains on display, Lew. Besides, we've got portraits of Washington and pictures of Lincoln, as well as access to all their writings if we wanted to learn about these two men.

    As for famous bodies in general? Well, I think it would depend on two things:

    ++ The permission of their descendants, obviously. Somehow, I doubt the descendants of Mark Twain or J.R.R. Tolkien would appreciate historians digging up these two men to put them in museum houses. They would likely want to be informed in writing exactly why this was even suggested. If they refuse, then their wishes should be respected and the remains left alone.

    ++ How will this teach the young history. This is crucially important, people. As a history buff, this would be something I wouldn't take very lightly. How would seeing the remains of someone long dead help our young see the history behind the remains? Something other than "LOOK! RANDOM DEAD GUY!" History, to me, is the story of human race. Each and every single damned one of us is playing our part in history, regardless of how big or small. So if you're going to put a body on display, you should describe who this person was, and what part he/she played in history. How would looking at the actual, physical remains teach the young history? These are questions curators have to answer when deciding to put a skeleton/mummy on display.
     
  22. Lewdog
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    Lewdog Come ova here and give me kisses! Supporter Contributor

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    @Link the Writer but if remains don't teach us any history in your opinion, then what does displaying a king or queen matter?
     
  23. Link the Writer
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    Link the Writer Flipping Out For A Good Story. Contributor

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    I'm not saying that at all. It can teach you a lot of history if you pull it off right. However if you just do it for the sake of having a centuries-old remains in your collection, then that's a bit iffier.
     
  24. Lewdog
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    Lewdog Come ova here and give me kisses! Supporter Contributor

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    Hehe well everything works if you pull it off right. :p
     
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