Re: Respect for the Dead (was Re: What a great group)

Susan Moyers Porter (
Thu, 23 Nov 1995 20:13:17 +0100

In article
<>, "P.
Creasy" <> wrote:

"> The collection of bones is a remnant of an age when anthropologists measured
"> skull capacities. But not all disadvantaged peoples end up in boxes.
A large
"> Chinese cemetery in San Francisco was turned into Lincoln Park and a golf
"> course was laid out over it. A similar cemetery for paupers and medical
"> school cadavers in nearby Colma, California, was likewise turned into a golf
"> course.
"Um, excuse me Joel, but I'm a little confused here, I guess. You say not
"all "disadvantaged" people, then refer to the Chinese cemetary. But, if
"you had couched your terminology in terms more in keeping with the political
"structures which allowed for such disinterment (maybe vulnerable or
"politically impotent), it would seem those whose bones ended up in boxes
"would all fit the category...and perhaps that is why they, in particular,
"ended up "in boxes." Just a thought.

(I don't think of Chinese people in San Francisco as politically impotent,
since the
Asian community there is so very, very politically powerful. And I have
certainly heard of middle class and even upper class cemeteries eventually
dug up and paved over for various uses.)

I think, if there is a class that is vulnerable or politically impotent,
it is the dead as a whole! The dead have no right to privacy, no legal
recourse to sue (though the "estate" may on behalf of living relations),
no protection from defamation... Even publication rights and copyrights
are voided upon death or a certain period of time after death. The dead
can't even vote, except in Chicago and certain areas of Mississippi. : ]