The Michael Jackson funeral story continues to loom in the background of the current coverage about his death, while an even more bizarre angle about the future of the superstar's body has emerged over in Germany.
If you have a strong stomach, here is the report from the Daily Mail in England. Now, in subsequent media reports, this whole "Body Works" thing is being called a "rumor" (click here for TMZ). If so, that is an interesting definition of rumor. It seems to me that this story is based on an on-the-record quotation from a person -- a logical person, yes, with a major PR motive to speak -- who either is or is not telling the truth.
After a short discussion of the Muslim conversion angle, readers are hit over the head with this:
If a Muslim funeral took place, the body is usually buried within two days of death. However, it emerged last night that his body may not be buried at all, but could be preserved forever in his famous moonwalk stance.
The claim was made by German doctor Gunther von Hagens, who has gained notoriety for embalming corpses in polyurethane. His "plastination" process enabled him to create a London show featuring preserved human bodies, many displaying internal organs.
Last night, Dr von Hagens said: "An agreement is in place to plastinate the King of Pop." He said he had agreed with representatives of Jackson's family "months ago" that his body would be plastinated and placed next to the singer's late chimp Bubbles, who was preserved after his death and is on display in the show at the O2 arena, where the singer was due to appear next month.
A spokesman for von Hagens said it was one of Jackson's last wishes to be reunited with Bubbles, adding: "There is no better place than to do this at the venue where Jackson was to perform his 50-date tour. Whilst von Hagens is keen to keep the pose of the superstar's plastinate under wraps, he hinted that the moonwalk position would naturally be favoured."
Either this story by reporter Neil Sears is right or it is wrong. The Bubbles angle is one of those things that you just can't make up. Right?
So, for those following the major players in this drama, we have the Jehovah's Witnesses, who forbid funeral and burial practices that are not mentioned in the Bible. The we have the traditions of Islam at play, at the very least through the participation of brother Jermaine Jackson, who is a covert to Islam.
Now we have another approach to death that has created great controversy among religious believers of many kinds -- the strong, literally materialistic worldview captured in the "Body Works" exhibits of an agnostic German doctor. It seems to me that this soars (or sinks) right past the whole "death by celebrity" story that has been gaining momentum.
I, for one, hope that this is a publicity stunt by von Hagens. If that is the case, then tells you all that you need to know about this man and his approach to entertaining the masses.