August 20, 2007
Meets Chinese Culture: The Result is ‘Corpse Brides’
As The Economist
recently reported, in China tradition demands that a man be buried with
his wife. If an unmarried male passes, he too must be buried with a
special lady friend and the burial ceremony will bind them together
forever. How can you ensure that you too will cross over to the other
side with your better half? Depends on how much you are willing to pay.
found a new market: Corpse brides. However, to satisfy the exponentially
growing demand, the necro-matchmakers are now turning to a new source of
the dead – the living.
The practice goes
back to the Third Century A.D. After being strongly discouraged by the
communist powers, it is now reappearing, and, staying true to their
newly found capitalist calling, many merchants in the black market
postmortem matrimony business are finding that cost-benefit analysis
points to murder, not excavation.
In one case, a man
strangled six women for sale as corpse brides because it was just more
economically sound. These “wet” goods, as new corpses are called, fetch
up to 10 times as much as the “dry” ones, or about $4,000.
According to the
BBC, in India, the practice of female infanticide is taking another
disturbing turn as increasingly wealthy provinces are continuing the
practice. The economic argument that insisted that girls are harder to
raise, do not contribute as much to the household and cost the family
much when at the marrying age is not as relevant. Consequently, the
contemporary budgeting in an Indian household is the 50,000 rupees to
give the in-laws for raising a girl versus the 500 for an abortion.
Contrary to what
many commentators have hoped for, the Western economic freedom that was
supposed to free minds from antiquated traditions have only perverted
them further by adding a foreign, impersonal side that does nothing to
mitigate their repugnance. In a twisted way, these acts seem more
familiar because they can now be translated into our currency, giving us
a point of reference.
between the demand for women’s bodies in China and the disdain for
girl’s bodies in India only erodes our understanding of a global market
standardizing cultural needs. Instead of a global market that promotes
our values and opens the door so that Western ideals can run rampant and
destroy the local culture, it is becoming more apparent that after a
period of fear for the survival of native culture, the Western economic
principles are being internalized.
What we once thought
to be our greatest weapon in opening doors and gaining influence may
weaken it in the end as our system is used in order to promote described
practices like those in China and India. When put into common economic
terms, they are catapulted into modernity and legitimated by the
terminology and transactions that are so common to us.
When news magazines
report shameful acts and break them down by referencing common economic
terms, they put them on par with everyday transactions. It is
understandable that it is a way for a detached reader to better grasp
the situation. Nonetheless, they unwillingly reduce the moral value of
the news by doing so.
© 2007 North Star
Writers Group. May not be republished without permission.
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