Wednesday, January 06, 2010

Reality TV: Jade Goody could have been the next Tutankhamun

Leafing through a recent copy of Kindred Spirit magazine I spot a most intriguing ad headline, "Would you like to donate your body for science?" Not really, But I read on: "In a unique science project, conducted with leading academic institutions, a group of scientists have [sic] been studying how the Ancient Egyptians mastered the process of mummification which has long been a mystery."

A volunteer is needed, "someone with a terminal illness prepared to donate their body after death." Apparently the secrets of mummification have now been "solved": the corpse will be "preserved - potentially for hundreds or even thousands of years." Benefits for modern medical science are assured. Meantime, all this to be recorded for a TV show.

Although not named in the ad - placed in Kindred Spirit presumably to interest the reincarnationists - behind this are reality-meisters Fulcrum TV, Channel 4's science department and National Geographic Television. A C4 notice elsewhere explains further: "We want to explore our present-day attitudes to life, death and the afterlife. Our supposition is that these attitudes and ideas may not be so different to those of the ancient Egyptians."

An odd supposition in these secular times. Even I, explorer of matters other-worldly (as well as worldly) have yet to meet anyone who believes that post-death their spirit will cross a wide river and pass through a gate guarded by monsters before indictment for 42 crimes in some astral court, as the Pharaohs believed. And the project is scarcely unique: back in 1994 the first human mummification in 2000 years was performed at The University of Maryland Medical School in Baltimore. The volunteer was some old cock who'd died of natural causes and never had a serious illness - he is now called Mumab I. He came from Baltimore, natch.

After some Googling about I see this new project is not so new and has been in-planning for quite a while: Fulcrum was advertising for a suitable mummy-to-be three years ago. Now, Fulcrum's Head of Production, Adam Berman, emails me, "I’m afraid that this project is on hold for the moment," despite the current ad. Mummified even.

Oh dear, I wonder what the problem is? It's not as if the world lacks for people with terminal illnesses. The late Jade Goody would have made a perfect volunteer - her earth-time Big Brother TV profile would have drawn a large aud, and she believed in heaven. Also, her mother Jackiey Budden has since been in touch with Jade via a medium (as reported by a UK tabloid), so she could have furnished us with detail of the afterlife for a comparative analysis of the Book of the Dead, the Ancient Egyptian Sat Nav for what lies beyond. Jade would have become the Tutanhkamun or Nefertiti of the Fifth Millennium - what a missed op.

NB: Mummification was in essence a method of post-mortem transportation, not a TV gloop-fest for jaded Body Worlds freaks - I do hope the godless scientists behind this project remember that.


Anonymous said...

Can't tell if this is serious, satire or both.

Anonymous said...

very timely piece seeing popbitch just wrote : "I believe in reincarnation. My mum believes that her granddad or someone came back as a bumble bee" - Jade Goody

Madame Arcati said...

Thankyou darling but did you have to mention Popbitch? I really can't abide damaged goods.

Anonymous said...

darling as u should know, one cant talk to damaged goods.... one has to write a SUN headling ... to attract the plebs

Anonymous said...

Madame Arcati, happened to bump into a hero of mine the other week, Peter Thachell.... offered him a free bar tab for as long as he could stand...he refused , like a true celeb......Miss Arcati, what are ure opinions of Iran and there gay "friendly" policy of hanging people who happen to like men???

Madame Arcati said...

Iran needs to get out more.