Saturday, April 28, 2007
There's currently a Smirnoff ad about a man's corpse being transformed into a diamond. And, today, Scotty is being beamed up for the last time from New Mexico. The instinct for attaining immortality through one's remains is as strong as ever. Glass often seems to be involved, As readers of this excellent book will know, in 1801 the French architect Pierre Giraud came up with the idea of turning corpses into glass from which edifying memorial medallions and tablets could be made. The latest developments in cryonics - see also this sweeping and lovely survey - involve the vitrification of the body. Also death is often seen as a mirror, impenetrable glass. It is, I suppose, about perfection. The ugly coprse in the Smirnoff ad is converted into something hard and beautiful and Scotty finally gets all the pooer Kirk needs. Over time, we converge on the same imagery for our consolation.
Posted by Bryan Appleyard at 10:45 am