Friday, April 14, 2006

You crave one kiss of my clay-cold lips / But my breath smells earthy strong.

In the comments to this post, Jacob Levy points out another odd statement by Catharine MacKinnon:
In the interview, MacKinnon complains that

"Sex with a dead body is necrophilia but it isn't regarded as rape."

I must admit to not really seeing what's wrong with that...
In response to a short digression on the possibility of ex ante consent to such conduct and its relationship to organ donation, he elaborates:
And yet necrophilia absent such consent still wouldn't be rape! Which suggests that consent, ex ante or otherwise, isn't really the operative concept at all...
There is probably an elaborate literature, or at the very least a weird law review article, dealing with this topic, but I'm going to skip searching Lexis and ask the readership: What is the operative principle at work here? When an individual (or the state; say, Texas, which until recently confiscated corneas without consent unless family members objected) infringes on the bodily integrity of a corpse, whose rights, if any, are violated? Are laws prohibiting such things moral regulations of a piece with bans on public lewdness?

My intuition is to feel that some violation takes place when a body is used against its previous inhabitant's wishes, but I watch too much Six Feet Under and am thus biased toward respecting the wishes of the deceased above all things. This sentiment may clash, moreover, with my otherwise consistent materialism. Force consistency upon me!
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