Eric Heyl

thanks to Eric Heyl and the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review for permission to post his column

What is disturbing about these corpses? None is American.

They are Chinese. All of them.

None has green cards.

Nor are they capable of speaking English.

You undoubtedly are familiar with the tired arguments companies often use for hiring other nations' lifeless who conveniently "forgot" to bring their work visas to the job interview.

The stereotype exists that most of them perform the tasks that America's dead are unwilling to do. Our own corpses, the story goes, too often are content to just lie motionless in cemeteries while the dead of foreign lands work tirelessly to gross out middle school students on field trips.

I don't buy it, but the sedentary rap probably doesn't endear our dead to potential employer

Emigre cadavers typically work far more cheaply than their American counterparts, owing to the relatively low wages most of them made in their respective nations of origin before their demise.

(It probably is no coincidence that the country flooding America with innards-on-display dead folk, China, is the same country whose historically underpaid employees flooded America with more than 20 million toys recently recalled for high lead levels and various design flaws.)

Dr. Ray Glover is a medical adviser for Premier Exhibitions, the Atlanta-based company responsible for bringing the touring company of corpses to Pittsburgh and other cities.

Glover on Tuesday sidestepped the question of whether Premier made a legitimate attempt to land American bodies for the exhibit. "I can't speak for the company on that, as I wasn't involved in any of the negotiations," he said.

Supposedly, none of these cadavers surreptitiously slipped into the country in the dead of night. "They all had to go through customs, so all legal requirements were met for bringing them here," Glover insisted.

But he did not specifically address whether all of the working stiffs have their work visas, and he acknowledged that no firm timetable exists for their return to China. That means they indefinitely will continue to take job opportunities away from able-bodied American deceased.

With the national immigration debate continuing to simmer, could Premier muster the courage to do the right thing and bring in a bunch of more expensive homegrown talent?

In the bottom-line "Bodies" business, such a move would take a lot of guts.

Eric Heyl is a Pittsburgh Tribune-Review staff writer. He can be reached at or 412-320-7857. posted by permission.

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