My best friend, Tracey, sent me a link this morning to a Craftzine blog post showcasing a necklace made from a dead bird’s head. My immediate reaction was along the lines of, “Cool! I’d buy that and love it and wear it every day if it wasn’t $350.”
When I read all of the comments on the post, though, I noticed that 90% of them were along the lines of, “Gross! This is barbaric and despicable, and you should warn us before you post things like this.” And any comments that were positive received replies along the lines of, “Shut up.”
What’s the big deal? The bird died of natural causes and is being celebrated as art. It wasn’t harmed to make the jewelry, and I imagine that if animals could express their preferences for their remains, they’d choose to be displayed proudly on necks rather than be stuffed in shoeboxes and tossed in holes in the ground. Of course, I could be a little biased, because I think the giant stuffed moose head on my neighbor’s wall in Ohio is rad.
When I suggested that I might like to cut off my dead mother’s ring finger and have it taxidermied to display in my home, wedding ring and all, Tracey agreed that it wouldn’t be offensive. My friend Tim tells me that in Papua New Guinea, mourners wear necklaces of their loved ones’ digits to honor their memories. My friend Anthony thinks people have may desecration of the dead issues with that in the U.S., but Tracey came up with the solution of donor cards that allow you to choose whether or not to permit your family to use your parts postmortem. Wouldn’t you love to see stuffed hands and feet on mantles like any other tchotchke right next to your Christmas stocking?
My friend Nik imagines that most of the people who threw hissy fits at the dead bird head are the same ones wearing leather shoes as they type, and I agree. It’s another example of the way people generally have no problem squashing a cockroach but freak out when anyone harms a cuddly bunny. Of course, I totally understand why someone would protest the squirrel feet earrings, but that’s only because they’re ugly.
And Tracey, you’re getting a cat hair handbag for your birthday. The $400 kind, because I care.