Tuesday, December 18, 2007

Skin Deep

There are already so many things wrong with the story about the French woman who received the first face transplant. Like how did she “lose” her face to begin with? Well, she took an overdose of sleeping pills in a botched suicide attempt. She didn’t wake up when her pet Labrador retriever started chewing on her face. But she did wake up after it had already gnawed off her lips, chin and most of her nose. Note to self: feed the dog before killing yourself. Or better yet, kill the dog first!

I’m thinking this would’ve been a ripe time for another suicide attempt, but no: instead medical science in all of its vast uselessness decided to cut the face off a brain-dead woman and transplant it on our heroine. After a couple of near rejections of the face—we could be here all night if I was going to pursue this line of thought!—it seems the face was there to stay. Now she has regained nearly full use of her facial muscles. Or the facial muscles of the other woman. I’m not sure exactly where one woman ends and the other begins! Our heroine is currently “satisfied with the aesthetic result,” according to her surgeon.

Of course, none of what I’ve written or thought about thus far concerns the real problem at hand. The most disturbing aspect of the article I read in the New York Times is the final two sentences:
Ms. Dinoire’s [face] is a bit crooked, with one side slightly higher and one eye more open. But it is not unlike that of a typical Frenchwoman trying to convey a vaguely insouciant sarcasm, with hints of mordant wit and a certain je ne sais quoi.

I have lost all respect for the New York Times for publishing such an offensive, misogynistic and xenophobic article. I have lost all respect for modern science for thinking it was within acceptable ethical bounds to perform such a surgery in those circumstances. And I have lost all respect for Labrador retrievers, or as I shall henceforth refer to them: “face eaters.”

It all reminds me of something my mother used to say when I was a kid: “Beauty is only skin deep, but ugliness goes clear to the bone.” (She would know.)


  1. Insouciant sarcasm and mordant wit, yes! That's the look I'm going for, too.

  2. you have no idea how much I love you for this