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The World Is A Weird Place

I have now listened to not one, but two academic papers both dealing with the fact that there was a lab in Germany in WWII that experimented with making soap out of the fat from concentration camp prisoners and POWs. While it's a fascinating topic, and (believe it or not) there have actually been developments on the issue* between the time that I heard the first paper and today . . . how weird is it that I've now heard two papers on this particular topic?

Anyway, I shall soon plunge back into what counts as "normal" life for me. One of my colleagues is taking me out to a drag show at a bar in Boystown tonight. For research purposes. Oh, ethnomusicology.







*Okay, you're curious. The development is this: Back in 2006, when I heard the first paper, there was some doubt as to whether this story was true or just a scurrilous rumor. No samples of the soap had been found, and two prosecutors had declared the scientist not guilty of doing this particular thing. The point of the 2006 paper (which was probably written either in late 2005 or very early 2006) was that It Was Probably Just A Rumor. However . . . oh, snap! Later in 2006, a surviving piece of the soap in question was located, and there was a complicated chemical analysis done. It turned out that the rumors were true. The soap had indeed been made with human fat.

Comments

( 10 comments — Leave a comment )
jelazakazone
Apr. 29th, 2009 03:21 am (UTC)
Ew.

Rough life, that going to a drag show for work;)
frenchpony
Apr. 29th, 2009 06:55 am (UTC)
Yeah, the drudging, workaday, put-upon life of an ethnomusicologist!
(Deleted comment)
frenchpony
Apr. 29th, 2009 02:27 pm (UTC)
I think that the guy only ever made about 25 kilos of the soap (which is why it's so rare), and it doesn't look like anybody but his lab assistants ever got to use it; it doesn't seem to have been sold commercially. He was still in the development phase, trying to do something about the weird smell.
elliska
Apr. 29th, 2009 12:02 pm (UTC)
That is obscene. Just despicable.

A drag show, huh? That ought to be fun. There aren't too many grad students or academics that could legitimately claim to be doing something like that for scholarly research. ;-)
frenchpony
Apr. 29th, 2009 02:28 pm (UTC)
That, and the human-skin lampshades.

The drag show was pretty awesome, even though it was Britney Spears Night. None of the participants were especially good at lip-synching, but there were some pretty kick-ass dancers there.
gwynhyffar
Apr. 29th, 2009 05:02 pm (UTC)
I love drag shows. Especially the ones that ham it up.

As to the rest of your post... You know, you hear about things like that, and you know that it happened, but it seems so absolutely incomprehensible that anyone could do that to another person. Especially knowing that they were none-too-gentle in the kill process either. I saw something the other day about household items that were confiscated by the Nazis being put up for auction, later followed by an auction of "Genuine Nazi Artifacts" along the lines of the human-skin lampshades. Humans make me sick.
frenchpony
Apr. 29th, 2009 06:19 pm (UTC)
Who buys a Nazi human-skin lampshade in this day and age? For that matter, who puts one up for auction? How do you list something like that in an auction catalog?

The drag show was pretty good. Lots of good dancers and good costumes, though they weren't so great at the lip-synching.
meggins
May. 1st, 2009 02:37 am (UTC)
I knew about the lampshades so I found the soap story plausible. I guess it's good that they have evidence now. Though, ick.

Britney Spears night. Oh, my. Hmmm, from your report I wonder if we should stop mocking performers who lip synch (on TV, live, etc.) since apparently it is a talent not everyone has.
frenchpony
May. 1st, 2009 04:04 am (UTC)
I have the feeling that the drag queens I saw on Tuesday just spent most of their time practicing their dancing and getting their costumes together. They could have been good at the lip-synching if they'd worked at it.
( 10 comments — Leave a comment )

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