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Too gross

September 05, 2008

Re "Finding life's meaning in death," Column One, Sept. 4

It was truly a pleasure to glance at the front page of The Times -- while eating breakfast -- and be greeted with an explicit description of an autopsy. Not often does one find -- outside of a Mickey Spillane novel, anyway -- such colorful prose as "thrusts a razor into his chest, unzipping his brown skin to reveal a thick layer of yolk-colored fat." Or, "He pulls marbled meat from the bone." Or, "lungs, tar-speckled as if covered with spores of mold."

My breakfast was pretty much history, and I'd only made it to the third paragraph. If I'd read further, I'm told, I would have gotten to the really good stuff: a description of the smell of death ("feces and rotten eggs"). The grotesque line about a man's tongue being pulled from his head. Or the face being peeled from the skull.

It's one thing to place a story like this somewhere else within the paper. But pummeling your readers in the face on the first page with vivid descriptions of a corpse being dissected is, in my opinion, unnecessary and in extremely bad taste.

I not only plan to avoid your newspaper in the future, I may never enjoy another breakfast.

John Travers

Hollywood

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