Naked and Screaming

Editor's Letter
Photo: Michèle Pauty

It was way too soon. When the phone call came from a close friend that his son was about to be born, I didn’t know what to say. At 25 weeks, the baby was extremely premature. What sort of chance did he have to survive?  Was his new life almost over even though it had barely begun?

Despite all attempts at rationalization, life – and also death – remains a mystery, even for atheists. Our bodies possess the equivalent of 150 billion gigabytes of data in our genetic code and every pregnant woman is producing another one of those mysteries… so in a way, she’s like a walking, talking super computer.

As I write, the tiny child still has no name, but his miniature hands and feet are active and he squeaks when he’s moved. He is progressing well and as we put the issue to bed, I can’t help but marvel at the countless wonders of modern medicine. In Vienna, researchers lead in several important areas of prenatal genetics, as we examine in “Saved From your Genes”.

In every family, parenting and heritage becomes an issue and planning for the next generation is just as necessary as it is intimidating. We look into the how internationals can make these choices easier in “How To Leave the World Behind”. While some may find the topic gruesome, or even tasteless, Vienna has a special relationship with the end of life, which we examine in our cover story “Death in Vienna”. Mexicans, too, have brought us their celebration of the Day of the Dead and you can join in on this joyous
occasion in “Spirits of Mexico”.

But they are not alone; our Style section shows five different cultures that celebrate life and death by painting their faces in Danse Macabre. We were honored to have five dancers stand in for these traditions and you can watch their fantastic dance video on our website.

In Quotes, Stats & Numbers we’ve compiled the numbers on the dead in Vienna and also look at the All Saints’ Day rituals at the Central Cemetery in “Vienna Necropolis”.  In Books, we review Playing Dead, about the many ways people have faked their own demise, followed by a revered “new history” of The Habsburg Empire.

Rumors of the death of many professions have been greatly exaggerated, nevertheless we took a close look at the numbers and spoke to experts about what we can expect ahead, in  “I, Robot Worker”.

In our Grätzl we take you to Mittersteig in the 5th district. As always, we’ve compiled the best of Vienna’s cultural offering from music, stage, canvas and screen (pp46-52) and a little inspiration for your next night out (pp66-69).

And in our Events calendar you’ll find even more reasons to leave the house, because we know, as a good Metropolitan, you live the city.

Don’t be a stranger,

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