Tuesday, November 07, 2006

Obitchuaries: Dissing The Dead


According to a front-page article in The New York Times of Sunday, November 5, 2006, online obituary sites are struggling with ugly postmortems. Rude, crude, lewd comments are finding their way into guestbooks at sites like Legacy.com, the most popular of the type.

People! People! A little modicum of civility, please. Didn't anyone ever hear of "Requiescat in pace," which is Latin for, "Dude, show some freakin' respect!"

Some examples:

Reading the obit, he sounds like he was a great father. His son Peter.

Peter, where did you go to school? If you're going to bitch, put a comma after the word "son."

Or:

I sincerely hope the Lord has more mercy on him than he had on me during my years reporting to him at the Welfare Department.

Get over it, will you?!

The article noted that the Web sites hire full-time screeners to weed out the ghoulish resentment-harborers. Another common one is sneakier:

"Most often it's cases of Sue posting that he was the love of my life and then we check and the wife's name is Mary."


Ouch.

The piece quotes someone named Kenneth Doka, a professor of gerontology. (Shouldn't we either be talking to Miss Manners or a therapist?) Doka notes that people who have "one-click immediacy" in a "culture of candor" are saying things they'd never say in a handwritten note or in a handwritten guestbook at a funeral home.

Really?

Look, folks, do the honorable thing. Hurl the brickbats at me now. Throw the pies in the face while you have the chance. Diss me now.

Before I pull a Virgina Woolf. . .

. . . Or a J. Alfred Prufrock, seen above, trousers rolled, debating whether to eat a peach, listening for those mermaids, baby, singing each to each.

18 comments:

heartinsanfrancisco said...

Times were simpler then. Daring to eat a peach is to living in a world of suicide bombers as ...? I can't think of an apt comparison.

I'm sure most people are braver anonymously. Especially when they're doing something ugly.

I'm gathering my rocks now.

mist1 said...

Ouch. This is my future, I'm sure. I get anonymous hate comments already, this seems like a natural progression.

Anonymous said...

Betty Davis On the death of Joan Crawford 'My mother told me never to speak badly of the dead. She's dead....Good'

Glamourpuss said...

I am often struck by the hypocrisy at funerals. But at the end of the day, what we say about others reflects more on us than them. Especially when they are dead anyway and sporting with the angels.

Puss

Anonymous said...

That is just rude. However, at least in the case of a son, maybe the person needed to get something out that they couldn't in person. It's still rude though. I would advocate physically going to the grave and reading it the riot act. It's far less public and you don't come off looking like an ass except to other mourners.

Sheila said...

That is so rude. People are grieving and they have to make it more painful by being pricks? So wrong.

azgoddess said...

ok no one took you up on the pot-shots...

so shall i??

why not...hate to disappoint you - grin

he was one heck of an erotic guy, who's semantics got him into trouble one too many times. the photograph of sar mclachlan in chinatown proved his antics.

figure it out?

Pawlie Kokonuts said...

I'm stumped -- and that does not refer to anything about prosthetic devices.

Anonymous said...

Here's one if I may...(potshot that is): He always made me think too hard. (but in a good way).
Peace

P.S.
"Without feelings of respect, what is there to distinguish men from beasts?"......Confucius

Crankster said...

Gotta say--if I'm dead and it makes someone feel better, have at it. As long as it's legit.

I don't want some random stranger accusing me of nonexistent crimes. I'd rather be attacked for my real-life crimes.

Anonymous said...

I suppose these are indeed real. Shame, shame, shame on those folks.

austere said...

well if the dead, you know, are dead; and the ones alive are, presumably alive, then they might as well.
so i think. unless being a ghost is an option. in which case you can get even.

Anonymous said...

just stumbled upon your blog and i am glad i did. sad to say that rudeness has become the norm even to the dead. i suppose one can look at it as a bit of immortality to keep being disrespected even after death. at least people haven't forgotten you.

i say have that peach...do you dare?

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