Death in the Age of Facebook

“In the morning I left voice mail messages to call me on my mother’s and sister’s numbers. As I came in to work I saw S still logged in to his Skype account, where he’d left it going for his final exercise round. More subdued phone calls during the day, there would be a viewing at the hospital the next day. I was unfamiliar with the term, but googling confirmed that it was an opportunity to see the body. When had this procedure been (re-)introduced?”

Read more over at Pointless Anecdotes.

Comments

  1. #1 DianaGainer
    December 2, 2008

    Well, that page wouldn’t let me comment, but I shall mention this in case anyone else out there doesn’t know. Viewing has been around for over a century. It’s not new. I chose not to view either of my grandfathers in the middle of the last century, but it’s been available all along, my dears. And you’re not supposed to demonstrate Nordic stoicism. Proper procedure is for everyone to cry and give hugs all around, then to tell one another pleasant memories and so to feel better. Then someone else comes in and everyone cries again and hugs again and the reminiscences continue. That’s how it’s done, loves. That’s the purpose both of the viewing and of the funeral — to cry together with the beloved and the other loved ones and to recall the good times before the end came.

  2. #2 PsyberDave
    December 3, 2008

    This reminds me…with our cultures becoming more and more electronically oriented, how are archaeologists of the future going to dig up our old websites to learn about us? What if there are massive electromagnetic bursts that erase electronic storage or ruin our computer systems en masse like in a nuclear war or a coronal mass ejection from the sun? Or, even if our electronic systems simply evolve and become incompatible with current forms, how much of our culture is being deposited in ephemeral media?

  3. #3 Martin R
    December 4, 2008

    Good point! Long after the last digital medium has expired, you will still be able to dig out cuneiform tablets in Iraq and Syria to piece together those areas’ ancient history.

  4. #4 PsyberDave
    December 4, 2008

    Maybe you should commit some of your blog to cuneiform tablets. You know, just to be safe.

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