Saturday evening, David found a dead bird on the window seat of his cabin. It was late, so he tossed it into grass.
The next day, believing that a fallen comrade should be given a hero’s burial, we performed a brief shrouding and burial for the sparrow (at least we think it’s a sparrow, our combined ornithological skills leave something to be desired)(UPDATE: it’s some sort of thrush. Thanks, Kirk Betts!).
New piece for Fortnight Journal on the art of the medieval macabre as it shows up in modern art. It’s 12 slides but it could have been 900. Restraint in 2012!
People have been sending me magical death links by the damn truckload in recent months. Since it’s Sunday I thought I’d feature my favorites from the week.
Vintage Morgan Freeman enjoys a little scrubby scrub in the bathy way caskey wasket.
One of my absolutely favorite quotes. Rotting is the quickest way to eternity my friends.
THE most perfect little death satire. Student interview from “The LA School of Eternal Beauty.” I cannot believe I have never seen this.
“I can tell you that anybody who ever comes to me, no matter what their monetary value is, they’re only going to get the best embalming fluid from me.”
A monk prays for a dead man in the station hall of the
Shanxi Taiyuan Train Station, China
“I remember clearly that it was about 5 p.m. on November 25. I was just finishing an assignment photographing retired military soldiers bidding farewell to their comrades at the train station. On my way out, I heard someone yelling from a corner and soon after lots of people gathered around. I ran towards the sound and made my way to the front of the crowd, only to find an old man dead on the bench. As I raised my camera, a Buddhist monk walked out of the crowd and went directly towards the dead man. The monk bent down to hold the old man’s hand and started to chant scriptures. I began to take pictures immediately. One minute later, police came over and cordoned off the area. After the monk finished the ceremony, he bowed to the old man and quickly disappeared among the other busy passengers.” Source
Unicorns have organs made of magical flora, natch.
A terrifying vision of what “Ask a Funeral Director” would look like. Preneed financial estate planning, ya’ll. Picking the right flowers for your casket!
Will Slocombe (filmmaker and dude who shot our Death by Fame video) was in Chicago this week and got to hang out with Sarah and Drew of Manual Cinema (shadow puppeteers who did the title sequence for Death by Fame). I made him take a picture so I could hold it and weep jealous tears in a dark corner of my room.
Will’s awesome web series on his film job, Reception.
Manual Cinema’s new projects here.
Link/Photo Credits: Kate Chaos, Brian Ashby, #FRANKEL, Ariel Hart
Oh look, here I am hanging out on Jezebel.com again. As I said on my facebook, you’d think the bloom would be off the Gawker Media rose by now. But boy howdy it sure isn’t. It’s an absolute freakishly unbelievable delight to be featured on a site that I’ve been a reader of for so many years.
Second fun thing is a feature and interview by Film Independent. They’re a very impressive organization that does things like put on the Los Angeles Film Festival and the Independent Spirit Awards. What they’re doing featuring my genky YouTube series is way beyond me, but I’m super flattered. The questions are witty and fun and I had a great time doing it. Also, if you go to the homepage you can watch the masthead scroll from me to Andy Samberg. Not that I’ve been doing that all day or anything.
Of course you aren’t trollin’ the Ask a Mortician comments. You are a real person with real things going on. But I think this is worth sharing.
Most funeral professionals have been very kind, if not enthusiastically on board with the Order of the Good Death and Ask a Mortician. Even if they work in traditional funerals they are passionate about education and increased openness in the industry. But the few who have been against it are, well, really against it.
Here are two examples from AAM Ep 1 and AAM Ep 5 respectively.
I would never respond to negative comments in the vein of “u give my penis rigor mortis” and “ur an ugly goth” or whatever. But I chose to respond here because it’s clear that these funeral directors (both labeling themselves with the very modern term for our profession) feel strongly about me not doing this website. People who live a similar life to you, but have such a fundamentally different worldview. It’s as if someone is insisting to you that the sky is green and the grass is blue. YOU TRIPPIN’! But are they? Or are you?
I don’t call myself a funeral director because I don’t direct funerals. I call myself a mortician because I do practice death, like a beautician practices beauty and a politician practices politics.
I don’t believe that our current death industry works for us. Sure bodies get buried, bodies get cremated, things get done. But we are missing a transparency, missing an interaction with the reality of death. The knowledge of death is not for an elite group of professional technicians. That’s like saying the knowledge of love is for an elite groups of professional technicians. It is for everyone.
The idea is to get people talking about death. Even negative talking is talking. So I submit this to the Midnight Society for your own judgement.