we all know that we don’t live forever and that we eventually die, but somehow we have this expectation that in death we will have something eternal, if only a plot of ground. the idea that our dead body is entitled to a spot forever and ever and ever seems weird to me – like, why the insistence on eternity, on forever, for our bodies? why in death are we suddenly supposed to have a piece of the earth all to ourselves forever? (and on a practical note, aren’t we going to run out of room?)
don’t get me wrong – i don’t think it’s respectful to disrupt a dead body, and even though i don’t connect with that sort of veneration, i respect people‘s grieving and I can understand how the idea of having a spot to call your own indefinitely can be appealing. it just seems like a lot of time and energy and money are spent on what happens to your body after you’re dead, and how sometimes people will ignore what’s good for them during life but obsess over what might be good for their body after they die.
anyway, in the episode of ask a mortician that i am embedding below, caitlin talks about oven crypts in new orleans and how the concept that your plot of land is yours forever – common in the western world – it’s just not something that happens everywhere, not even everywhere in the united states (where i live). as someone who is used to seeing sprawling lawns with headstones and people buried underground, and who has acknowledged the permanence of that particular spot for that resting body, it’s somewhat refreshing to know that not everybody in the world is so obsessed with the permanent resting spot for your body.
tonight, to celebrate the new year, i have my best friend over and we’re watching silly/bad/interesting/funny videos on youtube together, and i had to show him ask a mortician. we’re using my tv and searching on there and this is the first one that crops up – it’s not about death but they (she has a co-star for this one) do metaphorically slaugther the happy crappy myths about very white, very chubby, very happy santa claus.
christmas might be over but it’s never too late to hear the eerie truth and you can always set a reminder in your calendar to pull up this video and watch it before christmas next year!
soft white underbelly is a youtube video series that brings a human face and voice to folks on the margins of every day life: drug addicts, sex offenders, homeless people, folks who have lived in remote rural locations. each video is an interview with minimal questions and maximal time for the subject to share their stories and tell you about their life. there is no fancy studio set with expensive lighting – these are stark and plain, which allows the person and the life and the story to be the only thing for you to focus on.
to me, this is an amazing series that gives people a look into lives that are easy to ignore, and each interview helps you understand our lives and where we end up as a function of the choices that we make and the choices that are made for us. there’s some talk of regret, of things that might have gone differently if a different choice were made, but mostly these interviews are about how people find peace and meaning in their existences.
there’s also no judgment in these interviews. the person asking the questions simply asks and listens – maybe exclaims “wow” now and then, or prompts the speaker to talk about how a certain event felt – and clearly wants the story to be told and the person to be heard and respected as a human being. along the way, you get a glimpse into how the legal system functions, how money and privilege can change the outcome of a scenario, and how one little difference in somebody’s life can have an impact that lasts far beyond what anyone could have imagined
what I like about “mike” in particular is how forgiveness comes up, and how he struggles to distinguish between between who somebody is and something that they did, particularly when the something they did is out of character or especially hurtful. forgiveness is a really hard thing for people to understand, but i think when you start hearing peoples stories it becomes easier to understand how they could ask for forgiveness, and easier to offer it with a peaceful heart.
the other day (december 14) was bob paris’s birthday. bob paris was a famous bodybuilder in the 1980s who is well known for having an incredible physique with remarkable aesthetics.
bob also famously came out in ironman magazine in 1989, becoming the first athlete to come out while still actively involved in their sport he said he came out because he fell in love (with rod jackson, with whom he became quite famous in the gay world) and at that time because it was not OK to be gay, he lost the majority of his sponsorships and endorsements
as a kid figuring out i was gay, bob taught me that gay guys could be something other than hairdressers and weren’t necessarily feminine (that’s what i thought about gay men at the time). as an adult, i understand what the 80s were like and what kind of statement it was to come out at that time, and what that statement would (or could) cost you. bob taught me that it was OK to be me even if the world wasn’t ready for it
anyway, i found this little tribute video on youtube that i thought was interesting because it contains a few insights from bob in his own words, as well as various footage from his competitions in the 80s so you really get an idea of what he was like then
i’ve been a fan of the future sound of london since about 1999 when i heard “dead cities” for the first time and fell in love. “lifeforms” was the next album i bought from them (a double cd!!) and i was hooked.
this video is from when they were on chillout zone (i don’t know what that is/was – i wasn’t watching mtv in 1996) and is really freaking wild visually. the music is all from “dead cities” though most of the songs are abbreviated and/or completely reworked – samples that played together in a series in a song pop up here and there in transitions, or played in a different order or with another song. still, it’s a great chance to have a listen to them and trip out a little
the first time i heard this song i loved it – super catchy and i thought the percussion was interesting. it felt like a bunch of talented friends playing together like you could just feel their harmony – anyway, i soon found out that “interesting percussion” was a fucking tap dancer!! that made me love them even more.
here’s a video of them on letterman. i didn’t see an “official” video when i looked through youtube though i could swear i saw one years ago, so either i’m making shit up in my head (very probable) or it’s not easy to find/no longer available (also quite probable)