Thursday, July 17, 2008

"The Art of Dying" in The Stranger

Great article today in The Stranger, one of Seattle's weekly papers. It's called "The Art of Dying." Writer Brendan Kiley—a theater critic who I wish would do more features because he's really good at them—interviews a local artist, Greg Lundgren, who is making innovative, creative decorations for headstones. Lundgren wants to add more individuality to the way people express themselves and their loved ones in death. Kiley uses Lundgren's interests as a way in to the conversation about how boring and limited our dealings with the business of death are. He points out how conservative the industry is and has always been ... and argues that baby boomers will likely push the bounds of the industry to be more accommodating. He writes:

"The death-care industry remains such a strong bastion of quiet conformity partly because the reformers of the baby-boom generation haven't started dying yet. The boomers have insisted on variety and individuality at every threshold of their lives: sex, marriage, parenthood. In their wide demographic wake, they have left us a thousand makes of vibrator, do-it-yourself weddings, and organic nonbleached hemp baby booties. But the boomers are myopic reformers. Generally speaking, they have only just begun to think about death, so have only just begun to pressure cemeteries and funeral homes for change."

Let's hope so.

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