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Thread: Public Funerals

  1. #1
    Invincible Jersey Girl Tami's Avatar
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    Default Public Funerals

    I might not be the only person who is trying to find the right way to think about this, so perhaps some discussion is in order.

    The easiest kind of public funerals to understand are those for people who have, in their own right, led notable lives or committed acts of heroism. Someone like John Lewis or even Officer Brian Sicknick.

    The hardest public funerals to understand are those for people who became public figures because of the way they died. Because they were victims of violence at the hands of a Poice Officer or some similar situation.

    In the first example, you are honoring people for a life of service.

    In the second, it feels more complicated. These are people who, if they had passed away from natural causes or from an accident, something more commonplace, would have only been known to their families and immediate community.

    How would you frame this? How should people think about this and understand it?
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    Astonishing Member babyblob's Avatar
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    this may sound bad but I have not been to a funeral since I was 10 years old. I dont go to funerals of family I did not know or to people I knew but barely knew. I dont plan on going to the funerals of most of the family I have left or the few friends I have. I will go to my fathers because it is important to him. I am very close to my mother but I doubt I will go because the My sisters and I have a lot of problems and it would be hard for them to deal with me on top of everything.

    I honor the people I knew in my own way. I dont need to be around o bunch of people in a church listening about an afterlife I do not believe in. Funerals are for the living not the dead.

    Public figures having big funerals that is fine. I just dont watch them on tv. I been sad about a public figure dying but not enough to watch hours and hours of news coverage for someone I never met. Not presidents or Senators, Police, Celebs, or Victims of crime.
    Last edited by babyblob; 04-22-2021 at 02:02 PM.
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    Astonishing Member Zelena's Avatar
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    I think that, in the first case, people who died were important to you and you assist because you feel a connection to those who are not there anymore.

    In the second case, funerals are important for the community you belong to and this event is a part of the story of this community. For a reason or another, this death meant something to the group, and it serves as a cement to tighten the links. I never assisted to a public funeral, so I suppose it would depend on my commitment to the group.

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    Invincible Jersey Girl Tami's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Zelena View Post
    I think that, in the first case, people who died were important to you and you assist because you feel a connection to those who are not there anymore.

    In the second case, funerals are important for the community you belong to and this event is a part of the story of this community. For a reason or another, this death meant something to the group, and it serves as a cement to tighten the links. I never assisted to a public funeral, so I suppose it would depend on my commitment to the group.
    I'm mostly talking about funerals that are broadcast on TV, in the news, that bring notable people to attend or even to give speeches.

    Every funeral is important to someone. In some cases they are important to the immediate family. In others they are important to a larger community. The funerals I am really focusing on are the ones that are given national importance [or even international importance].
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    I also will never attend another funeral. They offer no comfort and no closure. The experience is pure pain. Public funerals and public figures at funerals are nothing but personal appearances to build the attendee's reputation. Am I cynical? Yes, I freely admit it. But using a death to build your own reputation is rather evil.

    I can understand the desire to honor people who have done good and have passed. I make exceptions for those on occasion. However those I attend are for closer and not famous friends. A celebraton of a life far surpasses collected regret and sorrow.
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    Loony Scott Taylor's Avatar
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    I rarely have attended funerals. My last one was for my mother in law who passed a year and a half ago. It was fine, I even played piano accompanying my daughter on a song she chose to honor her grandmother.

    But like the song says - "gravestones cheer the living, dear, they're no use to the dead."
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    Invincible Jersey Girl Tami's Avatar
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    I appreciate the comments, but most seem to be way off the topic.

    When the News is broadcasting the funeral for Daunte Wright when public figures like Amy Klobuchar and Rev. Al Sharpton are attending, are they there because of Daunte Wright? Or are they there for what he represents? Does it make a difference? Same for others like him and like George Floyd.
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    Astonishing Member babyblob's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Scott Taylor View Post
    But like the song says - "gravestones cheer the living, dear, they're no use to the dead."
    This. I read a book years ago where a high ranking priest cares little about the hype surrounding the funeral of a celebrity at his church. A lower ranking priest is shocked and asks why. The old priest says,

    "In death everyone is the same. It is only the living who cares. Despite what the people in this church think God grants no extra boons in heaven because this man has an Academy Award."

    We build up our celebrities that when they die we act like it is the worst thing in the world. Hell look at Paul Walker. The man crashed his car doing 130 MPH down a public street. But people acted like it was the pope who died.
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    Astonishing Member babyblob's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Tami View Post
    I appreciate the comments, but most seem to be way off the topic.

    When the News is broadcasting the funeral for Daunte Wright when public figures like Amy Klobuchar and Rev. Al Sharpton are attending, are they there because of Daunte Wright? Or are they there for what he represents? Does it make a difference? Same for others like him and like George Floyd.
    Lets be honest it is because of what they represent. If they had died of old age, or any other random way they would get their paragraph in the obit page of the paper, maybe a story depending on how they died, but no one outside their families would have noticed or to be honest not cared that much. And their services would not be on tv and Al Shaprton or Klobuchar would not have gone.

    Let's be real, when random strangers die most people will go "Oh that is a shame." They may care about the reason they died but unless there is a personal connection most people just dont think much about it after a few weeks/days/hours.
    Last edited by babyblob; 04-22-2021 at 03:41 PM.
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    Extraordinary Member Phoenixx9's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by babyblob View Post
    This. I read a book years ago where a high ranking priest cares little about the hype surrounding the funeral of a celebrity at his church. A lower ranking priest is shocked and asks why. The old priest says,

    "In death everyone is the same. It is only the living who cares. Despite what the people in this church think God grants no extra boons in heaven because this man has an Academy Award."

    We build up our celebrities that when they die we act like it is the worst thing in the world. Hell look at Paul Walker. The man crashed his car doing 130 MPH down a public street. But people acted like it was the pope who died.
    Good point. If Paul Walker was so concerned for his daughter, he would not have been so wild and reckless as driving 130 mph. I feel sorry for his daughter.
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    Loony Scott Taylor's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Tami View Post
    I appreciate the comments, but most seem to be way off the topic.

    When the News is broadcasting the funeral for Daunte Wright when public figures like Amy Klobuchar and Rev. Al Sharpton are attending, are they there because of Daunte Wright? Or are they there for what he represents? Does it make a difference? Same for others like him and like George Floyd.
    My point is that a funeral is about the living rather than the dead. So if someone is there, its for their own self-centered reasons.

    After that, its all about how one interprets another persons intentions. Seems reasonable to assume that people attending a funeral for someone they didn't personally know are there because of what the dead person represents - be it police violence, patriotism or whatever. Not about what the dead person actually accomplished. Getting shot dead is not an accomplishment.
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  12. #12

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    Quote Originally Posted by Tami View Post
    I appreciate the comments, but most seem to be way off the topic.

    When the News is broadcasting the funeral for Daunte Wright when public figures like Amy Klobuchar and Rev. Al Sharpton are attending, are they there because of Daunte Wright? Or are they there for what he represents? Does it make a difference? Same for others like him and like George Floyd.
    I stand by what I said:

    Quote Originally Posted by CaptCleghorn View Post
    Public funerals and public figures at funerals are nothing but personal appearances to build the attendee's reputation. Am I cynical? Yes, I freely admit it. But using a death to build your own reputation is rather evil.
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  13. #13
    Astonishing Member Zelena's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Tami View Post
    I'm mostly talking about funerals that are broadcast on TV, in the news, that bring notable people to attend or even to give speeches.

    Every funeral is important to someone. In some cases they are important to the immediate family. In others they are important to a larger community. The funerals I am really focusing on are the ones that are given national importance [or even international importance].
    You thought about the Prince Philip’s funerals? Some people liked him sincerily. Other were there because it was their duty to attend. Other people saw in this event a page of their own life that was turning because he was always there.
    And others were quite exasperated by all the media hype…

    Public funerals are about the symbol. The Prince Philip was already a symbol during his life.

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    Amazing Member Adam Allen's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Tami View Post
    I might not be the only person who is trying to find the right way to think about this, so perhaps some discussion is in order.

    The easiest kind of public funerals to understand are those for people who have, in their own right, led notable lives or committed acts of heroism. Someone like John Lewis or even Officer Brian Sicknick.

    The hardest public funerals to understand are those for people who became public figures because of the way they died. Because they were victims of violence at the hands of a Poice Officer or some similar situation.

    In the first example, you are honoring people for a life of service.

    In the second, it feels more complicated. These are people who, if they had passed away from natural causes or from an accident, something more commonplace, would have only been known to their families and immediate community.

    How would you frame this? How should people think about this and understand it?
    I don't think that we need to default to the most cynical interpretation. It is just a matter of noting collective sense of loss; those who gather are there because they want to acknowledge that sense of loss, because they share in it. Note that this sense of loss does not require that a given person had a deep personal connection with the person who has died, or that they will be overwhelmed by a sense of despair in private moments because that person is gone. You can mourn collectively with others out of respect for the reality that they are experiencing a loss that will not be over, once the ceremony has ended ... or, in the case of these public funerals, once the news cameras have gone.

    I think that looking at it this way untangles some of that ambivalence, as far as the distinction between a funeral for someone whose life was dedicated to service, versus one for someone whose life was private, before their death made headlines. In the latter case, I think the loss tends to reverberate beyond an individual's immediate family or community when people in the wider community are able to identify with the humanity of the person who passed, with the humanity of the friends and family who just lost someone. You don't need to know someone personally to understand on a visceral level that it hurts to lose a child, a parent, a sibling, a friend.

    Then in particular, when it comes to these tragic deaths, where some random, regular person was just going about their everyday private lives, but then were killed due to forces way out of their control -- police violence, a mass shooter, even something as unfortunately mundane as a drunk driver -- I think that legitimately adds to the sense that we can all relate, that on some level, we all share in this loss ... because, in these cases, it is not only that we all are able to feel the pain of losing a loved one, but as well that we can all relate to the pain a death being so random and senseless, so needless.

    If a soldier dies in war or a police officer in the line of duty, a family and community has still suffered a loss, but at least in that case, on some level it was not completely unexpected. The person lost knowingly placed themselves in harm's way, with a willingness to risk themselves to serve others. But if a random person went to a store to buy something, and somehow circumstances or forces converge in a way that they die a very public and preventable death -- that loss reverberates to the wider community because it could have been any of us. In other words, it's the very fact that the person who died was not someone special and accomplished, that makes the tragedy more universal. How painful would the reality be, that your loved one was never anybody special to the larger world, except for their dying a very public and senseless death?

    I mean, all this said -- I'm not saying that I, personally, would attend any of these public funerals. More just that I can see the point of it being matter of publicly grieving together, that attending is a matter of acknowledging the grief of those in attendance ... for that matter, the grief of those watching, in the case of a George Floyd or Daunte Wright. Because it is certainly true, there are people who grieve for them, who never knew them personally. Those strangers legitimately grieve, because these men again could have been their own son or father, brother or uncle, nephew, cousin, with some random changes of circumstance. So I think, if I was myself a public figure, I could see attending a memorial service for them, out of respect for the pain felt in the larger community.
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  15. #15
    Loony Scott Taylor's Avatar
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    I would have attended John Lennon's funeral.
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