The Heterodox

The Heterodox

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An American Death

August 13, 2015

Death and Capitalism revisited

The Heterodox


There are few things in life which cause more obsession, fear, and angst than the contemplation of one’s own inevitable death, although for myself I can not even begin to fathom why this is, at least in regards to developing a neurosis. Anthropologists and Sociologists have long known that one is capable of learning a vast amount about any society throughout human history by analyzing their cultural attitudes towards death along with their treatment of the dead themselves. And when engaged with the contemplation of the human history of funerary custom it becomes rather intriguing to single out the most recent addition to this history–this thanatotic province being the modern American funeral. It is within the bounds of this region where one journalist’s influence is felt with plenary force, and I am alluding of course to Jessica Mitford and here seminal expose on the American funeral industry, The American Way…

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