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December 14, 2005 6:40 AM   Subscribe

Brazilian mayor outlaws death. Faced with a shortage of cemetary space, and other options outlawed, what are the choices? "Of course the bill is laughable, unconstitutional, and will never be approved," said Gilson Soares de Campos, an aide to the mayor. "But can you think of a better marketing strategy?"
posted by Balisong (20 comments total)

 
The first thing that came to mind after reading that quote was the Onion story Bill Introduced As Joke Signed Into Law.

On a more serious note, though, this (introducing bills that are never going to pass) really bothers me. I know I'm in America and the story is from Brazil, but it happens here, too--politicians will introduce a bill or force a vote on something just to put their opponents in a tight spot. (Aside: why the hell is there so much competition in politics? Politicians are supposed to be serving the people's interest, not their own.) For elected officials who swear an oath to uphold the Constitution, the very idea that they could introduce a bill that is plainly unconstitutional, so long as it is expected to fail, sickens me.

Wow, that was more of a rant than I thought. Enjoy the Onion story, though!
posted by Godbert at 6:52 AM on December 14, 2005


Is cremation outlawed by the Roman Catholic Church? Because that's the only reason I can think of why the government would outlaw the practice. Practically and aesthetically speaking, Hindus got it right.
posted by SeizeTheDay at 6:55 AM on December 14, 2005


No, it isn't outlawed. They really frown on spreading the ashes though. The urn is supposed to be interred.
posted by sciurus at 6:56 AM on December 14, 2005


Practically and aesthetically speaking, Hindus got it right.

You mean float them down the Gangees? er Amazon river?
posted by Balisong at 6:58 AM on December 14, 2005


from link: "The town produces 90 percent of the watercress consumed in Brazil."

Wow. I think.
posted by koeselitz at 7:18 AM on December 14, 2005


Balisong writes "You mean float them down the Gangees? er Amazon river?"

Not very practical - the distance between the city in question and the Amazon river is almost 4000 km (~2500 miles). And the largest river near Buriti Mirim runs west to join another major river hundreds of miles away (and not east to the ocean). I say, burn them all.
posted by nkyad at 7:37 AM on December 14, 2005


The article says, "Environmental protection measures rule out cremation." Talk about a dumb law!

My father thought it was deeply selfish, nearly sinful -- and he wasn't really religious -- to take up valuable land with your corpse. And that was back before there was any particular scarcity. He thought cemeteries were essentially a giant jobs-protection racket. In California, at least, cemeteries are required by law to be kept maintained, though I'm not sure where the money comes from to do so.

In Brazil, they appear to have outlawed both the constructtion of new or expansion of existing cemeteries (an excellent idea), but then also banned cremation. So what the heck are they supposed to do with the bodies?
posted by Malor at 7:49 AM on December 14, 2005


Brazilian mayor outlaws death.

He had to. It was killing people.
posted by jonmc at 7:51 AM on December 14, 2005


I can hardly wait until he outlaws taxes.

And having the football pulled away from you at the last second when you try to kick it.
posted by GuyZero at 8:00 AM on December 14, 2005


In California, at least, cemeteries are required by law to be kept maintained, though I'm not sure where the money comes from to do so.

I'm guessing those insane fees you pay to buy a plot?
posted by antifuse at 8:06 AM on December 14, 2005


GuyZero writes "And having the football pulled away from you at the last second when you try to kick it."

In Brazil it does not make any sense, as football is played a round (!) ball and on the top of that, you're not allowed to put your hands in the ball anyway (the "foot" part is really enforced down here - go figure).
posted by nkyad at 8:10 AM on December 14, 2005


Yeah, but you know Lucy would Maradona that mother as soon as Charlie was about to kick it.
posted by Simon! at 8:55 AM on December 14, 2005


Aside: why the hell is there so much competition in politics? Politicians are supposed to be serving the people's interest, not their own.

Ideally, politicians should believe that their positions do serve the people's interests; in a dichotomous system, that means their opponents' positions do not. Thus, gaining and holding an electoral majority is a goal in the service of the people.
posted by aaronetc at 9:10 AM on December 14, 2005


Practically and aesthetically speaking, Hindus got it right.

Do you know how nasty the Ganges is? Ewww.
posted by Foosnark at 9:26 AM on December 14, 2005


Ah, now I see what they were trying to draw attention away from.
posted by Eideteker at 2:03 PM on December 14, 2005


In the 70's there was a popular Brazilian soap opera (another Brazilian mania is the following of soap operas, most of them on prime time TV) called "O Bem-Amado" (The Beloved). It's major character was the mayor of a small and poor Brazilian city placed at northeast Brazil.

It was the time of the Brazilian Economical Miracle and the government was focused on public development such as huge bridges, roads and so on. The mayor, therefore, decided to build a new cemetery in the town. To his bad luck, nobody would die and he could never officially inaugurate the cemetery (and thus gather some political credits).

In the last chapter, he's killed by a gunman and therefore he really, really inaugurates the cemetery.

Here's a bunch of comments all in one reply...

koeselitz: I didn't go searching for major watercress producers, but I doubt that this information is right. Maybe they meant 90% if watercress consumed in Sao Paulo, Brazil's largest city and close to the city mentioned in the article. As far as I know, watercress production is very ease, any stream of water will do. And it doesn't' make any sense sending watercress from Sao Paulo to other states far away.

Malor: the article is talking about a small city in Brazil, not the whole country. I live in Porto Alegre, south of Brazil, a large city (1.5 million people). We have cemeteries (most of them are the vertical ones, with burials on walls) and cremation. My father and my grandfather were cremated (I agree with your father, BTW). Spreading the ashes, tough, was kind of difficult.

GuyZero: I don't see taxes being outlawed in any Brazilian city in a near future. Or far future.

Simon!: we don't need Maradona. We have Ronaldinho... :-)

Eideteker: good call. :-)
posted by rexgregbr at 4:33 PM on December 14, 2005


This reminds me of the old Bill Hicks rant about pro life people.

"If you're so pro life, instead of locking arms and blocking clinics, why don't you lock arms and block cemeteries. Let's see how committed you are to this premise."
posted by taschenrechner at 6:13 PM on December 14, 2005


How One hundred years of solitude-esque of him.
posted by azazello at 6:25 PM on December 14, 2005


It's official...logic is dead.
posted by deusdiabolus at 12:35 AM on December 15, 2005


Wait. Couldn't they just kill death? Or would that be against the law too?
posted by Football Bat at 9:14 AM on December 15, 2005


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