Gut check
June 6, 2000 12:48 PM   Subscribe

Gut check - I find this very disturbing. Inevitable, but disturbing. Look at the page as it loads up and please share the first thoughts or emotions that grab you.
posted by ZachsMind (32 comments total)
I know this is nothing new. There's probably countless funeral oriented websites on the 'Net. I think it's the name. When I came across this it was just like chalkboard scratching or someone rubbing a balloon.

posted by ZachsMind at 12:50 PM on June 6, 2000

If I was in so much of a hurry that I needed a casket within 24-48 hours, I wouldn't hang around waiting for all that text-as-gif to load.
posted by mattw at 1:03 PM on June 6, 2000

From your post, I feel that I should be shocked. But the next time someone in my life dies, I may check out this service more closely. They're right. It's hard to plan all that stuff if you've never had to do it before--especially while you are depressed or in a state of shock. As for the title: it's a little blunt, but I prefer it to those hallmark names of real-life funeral homes--"Happy Meadows," "Eternal Vistas," etc.
posted by grumblebee at 1:04 PM on June 6, 2000

I think it's pretty damn cool. I didn't know there were online casket sites out there. I want to be buried in this one. I'm not Irish, but damn wouldn't that be the coolest thing?

No wait, I want this one too! Hot damn, I'm a cowboy! Can a person have two caskets?

Seriously, nothing surprises me anymore. About 3 years ago I learned to stop worrying and love the Internet. You want to sell pig vomit? Go right ahead! Dirty underwear? Let me build it for you!

posted by perplexed at 1:09 PM on June 6, 2000

I won't need it, creamation is the way to go, screw paying up the wazoo for a box to stick in the ground.
posted by corpse at 1:10 PM on June 6, 2000

I think it's a good idea too, those funeral home guys are pure evil, they make you feel horrible about not getting the mink-lined interior, and rust-inhibitor and extended warranty, or whatever. God, i hate them!
posted by sonofsamiam at 1:17 PM on June 6, 2000

Chuckled first. I'd read about this in article months ago in USA TODAY. Actually the funeral industry is one of the major rips of the century, anything that disrupts the status quo is good. Personally, spread my cremated ashes out of a soup can, I'll be gone. And read Mitford's The American Way of Death, recently revised.
posted by aflakete at 1:21 PM on June 6, 2000

Just one more comment: tightly closed caskets actually SPEED the decomposition process, anaerobic bacteria thrive in O2 limited environments.
posted by aflakete at 1:22 PM on June 6, 2000

Goddamn it!!!!! When am I ever going come up with an idea and get it out before someone else????

This summer I was going to do my own "Cyber-Funeral", complete with an interactive/shockwave funeral featuring mimes re-enacting my death, mylar baloons for all the kids, and my wife in a red dress dancing all over the place....

My reasoning?
1) You never get to hear all the nifty stuff people say about you after you croak...
2) My wife said "no way" to everything in my funeral plans (except maybe the red dress)...
3) With my damn luck, I'll live forever....

Uh you did say "Share your first thoughts" as you read this, right? Well that was it. :0)

"Reality: What a concept!" - Robin Williams
posted by EricBrooksDotCom at 1:27 PM on June 6, 2000

I think I experienced the same type of chill that ZachsMind did. True, it makes the funeral process easier and cost-efficient, but DAMN, do we WANT death to be that easy and quick? Point, click and there you are, buried all with the help of the internet.
posted by Zosia Blue at 1:32 PM on June 6, 2000

Nice design, except for the aforementioned "GIF text".

Didn't like the scrolling status-marquee, though; especially on an LCD display...

Sorry, I know this wasn't the category of response you were looking for, but death qua death doesn't faze me too much. Deaths of people I know, yeah. Gore, yeah. (Hmmm: no pun intended).

posted by baylink at 1:34 PM on June 6, 2000

Hey, here's where dotcomguy can end his internet experiment!
posted by Dean_Paxton at 1:37 PM on June 6, 2000

for the Irish who instinctively know that they are the envy of the rest of the world.

Damn Straight! (perplexed knows it)

About a year ago I had a client that wanted to do memorials on-line. I was damn proud of what I came up with design-wise. To bad he went belly up (pun intended).
posted by Mick at 1:39 PM on June 6, 2000

That Irish casket is the tackiest thing I have ever seen!
All you Merkins :-) Honestly, next thing you'll tell me is that you believe in leprechauns ;-)

I'm Irish, by the way, and I'm pretty certain no Irish person would be seen dead (literally!) in something like that!!
posted by tomcosgrave at 2:30 PM on June 6, 2000

I like the New York one. I wonder if there would be any way to smuggle it in to New York, New York and have my funeral conducted by an Elvis impersonator. I'd pay for that.
posted by elgoose at 2:42 PM on June 6, 2000

I would swear I heard something about in Georgia, you're required to have, not a casket, but some sort of container, even for cremation. There was a couple years back or so a big investigation there into how the funeral biz rips people off. Fun fact: many of Georgia's legislators made their fortunes in the funeral biz. With that in mind, it's suddenly *not* so incomprehensible that you should be required by law to buy a big pine box to be torched along with you...

I took a minute to try to search on this to see if I could find specifics; no luck, but I did find this really charming website called with a swooshy logo, even. hah! There's also, where you can search for, um, graves.
posted by Sapphireblue at 2:59 PM on June 6, 2000

I helped a co-worker use a similar service about a year ago. She had a distant relative die, who had no closer family than her. She was able to provide this person with a dignified funeral because of the lower costs. How much would you pay to bury your second cousin? I do not have a problem with death or any treatment of it. I think more trouble comes from life and believeing you will live forever. Having said that, I'm with Corpse who don't wanna leave a corpse, and all about cremation. When I close my eyes I can see the flames.
posted by thirteen at 3:03 PM on June 6, 2000

>DAMN, do we WANT death to be that easy and quick?

no, we want it to be slow and painful.
posted by Zeldman at 4:34 PM on June 6, 2000

>no, we want it to be slow and painful.

Okay, let me rephrase :). Do we want the memory of our LIVES to be obliterated that quick?

That's what I meant. I think.

posted by Zosia Blue at 4:46 PM on June 6, 2000

the memories of our lives cannot be obliterated with a funeral service.

the thing about a funeral is that you rarely get to shop around. funeral parlors can charge what they like because suriviors will go to the closest place and make arrangements. boom.

I don't really have a problem with an internet service of this type.

another thing, we as a culture have negated death to a huge degree. people used to die at home, wakes were held in the home, it was part of life, like birth. now we tend to scuttle our old people away out of sight and try to pretend that death doesn't exist.

death is the natural end to every life. I think that, as a culture, we're in denial of that.

posted by rebeccablood at 5:29 PM on June 6, 2000

Why do people make such a big deal about someing being online? Sure, online services can be quicker ("CAN" is the operative word. I ordered a DVD from a month and a half ago, and still haven't received it, because it's "backordered." Yesterday, I emailed them and asked them if they wanted me to buy a copy of it somewhere else--I see it all over town--and mail it to them so that they can complete my order.) But other than speed, what's the huge difference?

People go on and on about, but once the novelty wears off, I think we'll all find that basically a book is a book, no matter where you buy it. (Even if it is an e-book. An article in last Sunday's New York Times Magazine pointed out that when Gutenberg invented the printing press, books were considered a vulgarization of illuminated manuscripts. And when paperbacks appeared, people thought the same thing. Now people are up in arms about e-books. But in a few years, everyone will calm down and just continue reading.)

Sure, the Internet is changing the world in many ways, but not everything is revolutionized just because it appears online. When we are all able to upload our neurons and discard our bodies, perhaps the fundimental characteristics of funerals will change. Until then, you may be able to buy the same tacky coffins online that you can buy offline, but you'll still need to actually bury the body in real world earth.
posted by grumblebee at 6:10 PM on June 6, 2000

One thing that people tend to forget is that funerals are for the living, not for the dead. Admittedly, there are a huge number of details that need to be sorted out one way or the other in order to sort out what needs to be done to tie up the loose ends. In some cases, people/companies take advantage of the need for expedience and the resulting emotional vulnerability of their clients. That's a shame, but there do need to be services to help out...
posted by plinth at 6:38 PM on June 6, 2000

It's very simple. We should put our dead in Hefty bags and let them go to the landfill, where the powerful acids and bacteria in their bodies will quickly break them down and maybe even the huge amounts of plastic we throw away.

Dead is dead. That's it. Close the door, strike the lights, this is it, you've hit the heights. There's no more rehearsing, just hearsing of parts. You've done all your parts to heart.

Seriously, dead is dead, that's it, you're meat and let's stop pretending its significant. When I go, I may have them give me an open platform least the crows can get a meal out of it.
posted by Ezrael at 6:54 PM on June 6, 2000

Greg wrote some amazing stuff about death vs. memories the other day
posted by mathowie at 7:28 PM on June 6, 2000

This one has got to be the best. I almost can't wait! Someone kill me!
posted by Nyarlathotep at 8:29 PM on June 6, 2000

Yeah, I just read it and wow. Concise, from the gut of his heart. It must have been a tough to help pack the left-overs of a life. Create memories, live today--today.
posted by goodhelp at 8:38 PM on June 6, 2000

> death is the natural end to every life. I think that, as a
culture, we're in denial of that.

Is there anything we're *not* in denial of, as a culture?
posted by baylink at 7:12 AM on June 7, 2000

This reminds me, I want to make my own casket. Is that bad?
posted by jamescblack at 8:22 AM on June 7, 2000

Gee, when I saw the come-on I thought this was going to be something interesting. Then I find out it really is just caskets for sale on the web ....

What I wanna know is, where's
posted by dhartung at 8:59 AM on June 7, 2000

Hey James... No, it's a very good thing. Build away. You can use it as a coffee table or a bar or something - just take the shelves out when you're ready to, um, use it. (Seriously, I've seen people use home-built caskets for just such purposes.)

Of course, if your survivors get within 300 feet of an undertaker^H^H^H^H^H^H^H^H^H^H mortician^H^H^H^H^H^H^H^H^H funeral director (which is what the industry insists they be called now), they'll be made to feel like vile, heartless violators of your memory for burying you in That Old Thing instead of a nice shiny new casket that the undertaker can sell them for thousands of dollars.

I just read Jessica Mitford's "The American Way of Death Revisited" and was appalled by some of the more recent developments. Did y'all know that thanks to intense lobbying of the California legislature by the funeral industry, it is now illegal (although almost entirely unenforceable) to scatter cremated ashes on public OR private property anywhere in the state of California? Seems the the industry was losing too much money on cremations, 'cause they weren't getting to sell enough high-end caskets among other things.

Fortunately, there's a loophole -- there's nothing to prohibit family members from claiming cremated ashes, and I doubt that the cops are going to follow them home to prevent them from scattering them anywhere. Stuff like this really pisses me off.

I'll add a strong second to aflakete's recommendation. Read Mitford's book if you plan to die anytime in the future. Those five pages on what a mortician actually does to your body during preparations for the (wholly unnecessary) embalming process are unbelievable. I know that I'll be dead and so what, but I'd rather be harvested for my usable organs and then put in the Hefty bag than have one of those ghouls do that to me.
posted by chuq at 12:28 PM on June 7, 2000

I got a chuckle out of the "Live Customer Service" link. Sounds like they are trying to work both sides of the street!

posted by wiinga at 12:58 PM on June 10, 2000

My favourite thing about this site is that it looks even worse if your browser's default color is not set to white. Of course, there's also the empty angle bracket in the footer. Ooops! I guess we missed that one . . .
posted by BoyWithFez at 9:32 AM on June 6, 2001

« Older redesigns   |   Newer »

This thread has been archived and is closed to new comments