Drive through Funeral Home Viewing?
July 21, 2000 1:44 PM   Subscribe

Drive through Funeral Home Viewing? This has got to be the most disgusting thing I've seen in a long time. "Convience in your time of grieving"??? How about respect for the dead? [obscene word] convience. THIS is where American society is just going down the tubes. Some things just should NOT happen. And this is one of them.
posted by eljuanbobo (10 comments total)
Why even bother going?On the other hand this is not as bad as having your family consent to allowing your corpse to be photographed by Joel Peter Witkin. It's also your last chance to have a nice laydown by the window.
posted by thirteen at 2:04 PM on July 21, 2000

If you can't go to a funeral home visitation, then don't. But to display a corpse behind a window like a piece of meat or a coat seems tacky and coldhearted, to say the least.

Of course, I take the viewpoint of my Aunt who lived to be nearly 101 year old. "If you couldn't come and spend two hours with me alive, you're not going to come and gawk at me for two hours when I'm dead!" She had no visitation, just a simple graveside service that was elegant and very befitting her. I think I want the same thing when my time's up.
posted by Dreama at 2:48 PM on July 21, 2000

Eh? What's wrong with Joel Peter Witkin prints? People shy away from his work because he uses corpses to construct still lifes but some of his work-- if you can get beyond the fact that it's comprised of corpses-- is truly stunning.

Perhaps people have religious issues with using human bodies for anything but fertilizer, but as far as I'm concerned, give away as many organs as possible (a number of my brother's organs gave other people a new lease on life when he died), use it for art, or cremate away.

I would only be concerned if the individual whose body is in question had set out explicit instructions to be buried or cremated (or whatever) and those instructions were not followed, but I haven't heard any stories like that relating to Witkin.

posted by bryanboyer at 3:20 PM on July 21, 2000

I think it's a good idea, but if you're going to drive there, why not go in? Perhaps a live web cam feed for a viewing.
posted by corpse at 3:39 PM on July 21, 2000

I was kidding, I think JPW's pictures are beautiful, and I could look at them for hours. A friend of mine has two of his prints and I cannot hold a conversation in the same room they are located in, they demand all my attention. I would rather my body go to science than art tho. I always feel bad for those 2 kissing old man heads, if they only knew.
I am cremation bound for sure, no rotting corpse I.
I know nothing about how the bodies are obtained, I always imagined that they were spent medical cadavers, some prints show autopsy stiches. Creative re-use.
posted by thirteen at 3:58 PM on July 21, 2000

thirteen- My aunt is an avid JWP collector and her guest room has six huge prints hanging on the walls. Needless to say, I sleep on the couch when I visit that part of the family.
posted by bryanboyer at 4:15 PM on July 21, 2000

I think hanging around corpses period is one of the stranger and creepier customs humans have come up with.
When you die you. leave. your. body.
posted by aflakete at 4:42 PM on July 21, 2000

Ugh. Drive-through is for fast food, ATM's, and pharmacies, not for making grieving and paying one's last respects more "convenient". Death and the rituals associated with it are not convenient - a viewing window in full view of the public not only makes it "convenient" for those who can't be bothered making time to show their respect, but makes a mockery of both it and the often very painful grieving that people go through.

Slightly off-topic: I was curious and looked up Joel Peter Witkin, and found a site showcasing ten of his prints - I'm providing the link for the curious who may not have heard of him before, like myself, but be warned, it's not, er, conventional. (I personally found them disturbing.) People are free to pursue whatever decorating avenues they wish but I couldn't imagine wanting to have one of these up on my wall...
posted by sammy at 6:10 PM on July 21, 2000

Walt Kelly invented the drive-through funeral home in the late 1950's as a joke for the Pogo strip. That sequence can be found in "Ten Ever-lovin' Blue-eyed Years with Pogo", which is well worth your while anyway if you can find a copy. But I fear it's out of print.
posted by Steven Den Beste at 6:40 PM on July 21, 2000

I don't find it sick at all. Very convenient. ;-)
posted by FAB4GIRL at 12:28 PM on July 22, 2000

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