Obituary before Paradise: Understanding Life through Death

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 Obituary before Paradise: Understanding Life through Death


Looking back on the past 2018, many celebrities and the world passed away with beautiful memories. Looking at China, there are martial arts master Jin Yong, cross talk actor Chang Baohua, book reviewing artist Dantianfang, singer Bourenbayar, actor Zhu Xu, host Li Yong and so on; throughout the world, there are King of the universe Hawking, father of Manway Stan Li, author of cherry pellets Cherry Son and fashion master Giovanci, and so on. Some people say that 2018 has lost us rivers and lakes, the universe, heroes and childhood. With regret, remembrance and recollection, we pay close attention to the obituaries of celebrities, but it is not difficult to find that in the western countries represented by Britain and the United States, the media can always release long and delicate obituaries in the first time.

Take former US President George Bush, who died in late 2018, for example, when news came out, it swept the media in an instant. Sure enough, the New York Times obituary column has opened a new page to recall the life of the former president of the United States. The carefully screened large black-and-white master map, thousands of words of life history, in less than 24 hours after the death of the hero immediately issued. Behind the seemingly high level of news business is a long-standing process adhered to by European and American newspapers - it has always been the practice of journalism to write celebrity obituaries in advance. Behind this is the careful operation of a large number of obituary reporters and the attitude of Westerners towards the calm response to death.

Descartes once pointed out that the soul is immortal after death; Aristotle also put forward the idea that all living things have souls. For a long time, the ideological edification has laid a foundation for the poetry understanding and calm attitude of the European and American countries to death, and formed a unique celebrity obituary culture and funeral style.

Preparing obituaries in advance is the privilege of social celebrities

Is it disrespectful to write obituaries to celebrities in advance? This is by no means the case. This is not only the privilege that a few celebrities in Western society have won, but also a warm commemoration widely recognized by Western society. The New York Times once said, The most interesting reading in the world may be in the obituary board!

In the traditional media reports of our country, obituaries can not occupy a place, while obituaries are very common in the West. The development of obituary reports in more than 30 years has made it occupy a pivotal position in the mainstream media and attracted a lot of iron powder.

There are even three famous obituaries in American media, namely the New York Times, the Washington Post and the Los Angeles Times. Several major British media are also known as the Obituary Big Four. They are the Daily Telegraph, the Guardian, the Independent and the Times. The tradition of employing professionals to write obituaries in several major media has promoted obituaries to become a unique media culture.

In these newspapers, obituaries are not solemn, black-and-white Memorial words, but vivid and even slightly witty. The Guardians obituary page is full of pictures and texts. Every deceased person appears in a cheerful and distinctive image, and the photos are not deliberately adjusted to black and white. Academy Award winner and actress Duke died when she was 69. The cover image chosen by the Guardian is a classic portrait of her youth. The smile on the corner of her mouth and the slightly playful squint of her eyes become the most vivid portrayal of the characters. At this time, death is only the curtain call of the life drama, not sad, but a very artistic presentation.

The obituary pages of the Washington Post and the Los Angeles Times both feature a time search function. Readers can clearly know which celebrities died on the same day through time sequencing. The Daily Telegraph prefers to differentiate between occupational areas, where the deceased of similar occupations are invited into the same module. This classification also makes it easier for the public to understand which fields of celebrities have passed away recently.

Celebrity obituaries in European and American media cover not only nationals, but also foreigners, even people whose positions and political opinions are completely compatible. The New York Times was praised for an obituary about bin Laden. Michael Kaufman and Kate Zernike are the authors of bin Ladens obituary. In this 5,000-word obituary, bin Ladens personal experience is thoroughly combed, not confined to the traditional image of terrorist leaders. However, the obituary, carefully prepared for many years, did not wait for the news of bin Ladens death, but the author Kaufman died in January 2010.

In the minds of many Europeans and Americans, obituaries are not about death, but about life. They are the last traces left in the world by combing the thread of life, witnessing the past. Obituaries are full of sacred and warm colors, not cold signs.

Oolong Story of Celebrity Obituaries

Writing obituaries to celebrities in advance with rich content and excellent stories to cope with sudden death, although it can win news opportunities and high-quality reports to the media, there are also great hidden dangers: a careless technical error will lead to the leak of obituaries of the Oolong incident, can only busily apologize to the parties and the public.

The Netherlands National Geographic Channel has made such an oolong. In 2012, the media caused widespread dissemination and mourning for the news of the tragic death of 44-year-old Dutch Prince John Friesso. However, it was later confirmed by a spokesman for the Dutch Government Information Service that the two princes only suffered from an avalanche while skiing, resulting in brain damage and coma. Later, the National Geographic Channel issued an apology statement explaining that the obituary was sent because of a technical failure and the computer system was damaged, which led to the transfer of obituaries that existed in the database in advance to the playback system.

Such Oolong incidents emerge in endlessly. Queen Elizabeth II, born in April 1926, has been in office for 67 years and will soon celebrate her 93rd birthday. The elderly queen has always been the focus of obituary pages, and the queen herself has been killed many times.

The latest British Queens death incident occurred in 2015, when British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC) reporter Kawaza posted Queen Elizabeths death message on his personal Twitter and @BBC official account, which was subsequently transmitted by various media and the public. When the official confirmed that the information was wrong, the reporter explained that he left his mobile phone at home at that time and leaked the news prepared before because of the failure of hiding the posting settings. The BBC later apologized for calling the Oolong accident a Level I Obituary Exercise.

The obituary about the Queen has been the focus of attention of British media and public officials for decades. The Guardian has revealed that every British monarch dies with a unique code as a sign of obituary transmission. When King George VI died more than 60 years ago, people used Hyde Park Corner as an obituary sign. The Guardian said that if Queen Elizabeth died, the private secretary who first knew the news would immediately inform the Prime Minister by encrypted telephone and say London Railway Bridge. If the Prime Minister could not understand, the secretary would further indicate that London Railway Bridge fell. The obituary message, called the London Railway Bridge Project, was drawn up in the 1960s. For decades, relevant civil servants have held 2-3 meetings annually at Anglican headquarters to improve the plan. The Queen herself knows all about the plan and implementation.

Obituary Reporter: Mysterious and Legendary Occupation

Since preparedness for obituaries has been accepted by celebrities, brilliant and fast obituaries are a must for journalism. So who did it behind the scenes? Who writes and summarizes life for these world celebrities at the last moment of their lives? They are the obituary reporters in the major media. Although serving the media, obituary journalists work quite differently from ordinary journalists.

Bruce Weber is a senior obituary journalist of the New York Times. On August 15, 2016, the New York Times published an article entitled An Obituary to the Obituary Career. This letter summarizing the career of obituary journalists also opened the mystery of obituary journalists for us.

Theres no need to beat around the bush. After more than eight years of happily stationed in a less noticeable area of journalism, I finally closed this week and moved on. This Friday is the deadline (Ha!) Then I became a former obituary writer. Looking back on his eight years of work, Weber first paid tribute to a thousand deceased people who witnessed Webers achievements. There are 11-year-olds, 104-year-olds, police and criminals, actors and athletes, scientists and judges, even politicians and business celebrities. Some of them are well-known and some of them are notorious, Weber said, but they are ordinary people like us in addition to the special things that deserve to be remembered.

In this article, Weber also pointed out his regrets and those of his colleagues. Journalists often appreciate their writing objects, but often do not have the opportunity to meet them. Their creation relies heavily on Information Mining in the Internet world. In the archives of their own newspapers, they look for old yellow newspapers as the source of stories. Once the hero dies, obituary reporters should take the lead in contacting family members and friends of the deceased for telephone interviews. Weber said that this process, while torturing, is necessary because it can give real weight to the pain in the report.

In the article, Weber also revealed to readers that obituary reporters in the New York Times are the group with the highest average age. This is partly because obituary journalists can collect old advertisements and materials to write articles, which can make the old-age journalists not have to travel frequently. In addition, because they live in the same era with the writing objects in a large amount of time, obituary journalists have experienced a lot of history created by the participation of the deceased. In addition, Weber said, all of us have had sad experiences, and we all know how we feel just after a personal tragedy.

Marilyn Johnson, a well-known obituary journalist in the United States, has written obituaries to many celebrities, such as Marlon Brando, Elizabeth Taylor and Princess Diana. In her book Obituary First, Paradise Later, she also shares her work experience and feelings. She uses the term wandering in the country of death to describe browsing various obituary columns on the Internet. She also points out that obituary coverage is getting wider and wider. Various people have become its target of coverage. More and more journalists master the skills of obituary and create a pearl in the field of biography.

With the popularization of obituary culture, newspapers have even formed a conventional routine as their own unique obituary format. In her book, Marilyn Johnson concludes that the New York Times likes to write obituaries in terms of the definition of bereavement. The cause of death and the background of identity of the deceased are clearly explained, while the British media have the general characteristics of simplicity and simplicity, with little description of the identity of the deceased.

In addition, the book tells us that London newspapers tend to adopt a natural way to talk about the cause of death, even with a pleasant atmosphere. An obituary excerpted from the British Independent illustrates this well: last October, the Scottish Portrait Gallery held a party to celebrate the birth of the Scottish Dictionary of Womens Biographies. Sue Innis, a historian, writer, feminist activist and lexicographer, was also present. She understands that the celebrations took place a little earlier and that it will take at least a year for the work to come out. There will certainly be many celebrations for this dictionary. She said, But I may not be able to participate. I hope to have a party that I can still attend. She knew that brain cancer was killing her. Everyone in the room knows it. But she still sat in her wheelchair and talked to her friends. Five months later, she died at the age of 56.

Does the obituary journalist who manipulates the puppet line be condemned by the society? This is not the case. The culture of obituary writing is not a media wishful thinking or a trend among celebrities, which reflects the universal values of death in Western society.

Warm funerals are not miserable

Westernersattitudes towards life and death are reflected not only in the obituaries of the media, but also in funerals held by the deceased and their families. On this point, celebrities and ordinary people have something in common.

In April 2018, Barbara Bush, the former first lady of the United States, died after she gave up hospital treatment and chose to spend her last days with her family at home. Her son, former Florida Governor Jeb Bush, delivered a eulogy at the funeral on Sunday, local time. Surprisingly, Jebs speech contained no sad words, but full of memories of his warm family life and respect for his steadfast mother. The guests who came to the scene to mourn even laughed at the little things that Jeb remembered.

Jeb Bush said, My mother went to the hospital for the last time, and my father pretended to be sick just to be with her. At least I think so. Because the next day his mother was ill, he said he was ill. He went to his mothers room and held her hand while she slept. His hair stood up, he was wearing an oxygen mask, he was wearing a sick clothes, in other words, he looked like he had walked a circle from hell. But my mother opened her eyes and said, Oh my God, George, you are so handsome! The two former US presidents who sat down also smiled happily.

Barbaras example is not a case in point, but a microcosm of the whole American-style funeral. A Taiwanese girl named herself Girl has lived in the United States for more than ten years. She likes to use her blog to record her life. Summing up the three funerals she attended in the United States in the past ten years, she came to the conclusion that Taiwans funeral is more tragic, and the funeral in the United States is better than whose memory is better. She also described the process of American funerals in detail in her blog. First, the priest or priest held a ceremony in the church. Then the relatives and friends of the deceased came to the stage to address the memory of the deceased. After that, all the guests gathered to eat, drink, talk and watch videos. At American funerals where the deceased are remembered and blessed, there are few people crying, not to mention their shawls and spiritually distressed relatives and friends. Its a big party that brings people together to remember the past and miss the deceased.

One of the most impressive funerals of Girl in the United States was when she shouted GoGators in church with hundreds of strangers. Since the deceased was obsessed with the University of Florida football team from an early age, his brother asked for help at the funeral, raising his hand and shouting for the team to refuel three times. Girl said that she was also at that funeral, listening to the family members of the deceased, and laughing with everyone.

The American spirit of joy in the face of death also shows the attitude of ordinary people towards obituaries. Aaron, who lives in Minnesota, was diagnosed with brain cancer at the age of 32, but when his condition deteriorated, he took time to sit down with his wife and write his obituary. In his obituary, he confessed to everyone his true identity as Spider-Man, and the cause of death was complications caused by a bite from a spider exposed to radiation. Recalling writing an obituary together, his wife said that she had never cried and laughed like that at the same time, and was happy to accompany her husband in his lifetime. She really loves this man.

Not only are happy Americans doing this, but the same thing is not uncommon in Europe. As early as 2012, an old man in Hamburg, Germany, advertised for himself in the newspaper for relocating to a new residence, but the address of the new residence was a cemetery. The 88-year-old invited friends and relatives to the celebration and stressed that he hoped everyone would be happy in the process. In fact, the old man died a month ago, and the obituary in the newspaper was prepared for him earlier.

Only through death can we have a deeper understanding of life

Westernersoptimistic attitude toward obituaries and warmth at funerals all show their thinking about death: they think that survival and death are not absolutely dualistic opposition, while possession and loss occur in peoples hearts.

In the western world, the concept of opposition between life and death began to loosen in Paris after the French Revolution. Oberli, a physician, pointed out that the understanding of death began with major changes in clinical medicine. Clinicians understand the symptoms and classifications of diseases through pathological anatomy, understand the symptoms of patients before death through postmortem changes, and even understand physiological functions through pathological changes. In this process, pathological changes are the experiments of nature on living things, and death is the most profound analysis of life. Thus, death is no longer just the negation and meaningless thing of life. On the contrary, in epistemology, only through death can we understand life more deeply.

Under the influence of this concept, the United States carries out universal death education for children, hoping to enable children to accept the correct concept of death from an early age. When the family dies, the adults will tell the children the bad news directly, frankly indicating that the relatives will not come back, but at the same time telling the children, there are still many ways to commemorate. This process allows children to learn to face and bear, and to face death without shadows. In the American concept, children are not too young to be silent about the fact of death, afraid to frighten children, and blindly isolate disaster, terror and darkness from the world. Parents prefer that children face life and death without shadows, and improve the quality of life by grasping the concept of health.

In the United States, kindergartens and primary and secondary schools have even offered special death education courses. In class, the teacher will tell the children that death is irreversible based on life examples, such as the death of small animals raised in kindergartens, while the survivors should learn to face their grief. Professional funeral workers and medical staff will also come into the classroom in time to share their work experience and unavoidably arouse childrens gratitude and cherish for the present through real cases.

Meanwhile, death cafes began to appear in Britain in 2011. Jon Underwood, the owner of the cafe, read the newspaper reports on peoples attitudes towards death in the hope that people could face life and death more relaxedly. He began to look for venues from time to time, holding two hours of long-table conversations. He said it was important to create a relaxed environment for people to talk about life and death, and let relatives and friends get together and talk about life and death in a healthy and positive manner.

Source: Beijing Youth Daily Author: Responsible Editor of Wu Bingcong: Han Jiapeng_NN9841