13 March 2013 Leave a comment
The University of Chicago Magazine just published my profile of Caitlin Doughty, the person that you really want to bury you. Caitlin’s a practicing mortician, the founder of The Order of the Good Death, and, according to some, “the Bill Nye of Death.” She produces the delightfully macabre web series “Ask A Mortician.” Here’s a link to the online version of the piece, though I prefer this, a pdf of the piece with more photos and a more sophisticated layout.
Caitlin tends to say things like this:
“All of these things that we’re doing, like embalming and heavy sealed caskets, to keep our body from going through that natural process [of decomposition] are denial mechanisms. They’re tangibly, factually denial mechanisms. That’s just a fact. You can think that’s more important than not – you can say, ‘oh but it’s very important that we do this because it’s what makes us human, its what makes us a more sentient, higher being.’ You can say that. But it is a lie that you’re telling yourself. I’m not saying that it’s not a beautiful lie and that it can’t mean a whole lot to people and can’t bring them great comfort in their time of death. But it is a lie.”