View Full Version : Speaking for the dead.

Great Harlequin
27-04-2005, 20:44
For anyone who has read Speaker for the Dead (http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/tg/detail/-/0812550757/102-4678214-9509706?v=glance) by Orson Scott Card. (http://www.hatrack.com/) should understand a little of what I'm saying. The most esteemed author once wrote that he grew dissasatisfied with funerals. He didn't approve of the idea that in funerals we revise the life of the dead, to give the dead a story so different from their actual life that, in effect, we kill them all over again. He claims that is too strong, we edit their lives, we make them into a person much easier to live with than the person who actually lived. He rejects that idea. Speaking for the dead should be more 'honest' about what you say. Not balancing them out or only saying the bad points but giving the true story. To understand who the person really was we need to know their true story. We never find out that story but at the time of the death it is the only story worth telling. Many Christians have rejected the idea as blasphemy. However, I had and hope to continue to be the "Speaker for the dead" in my community. I finished my first speaking last week. It was a very moving experience and literally half the village turned up to watch. But I would like to see what people think of these radical ideas. I would like to continue. But should I?

27-04-2005, 21:09
In direct answer to your question - of course.

I'm surprised that staying true to the person in question is even an issue. I can't imagine any rational person desiring that we present anything other than a true representation of a deceased person.

27-04-2005, 22:11
I'd like my tombstone say:
Jimmy - Watched so much star trek that he lost his mind, killed him self and left a not that said: I want to see the 17th star trek movie when it comes, so could you be kind and send a tv down to hell for me - thank you

But seriously, yes you should continue, why not??
if someone else (Christians) have a problem with it its their problem for being SOO stupid, then again I'm atheist so I rarely care what Christians think anyway... :)

Lord Lucifer
28-04-2005, 01:30
I find 'warts'n'all' more respectful than euphemism, so you can probably guess my side of this. Provided it's done respectfully of course.

If I live to a great ago, like my 70s or 80s, or 90s... I want my tombstone to read 'Only The Good Die Young' ;)

28-04-2005, 12:44
"He was a simple man, who died of complications"

I still think thats one of the best quotes to go on my tomestone, provided I do actually die of complications. Or atleast something that sounds complicated.

Anyway on topic, I always assumed that you should remember the person as the person actually was. I don't see how telling the truth (so long as it isn't out right slagging them off) is blasphemous. Certainly hope people are honest at my funeral. Cause if they aren't they are so gonna get haunted :D

The pestilent 1
28-04-2005, 15:06
go ahead, i feel that i would be rather angry myself if people tried to gloss over my... odd... nature.
it is what i am, pretending that i was a happy-go-lucky person, loved by all, would be an insult to my memory.

though ive always wanted the phrase "death didnt stop me last time... what makes you think it will this time?" on my gravestone.
(it makes a bit more sense when i tell you that id strangled myself in the womb, and was pretty much dead at "birth" -always gave me the giggles that one)

that, or "Kamoose whaiheise"
(Death is only the begining)

Great Harlequin
28-04-2005, 16:02
Surprising actually. This week I've had 5 people asking for speakings for their relatives, friends etc. I'm going to be speaking for Alica Davis this weekend. It really is an amazing experience. I seem to have an aura of respect in my community now :). The only hard thing about the 'job' is the fact that in order to understand the person I'm speaking for I need to understand how they effected others around them. What they hoped for, what they rejoiced in and what they regretted. I have to find causes to their actions which are often found deep and buried in their childhood. I find getting people to answer my questions is the hardest part of all.

28-04-2005, 17:41
Though I think you're intentions are good, how can you actually speak the whole story without actually speaking to the deceased? No matter how many people you talk to it will still be hard to understand the person and tell his story.
You are still doing good work though.

The pestilent 1
29-04-2005, 15:23
slight problem there though, they are dead afterall.
i want people to joke at my funeral.
at my expense too.
but maybe im just a weirdo.

29-04-2005, 15:29
"slight problem there though, they are dead afterall."
That's exactly my point on why it would be so difficult to get the true story of their lives.
But it does sound like GH is doing all they can so I trust him for an almost entirely accurate picture.

Flame Boy
29-04-2005, 16:56
It's a lot easier if they were a happy-go-lucky type to tell their story... but if they are a reclusive person, or the didn't talk often... then it would make getting the deceased person's side of the story very difficult. I don't know how people could understand my motivations when I tell them as little as I do about my feelings... perhaps that's a message for me to be more open to people? :)

It's an interesting notion, and I'm glad... I wouldn't want someone spouting praise at my funeral... it wouldn't present me fairly... It's not like I need to sell myself like I'm going for a job interview if I've.... departed, do I?