Category Archives: News

Euthanasia: An Introduction

In popular media, the question often posed is: should euthanasia be legal? 

There are several things about the phrasing of this question that are misleading.  First–and this may surprise you–certain forms of euthanasia are in fact legal in the United States.  Second, the question regarding euthanasia and legality, as most popular media refers to it, is actually a question of active/voluntary/physician-assisted euthanasia and its subsequent legality. And lastly, contention with regards to euthanasia is most often connected with the idea or possibility of the occurrence of passive or active/involuntary/physician-assisted euthanasia or as it is more commonly called: a form of homicide. 

It is clear that popular media does little to distinguish between various forms of euthanasia and at best conflates a large number of issues surrounding euthanasia.  This in turn serves to further complicate any discussion regarding it.   With that being said and given that the passing/rejecting of some landmark legislation is in the not too distant past, I want to take this opportunity to consider the topic of euthanasia.  Because the topic is incredibly complex, this will most likely be one of several posts concerning itself with euthanasia.  In this post, I simply intend to present and generally define some terms and provide an overview of euthanasia in the United States*.  In (a) later post(s), I intend to look more closely at the euthanasia debate itself.

*Note: I will only be discussing states that have legislation regarding euthanasia; I am not treating states that have case precedents regarding euthanasia (i.e. Montana, Texas, etc.)

An Introduction

The euthanasia debate spans a large number of fields and theoretical orientations and I believe it can be agreed upon that decisions regarding euthanasia are incredibly complicated due to a confluence of factors encompassing religious, medical and philosophical changes over the centuries.  The complicated nature of this social issue necessitates defining euthanasia as well as utilizing a structure of conceptualization that is categorical in nature.  According to Pfeifer and Brigham (1996), euthanasia, as an overarching concept, refers to any action or inaction by an individual to encourage the death of another who is suffering from a terminal condition.  There are three subcategorical distinctions: active and passive; voluntary,  nonvoluntary, and involuntary; and physician-assisted and nonphysician assisted.  Conceptualizing euthanasia in this manner enables one to concretely and distinctly describe an act of euthanasia (e.g. passive/physician-assisted/ voluntary euthanasia, active/nonphysician assisted/voluntary euthanasia, etc.).  Moreover, it also, according to  Pfeifer and Brigham (1996), enables one to begin to investigate and gain a more concise understanding of current attitudes toward euthanasia.

The terminology and subsequent definitions you encounter below were taken from the introduction written by Pfeifer and Brigham for the Journal of Social Issues: Psychological Perspectives on Euthanasia (1996) unless otherwise stated.

Active and Passive

Active euthanasia is defined as an act of commission in which a person engages in some direct action in order to hasten the death of a terminally-ill individual.

Passive euthanasia is defined as an act of omission such as the issuance of a DNR instruction by a physician that results in the death of a terminally-ill patient.

Voluntary, Involuntary, and Nonvoluntary

Pfeifer and Brigham (1996) do not distinguish between, and actually conflate, involuntary and nonvoluntary euthanasia.  Recently, and in particular among journals concerned with ethics and/or law, a distinction between these two terms is prevalent.

Voluntary euthanasia applies to circumstances in which an individual’s wish to die is known and/or expressed through directives such as verbal statements, living wills, etc.

Harris (2001) and Jackson (2006) are more specific in their language and apply voluntary euthanasia to circumstances in which a patient is able to and does provide informed consent.  This encompasses directives such as verbal statements, living wills, etc.

Nonvoluntary euthanasia applies to circumstances in which the individual is unable to specifically indicate his or her wish regarding death.

Harris (2001) and Jackson (2006) are more specific, stating that nonvoluntary euthanasia applies to circumstances in which the patient is unable to give informed consent, for example when a patient is in a persistent vegetative state, if the patient is a child, etc.  Nonvoluntary contrasts with involuntary, according to Jackson (2006), as follows:

Involuntary euthanasia applies to circumstances in which euthanasia is performed on a person who is able to provide informed consent, but does not either because they do not wish to be euthanized or because they were not asked.

Physician-assisted and Nonphysician assisted

Physician-assisted euthanasia applies to circumstances in which a physician assists an individual.

Nonphysician assisted euthanasia applies to circumstances in which a nonphysician assists an individual.

Euthanasia in the United States

We have, over the years, witnessed cases and lawsuits arise due to acts involving active/voluntary/physician-assisted euthanasia (i.e. Dr. Kevorkian, etc.); active and passive/voluntary/nonphysician assisted euthanasia (i.e. cases in which someone fulfills the request to die of another); and active and passive/nonvoluntary/physician-assisted euthanasia (i.e. Terri Schiavo, etc.).  Given this and the outcomes of these various cases, it is obvious that euthanasia is both contentious and complicated at best nor entirely legal or illegal.

Death With Dignity Movement

Typically within the United States patients retain rights to refuse medical treatment and elect appropriate management of pain even if it may hasten their death via explicit consent, advanced directives, living wills, etc..  Even though the average American may not conceptualize this as a form of euthanasia, it is. And, more specifically, it is a passive/voluntary/physician-assisted form of euthanasia.  In popular media, I have rarely seen these rights referred to, let alone referred to in the context of euthanasia. However, a lot of media attention is given to active euthanasia, especially cases in which the euthanasia is contested by a party to have been involuntary.  Active euthanasia of any kind is not legal in most states.  However, there are exceptions. According to the Death with Dignity National Center (2012), two states enacted acts legalizing and allowing residents to elect active/voluntary/physician-assisted euthanasia.   These two states are Oregon and Washington.  In Oregon and Washington, these acts allow “mentally competent, terminally-ill adult state residents to voluntarily request and receive a prescription medication to hasten their death” (Death With Dignity National Center, 2012).  The acts passed in both Oregon and Washington have their origins in a movement referred to as the Death with Dignity movement.  This movement’s purpose is to provide options ranging from advance directives to physician-assisted dying so that those facing terminal conditions may take control of their own end-of-life care.

Currently, according to the Death with Dignity National Center (2012), there are six states (Hawaii, New York, Massachusetts, New Jersey, Vermont and Pennsylvania) considering death with dignity-related legislation and two states that have banned death with dignity-related legislation concerning active/voluntary/physician-assisted euthanasia (Georgia and Louisiana).  In Hawaii, legislation was introduced in 2011 and carried over to the 2012 Regular Session, which adjourned May 3; The bills have not moved forward.  In New York, legislation was introduced in February; the legislature enacted clause stricken on May 9th.  On November 7th, Massachusetts voters defeated the bill introduced to their legislature by a narrow margin of 51 percent to 49 percent with 96 percent of precincts counted (Boston Globe, 2012).  In New Jersey as of September 27th, the legislation has been referred to Assembly Health and Senior Services Committee. In Pennsylvania, their bill was referred to Judiciary committee in February of 2011 and is currently active for consideration. And in Vermont, their bill was referred to Senate Committee on Judiciary in March 2011 and the House Committee on Human Services in February 2011. The bill received a hearing in Senate Judiciary Committee on March 2012.  Supporters of the bill worked to give all the Senators an opportunity to vote, and, according to the Death with Dignity National Center (2012), used a Senate rule which allows certain pieces of legislation to be voted on as an amendment instead of as a self-standing bill.  Vermont’s legislative session adjourned on May 5th.*  

Considering the number of states that have/are entertaining death with dignity-related legislation, it is apparent that the death with dignity movement has made considerable advances both in its visibility and its number of proponents since the late 70s/early 80s.  While I am not sure I can agree that euthanasia is “the most pressing social issue of our time” (Pfeifer and Brigham, 1996), I do believe it may be one of the most ethically complicated and contentious.   

*NOTE: For more specific information about these bills or the acts in Oregon and Washington, please visit the Death with Dignity National Center website and follow the links to the appropriate resources.  You may also visit your state legislature’s website.

SOURCES

Boston Globe, The. (7 Nov 2012). Mass. doctor-assisted suicide measure fails. Retrieved 8 Nov 2012 from http://www.boston.com/news/local/massachusetts/2012/11/07/backers-mass-doctor-assisted-suicide-concede/oXZDcgOUbqwhlqzb63FSPO/story.html.

Death with Dignity National Center. (2012). “Research Center: national efforts.” Retrieved 9 Nov 2012 from http://www.deathwithdignity.org/advocates/national

Harris, N.M. (2001). “The euthanasia debate.”J R Army Med Corps 147 (3): 367–70.

Jackson, J. (2006). Ethics in medicine. Polity. ISBN 0-7456-2569-X.

Pfeifer, J.E., Brigham, J.C. (1996). Psychological Perspectives on Euthanasia. Journal of Social Issues 52 (2): 1-11.

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Filed under Academic Resources, Cultural Attitudes toward Death, Culture, Introduction, News

Funeral Divas Founder Arrested at Chicago Conference

Funeral Diva’s Logo

Last updated Nov. 12, 2012: Two updates are to be found at the end of this post.

I just became aware of this incident this morning while checking new stories via ConnectingDirectors.  Before I continue, for those of you that are unaware of what Funeral Divas Inc. is, Funeral Divas’ purpose, according to the Funeral Divas website, “is to encourage and uplift every woman in the funeral service industry and provide comfort to grieving families[.]” Funeral Divas, Inc. describes itself as “not your traditional woman’s group.” Funeral Divas, Inc. was founded by Muneerah Warner, who has been reported to be a licensed funeral director. Although, I am now hearing accusations to the contrary.  I also wrote an entry previously introducing Muneerah Warner and a reality show that she was pitching back in January of 2012.

Funeral Divas and Fraud

As of November this past weekend, Muneerah Warner is now the subject of fraud charges that arose during a continuing education conference in Chicago that took place from Nov. 7 through Nov 10.

Muneerah Warner being escorted from hotel in Chicago; Image credit: ConnectingDirectors

According to a ConnectingDirectors’ article as of November 11th,  the founder of Funeral Divas, Muneerah Warner, was arrested during a continuing education conference on charges of credit card fraud.  It was also reported that the Funeral Divas Facebook page and twitter account were unreachable.

As of today, Connecting Directors has published some screen grabs, which are currently no longer available, concerning the developing scandal that were previously released by the Funeral Diva’s Facebook page and Twitter accounts before the were deactivated.  Additionally, ConnectingDirectors received and published recently resigned Funeral Divas board member Monica Vernette Gray’s response concerning the entire incident. This personal recap from ex-board member can be found here on ConnectingDirectors.

As far as I can tell given what little information is currently available, Muneerah is said to have fabricated a story claiming she was the victim of theft and was thereby unable to cover charges for conference rooms, speaker fees, etc. (According to Gray’s response,  Warner’s bank claimed there was no evidence supporting her claim to be victim of theft.)  Muneerah is said to then have asked at least one of her fellow board members to give their credit card to the hotel and, unbeknownst to this board member, authorized the hotel to charge the fees to the card.  This eventually lead to the hotel filing charges against Warner and advising those involved to call their banks and have charges reversed, etc.

The questions still lingering are what actually happened here?  Was this just a misunderstanding? What happened to the money that had been raised by Funeral Divas, Inc. to sponsor this event?  How will the cancellation of this weekend be handled given that it affected at least 40 some individuals who were seeking to complete their continuing education requirements?  And perhaps more importantly, just how extensive is this situation of fraud with respect to Funeral Divas, Inc.?

As more information surfaces, I will be either updating this post or writing a new entry.

UPDATE 1:

ConnectingDirectors received an official e-mail on behalf of Funeral Divas, which they just published.  Among other things, it included the following snippet to clear-up rumors that have been going around since that weekend: “First of all, the conference was not a scam. All courses were approved by the funeral boards of Illinois and Indiana. The founder was detained and released on her own recognizance. She was not charged with a crime. Funeral Divas, Inc. has not lost any money and there was no check fraud or any kind of fraud.”

UPDATE 2:

Even though there are still many questions left unanswered, it appears that just a few moments ago ConnectingDirectors published Mrs. Warner’s response to their question concerning the whereabouts of the money paid by attendees and sponsors.  Mrs. Warner said, “The money was not due until the day after the conference. The detainment happened on Wednesday the money was due on Friday. The question should be why wasn’t I given a chance to pay.”

In addition to this information, ConnectingDirectors also reported that two Funeral Divas, Inc. board members have resigned: Samantha Vang and Monica Gray. 

SOURCE: ConnectingDirectors.

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Prohibitions on Death: YOU SHALL NOT PASS.

Last updated Nov. 15, 2012

“It is forbidden to die in the Arctic town of Longyearbyen.  Should you have the misfortune to fall gravely ill, you can expect to be despatched by aeroplane or ship to another part of Norway to end your days.  And if you are terminally unlucky and succumb to misfortune or disease, no-one will bury you here.  The town’s small graveyard stopped accepting newcomers 70 years ago.” Duncan Bartlett, of the BBC News,  wrote in his article on this little Arctic town in July of 2008.

Longyearbyen is the largest settlement and administrative center of Svalbard with roughly 1,500 inhabitants (as of 2008) and is

Image Credit: Spitsbergen Travel

located on the Western coast of Spitsbergen, the largest island of the Svalbard archipelago.  This group of islands lies between Norway’s Northern coast and the North Pole. Thus, it should come as no surprise that Longyearbyen’s prohibition on death was a necessity, as it was discovered bodies were not decomposing.  Rather, these permafrost preserved remains were becoming a morbid curiosity.  Scientists even removed tissue from a man who died there and were able to extract intact traces of the influenza virus he died from during an epidemic in 1917 (Duncan 2008; Sumitra 2012).

But Longyearbyen is not the only town with a prohibition on death! Itsukushima, Japan; Falciano del Massico, Italy; and Sarpourenx, Cugnaux, and La Lavandou France; and Lanjarón, Spain also have prohibitions on death.

Click to enlarge; Image credit: Wikipedia

The Japanese island of Itsukushima is considered a sacred place according to Shinto belief.  And thus, in an attempt to maintain the sanctity of the island according to Sumitra,  “no deaths or births have been permitted near the shrine [since 1878.  Furthermore,] [p]regnant women nearing the date of delivery aren’t allowed there, nor are the elderly or the terminally ill” (2012).  This may seem strange but this concept is not an entirely unfamiliar one.   The island of Delos, birth place of the twins Apollo and Artemis, was considered a sacred and holy place by the ancient Greeks and various measures were taken to “purify” the island. In the 6th century BC, Peisistratus ordered that all graves within sight of the island’s temple be dug up and the bodies removed to locations on or beyond the perimeter (Whitaker, 2012).  In addition, in the 6th century and under instruction from the Delphi Oracle, the island was purged of all dead bodies and it was decreed that no one shall be allowed to give birth or die there (Whitaker, 2012).

On the other hand, the reasons for prohibitions in France and Italy are not, shall we say, so lofty or practical in nature considering the issue they seek to address.  Since March of 2012, according to Craggs,  it has been illegal to die in Falciano del Massico, Italy.  The reason: the village has no cemetery and has been feuding with the near by town that has one since 1964 when local boundaries were redrawn.   Luckily for the residents of this village, the mayor is now seeking land to build a cemetery.

Meanwhile in France, in an ordinance posted in Sarpourenx (2008), residents were also forbidden to die.  The mayor even threatened harsh consequences should any of the residents deliberately disobey and die.  In addition to Sarpourenx, there are two other settlements in France that have created similar bylaws and/or ordinances, La Lavandou (2000) and Cugnaux (2007), for similar reasons.  All three towns were denied permission to annex land and/or build on certain proposed areas (i.e. requests to expand their town cemeteries were denied). The Mayors’ claimed their responses were proportional to the absurdities of the laws and/or regulations obstructing the requests for land.  As far as I could find, nothing has been resolved in these French towns with the exception of Cugnaux.  And so it seems the residents of La Lavandou and  Sarpourenx will not be as fortunate as their Italian counterparts.

And lastly, we have Lanjarón, Spain.  It seems to have been the first town to outlaw death due to lack of space in the local cemetery back in 1999.  Mayor Rubio blamed “inertia by his predecessors for the tight quarters at the cemetery” and he further insisted that the edict banning death was not about hubris, but, rather, a “response to politicians pestering him for a quick fix to the problem that dogged them for years” (Stiffs, 1999).  

OH, but wait! Of course, there is at least one more.  Mayor of Biritiba Mirim, Brazil, following in the footsteps of the French, filed a public bill to prohibit his some 28,000 residents from dying back in December of 2005 in response to federal regulations restricting new or expanding cemeteries in preservation areas (BBC News, 2005).   The bill was not passed nor denied as far as I could find.  Thus, this issue is still in suspense to my knowledge, but the government has agreed to a vertical cemetery from what I understand.

So, it seems banning death is becoming the trending political response to what has been called, by several of these mayors, absurd politics/law.  Well, isn’t that just– oh, how shall I put it–productive.  Religious beliefs and practical responses to environment and climate change aside, these prohibitions (France, Italy and Brazil) are laughable.  Maybe I find it utterly ridiculous because I do not understand the nuances of French law or peculiarities of Italian pride.  Or maybe I am missing an important environmental factor wrapped in these nuanced laws.  Or maybe I am just missing the political and satirical brilliance that is the purpose of these bans. My question at the moment–to the mayors threatening harsh penalties on those who disobey their decrees– is just how exactly will those that break the prohibition be punished,  that is if you do intend to directly punish those that break the prohibition and not indirectly punish them by fining their bereaved families? Will you not put a pillow beneath the poor souls’ heads?  Will you remove stuffing from their pillows or their casket liners? Will you take their shoes and socks so they are forced to face the afterlife with an chronic case of cold feet all in an attempt to ensure that they duly pay for and regret their decision to disobey the law and die?

It makes me think of the Fellowship of The Rings when Gandolf tells the balrog that he shall not pass…

…Except in this case YOU SHALL NOT PASS takes on an entirely new meaning.

Image Credit: Oddity Central

Sources:

Bartlett, Duncan. (2008, Jul 12). “Why dying is forbidden in the arctic.”  BBC News. Retrieved 14 Sept 2012 from <http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/programmes/from_our_own_correspondent/7501691.stm&gt;

(2005, Dec). “Brazil City proposes ban on death.” BBC News. Retrieved 14 Sept 2012 from <http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/americas/4527868.stm&gt;

Craggs, Ryan. (2012, 13 Mar). “Death made illegal in Italy town Falciano del Massico.”  The Huffington Post. Retrieved 14 Sept 2012 from  <http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/03/13/deaths-illegal-italy_n_1341120.html&gt;

Dobbie, Andrew. (2008, Mar 5). “Cemetery full, mayor tells locals not to die.” Reuters. Retrieved 14 Sept 2012 from <http://web.archive.org/web/20110604150100/http://www.reuters.com/article/2008/03/05/us-election-cemetery-idUSL0552076620080305&gt;

Henley, Jon. (2000, Sept 22). “Citizens live under law’s dead hand.” The Guardian. Retrieved 14 Sept 2012 fro <http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2000/sep/23/jonhenley&gt;

Ionox. (2007, Nov 25).  “Forbidden to die because lack of room.” Weird Globe News. Retrieved 14 Sept 2012 from <http://web.archive.org/web/20080528204947/http://weirdglobenews.com/forbidden_to_die_because_of_lack_of_room.html&gt;

Johansen, B.F., et al. (2008, Jul). Longyearbyen – The Cruise Handbook for Svalbard.  Norwegian Polar Institute. Retrieved 14 Sept 2012 from <http://cruise-handbook.npolar.no/en/isfjorden/longyearbyen.html&gt;

Stiffs.com. (1999, Oct 2).  Spanish mayor outlaws death. Retrieved 15 Nov 2012 from <http://web.archive.org/web/20080709215313/http://www.stiffs.com/backoct99.html&gt;

Sumitra. “4 places where dying is not allowed.” (2012, Mar 16). Oddity Central: Collection Oddities. Retrieved 14 Sept 2012 from <http://www.odditycentral.com/pics/4-places-where-dying-is-not-allowed.html&gt;

Whitaker, Alex. (2012). “Delos.”  Retrieved 14 Sept 2012 from <http://www.ancient-wisdom.co.uk/greecedelos.htm&gt;

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So, What Would You Ask a Mortician?

Before I go into this post, I want to apologize for my absence this past month. I needed a little break from everything and to finish midterms, but I’m back!

I want to start March off with a “fellow-blogger-spotlight” type of post. Who is in the spotlight? Caitlin Doughty. Maybe some of you have heard of her from Connecting Directors, Jezebel, or the Huffington Post. Or maybe you’ve seen one of her youtube videos from the series “Ask A Mortician.”

Who is Caitlin? Caitlin is a licensed funeral director in Los Angeles.  She decided to put herself out there to give people a chance to ask questions and hopefully change the way people think about death.

I came across Caitlin through a friend of mine who sent me a link to an article about her in Jezebel. Caitlin is founder of Order of the Good Death, a site containing Caitlin’s blog, collections of essays, and other things related to death. Here’s what Caitlin says about herself on her bio page:

Caitlin, your mortician, was born on a balmy August evening on the cruel, unforgiving shores of O’ahu, Hawai’i.

An even tempered, bookish child, there was little reason to believe that she would ultimately seek the life of a psychopomp, tiptoeing the line between the living and dead. It was only when she began to ask the pertinent questions that her parents began to suspect a proclivity towards the macabre….

After completing high school, Caitlin fled her island home on the first plane east to Chicago. In the comparatively frigid halls of the University of Chicago, she worked towards her degree in Medieval History. Her thesis, entitled “In Our Image: The Suppression of Demonic Births In Late Medieval Witchcraft Theory,” is a must read for all lovers of demon sex and the medieval church.

A year out of college found your mortician living in California, where she began to apply to crematories in an attempt to put into practice her theoretical death interests. Since her first job as a funeral arranger she has worked as a crematory operator, a body van transport driver, and returned to school for her degree in Mortuary Science. She is currently a licensed funeral director in Los Angeles.

After reading the Jezebel article, visiting her website, and watching the first installment of “Ask a Mortician,” I must say I’m glad that there are others out there who are passionate about this profession and are able and willing to write about it.  It’s definitely getting people talking and I think that is great. Of course, I do not necessarily agree with everything she writes, but I do give her props.  Her website is an interesting collaborative work and her blog contains many interesting topics.  So, if you’re looking for something interesting and aren’t afraid to face one of your fears, stop by and check out Caitlin’s space!

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Love or Death: A New Reality Show

Love Or Death, pitched by Muneerah Warner, is new reality show that will be focused on Funeral Divas (female funeral directors) and their search for love while staying dedicated to death. According to Warner’s pitch on KickStarter.com:

“Follow their romantic, professional and spiritual journey as they struggle to gain the same respect as men in the funeral industry while looking for love in a world where men find their jobs disgusting.

Follow them to work and see what they do. Watch them as they balance work and their romantic lives and stay embalming fluid free all at the same time.

This all female cast includes mortuary students, funeral interns, embalmers, funeral directors and funeral home owners. They are fun, sexy, beautiful and they put the fun back in funeral. The dating process can be nerve racking but dating a Funeral Diva can be full of surprises when death comes knocking at her door.”

For more information about Love Or Death, please see: Love or Death: Funeral Diva Pitching New Reality Show or Reality Show to Focus on the Lives of Funeral Divas.

Who is Muneerah Warner?

Muneerah Warner is an African American licensed funeral director, magazine publisher, and youth leader from Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.  According to Mathew Gillies of MySendOff.com, “she is known as the ‘Beyonce of the Funeral Industry’, for others, they know her as the CEO of Eternal Enterprises, Inc., however, Muneerah Warner has another claim to fame as the ‘Funeral Queen’ – she’s colloquially known as the founder of ‘a social and support group for funeral industry women’ elegantly named Funeral Divas, Inc..”  She attended Temple University from 1999 to 2001 and received her degree in mortuary science from Pittsburgh Institute of Mortuary Science in 2002.  After receiving her degree, she opened her own funeral home, Warner Funeral Home, and worked as a funeral director for 10 years.  Additionally, she wrote for the Philadelphia Funeral Business Examiner.  Currently, Muneerah is C.E.O. of  Funeral Divas Social Group, a civic and social organization, and Editor-In-Chief for Funerals Today Magazine.

For more information about Muneerah, please see her article in Afro Puffs & Ponytails, Inc..

My Thoughts…

This is a fascinating undertaking!  If this project receives enough funding and is picked up by a network, this reality series has the potential to normalize the funeral industry in pop culture and generate a considerable interest (please academia please!), not to mention potentially good press.  My only concern is that the longer it runs the worse press it will generate (by worse I mean a preponderance of negative attention), as many reality TV series devolve into a Jerry Spring-esque circus show in order to maintain and increase viewership.  Anyway, while I would love to see this series take off and continue for more than one season, I do hope that Love Or Death will be able to avoid the common fate of many a reality TV series and go off air with some semblance of dignity.

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An End and a New Beginning

Seeing as we just ended 2011 and entered 2012, it seems appropriate to share the 15 most read funeral industry articles of 2011 according to Connecting Directors.  (The original Connecting Directors article may be found here.)

  1. Genesis Casket Company Plans $16.5 Million Investment, 300 Jobs
  2. Visser (SCI-owned) Workers Quit In Protest
  3. Modern Architectural Design Helps Skokie Funeral Home Celebrate Life; Building is Part of Trend Away from Sites that Reflect Death
  4. 10 Bodily Functions that Continue After Death
  5. Funeral Platform of the Future
  6. Horrific Story, When Buying a Casket Online Goes Wrong
  7. Widow Sues Funeral Firm for $16M
  8. 13 Things a Funeral Director Won’t Tell You (I read this article and it is complete crap. Please read the comments; they are actually [for the most part] accurate and much more informative.)
  9. The 10 Companies that Control the Death Industry
  10. Strip Mall Funeral Home Taking Heat from Opponents
  11. Mortician Poses Dead as If They Were Alive
  12. Basic Funerals Takes Lighter Approach with TV Spot
  13. Funerals Undergoing an Eco-friendly Makeover  (UPDATE: Ohio Regulators Stop Funeral Home from Liquefying Bodies)
  14. Batesville Debuting Endura Burial Vault at ICCFA Convention
  15. Exclusive: Genesis Casket Company Explains Simplified Pricing Structure, Distribution Strategy and Relationship with Gestamp North America

Aside from these stories, Connecting Directors made some predictions about what they think we will see this year!  Check out the predictions!

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