Reading obituaries

As time passes on I find myself reading the obituaries, something I never did do a couple of decades back. I’m sure there’s an explanation for that.

But one bit that amuses/puzzles. The number of people who leave comments “RIP” underneath an obit. I mean, yes, OK, it’s that announcement of the life passed and so on so RIP seems reasonable enough. But on the other hand, well, it’s a damn obituary. RIP seems a bit superfluous.

35 thoughts on “Reading obituaries”

  1. Not nearly as bad as the commenters who write “First!” on blog posts. Thankfully none of your guests are so gauche.

    One could write a thesis in blog commenter habits. (Why does Tyler Cowen’s otherwise excellent blog have such terrible commenters?)

  2. “As time passes on I find myself reading the obituaries…”

    Yes, and noting the age of the deceased and cause of death.

    PS. So farewell then Robert Fisk (74, heart attack, since you ask). He won’t be missed in this parish.

  3. My father used to say he read the obits & death notices first, to see if he was still alive that day.
    Now I understand him.

  4. I also find myself reading the obits, with particular attention paid to the deceased’s age. As in “Damn, there’s barely five years left.”

  5. Wasn’t it Noel Coward who said that he always read the obits in the Times whilst still in bed, and if he wasn’t mentioned in them, he got up..?

  6. Well, yes, but I don;t think that would work for me – I don’t expect to turn up there when that time does come…..

    Knowing one of the blokes who subs them isn’t quite the same as being grand enough to appear there.

  7. “My father used to say he read the obits & death notices first, to see if he was still alive that day”

    My uncle once said to me “I expect that one day I will wake up and find that I’m dead”. Sadly, a few months later his expectation came true. I used to read the deaths notices in the local paper, but haven’t seen any since cancelling my delivery. Do I miss them? Not particularly, because every time a name stood out it reminded me that I could be next…

  8. At my vets’ club we have DOTW (death of the week). I tried to start a LOTW, the most surprising person still alive. Vera Lynn and Jake LaMotta can sadly not win that any more. LOTW wasn’t a success. People like the finality of an obit.

  9. You’ll know when the current generation of young’uns starts to read obits when you see just comments of

    F

    or in some cases

    S

    instead.

  10. RIP seems a bit superfluous

    The death of Diana, Princess of Wales released the wellsprings of mawkish stupidity.

  11. “The number of people who leave comments “RIP” underneath an obit….. RIP seems a bit superfluous.”

    Tim Berners-Lee was a scientific specialist, not a sociologiost. He thought that developing a world-wide communication system would result in people being able to gather in and disseminate better information to assist in making decisions.

    This turned out not to be true. Instead it enabled people to advertise their membership of a particular community, and present themselves as superior beings in their social structures. The use of ‘RIP’ here means “I am a more sympathetic being that the people who have not commented here…”

  12. Many years ago, as a schoolboy, I attended the funeral of a well respected teacher and was told that RIP stood for “Remembered in Perpertuity” based on, apparently, an old saying that if there is someone alive who has fond memories of you, then you never really die. However, at the time, I was too young to fully understand the philosophy of that.
    The only other meaning I can understand, is that, in the case of these insane Islamic suicide bombers, it can stand for “Reduced into Pieces”.

  13. We discovered yesterday that a friend from olden times is still alive: he’d penned a short memoir of Sean Connery.

    More often, of course, it’s people we have known who have fallen off the perch. Or friends of friends. A friend farewelled Robin Cook – whom he’d known in primary school – with “still a shit”.

  14. I always felt sorry for my late mother, who learned about her brother’s death in the obits. You have to come from a particularly fucked-up family to have that happen

  15. “Why does Tyler Cowen’s otherwise excellent blog have such terrible commenters?”

    You mean you don’t enjoy surreal rantings on the glory of the nation of Brazil?

    I simply cannot believe the effort that goes into those posts. Almost as monomaniacal as ragging on ritchie;-)

  16. When I were a lad… the local paper had a large classified section for such notices. There was a time when I could look at the matches and recognise a few names, maybe the hatches too. The local paper is a thing of the past, but I am sure if it were still around I would look to the dispatches

  17. I’m often in awe reading obits of former soldiers where you read that they led this attack or shot down this many enemy fighters or knocked out two enemy tanks using a frying pan (I exaggerate but you get the idea) and then do a quick bit of mental arithmetic to work out that they were 22 when they did it.

    Guy Gibson, VC, DSO & Bar, DFC & Bar, as an example of someone who achieved so much (at an age when modern equivalents in my office are nervous of picking up the phone in case they can’t cope with the call), leading the Dambusters raid and completing over 170 flying missions before being shot down and killed, a month after his 26th birthday. He also managed an appearance on Desert Island discs, where one of his choices was ‘Ride of The Valkyries’

  18. The births marriages and deaths section in the local paper was always referred to as hatch ’em, match ’em dispatch ’em in my mother’s family.

  19. As in “Damn, there’s barely five years left.”

    Or in the case of John Sessions, that I’ve overstayed my welcome.

  20. I remember seeing a funny TV play consisting mainly and repetitively of two old codgers reading the newspaper death notices aloud to each other in turn:

    “peacefully”
    “suddenly”
    “peacefully”
    “suddenly”
    “suddenly”

    Etc

    Was funnier than it sounds

  21. There are stats around about the percentage chances of you dying in the next year which reach around 50% when you get somewhere in your 90s.

    I just picture two people of that age sat together giving each other an evil stare.

  22. I see that voting machines down in 2 high Trump voting areas while at least one prick spotted hassling for the Demorats next to a polling station–illegal.

    I hope Dennis –calling a temp truce on my hostility for tonight given the importance of the election–is right about Demorats not being able to steal it. They are brazen about their efforts so far.

  23. More polling stations locked or opening hours late so Trump voters are having to go to work before they can vote. Hopefully they will come back later.

  24. “I see that voting machines down in 2 high Trump voting areas”

    I am rather hoping that all will be high Trump voting areas.

    Democrats are the death of democracy at the national level. They do not respect their opposition; they will not turn over power peacefully. If the American people vote for Biden/Harris, America is lost. Not worth saving. The problem being the American people.

    America NEEDS a big Trump win, to put the brakes on the radical Left.

  25. Twice in the last year, I commented on obituaries from my home town. People I knew who were good, important people. I was first/last/only.

    I was sincere in my comments, but their standing alone made them seem strange.

  26. Bloke in North Dorset

    Andrew C,

    I’m often in awe reading obits of former soldiers where you read that they led this attack or shot down this many enemy fighters or knocked out two enemy tanks using a frying pan (I exaggerate but you get the idea) and then do a quick bit of mental arithmetic to work out that they were 22 when they did it.

    Guy Gibson, VC, DSO & Bar, DFC & Bar, as an example of someone who achieved so much (at an age when modern equivalents in my office are nervous of picking up the phone in case they can’t cope with the call), leading the Dambusters raid and completing over 170 flying missions before being shot down and killed, a month after his 26th birthday. He also managed an appearance on Desert Island discs, where one of his choices was ‘Ride of The Valkyries’

    You should do some reading about Iraq and more importantly Afghanistan, there’s some remarkable stories.

    After one raid on a Taliban stronghold went wrong and the troops beat a fighting retreat to a safe distance they realised they had left someone behind. The also knew from radio chatter that the Taliban hadn’t found him, but it would only be a matter of time. As speed was of the essence a few guys volunteered to be strapped to the outside of Apache helicopters that weren’t designed for passengers and they flew in low and fast, found him and got out. Sadly the guy died.

    The casevac teams, flying in to battle areas in big Chinooks to get the injured out because again time is precious. They’d often do this in to areas where the Taliban was still active. That required nerves of steel from the pilots and they’d be respected in any era.

    The there’s the people who do deserve some real respect – female combat medics who went on countless patrols in active areas. They were under no illusion what would happen to them if they got caught, and it wasn’t going to be a quick bullet to the back of the head or internet beheading in an orange jump suit, well not immediately anyway. And it wasn’t unknown for them to fight, they are after all soldiers who carry a medical kit, not medics who carry a rifle.

    I think each generation can step up to the mark if they need to, its just that we really have got soft because the treat hasn’t been present. I’m still following the history of Rome and its interesting how often they had quiet periods and the legionaries got soft and lost battles when hostilities resumed. Its an age old problem.

  27. Gamecock–to clarify they were areas that had voted heavily for Trump in 2016–I share your hope that ALL areas are high Trump voting areas.

  28. The births marriages and deaths section in the local paper was always referred to as hatch ’em, match ’em dispatch ’em in my mother’s family.

    Excellent!

    I’m still following the history of Rome and its interesting how often they had quiet periods and the legionaries got soft and lost battles when hostilities resumed

    Until the late Republic they were simply citizens who might or might not fight that year, depending on what was happening. As you say, ten quiet years and you are suddenly drafting a citizen army with virtually no experience, have to train them in weeks and get them to fight. Plus they will be led by aristocratic amateurs backed up with almost zero professional logistics except for the ‘know how’ handed down (which was still vastly more than their enemies)

  29. Well, we could be reading Trump’s political obituary after the election and probably Biden’s actual obituary within 6 months.

    I see Biden confused his granddaughter with his dead son today. Coverage of that on some parts of the media and no mention in others.

  30. Obituaries, and other notices, were critical to localities in times past. If someone died, there were people who needed to know. Contracts, pensions, etc could be affected. I do wonder how such is dealt with today.

  31. Bloke in North Dorset

    Trump says votes cast after polls close shouldn’t be counted, world goes mad. Can’t they read? What democracy allows voting after polls have closed?

  32. The election-stealing that Dennis said couldn’t happen –and at this moment I am not trying to get at him as this matter is too important–seems to be under weigh.

    What Trump has said is correct BiND. Can he make it stick? He MUST have some kind of plan as what the ‘Rat’s” are up to they brazenly boasted of their plans to do. Hopefully enough forces loyal to Trump will be on hand to stop them. Trump has US military–though its commanders may have dodgy loyalty–LE personel excluding the FBI and 10s of millions of USA patriot gun owners. Biden has a modest core of Antifa bullies+ CIA type scum and maybe most of FBI.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *