Sunday surprise — mourning, a global view
[ by Charles Cameron — starts with an anthro DoubleQuote inspired by this morning’s readings & a Steve Martin tweet — though in sensitive times it might be best not to chuckle, let alone guffaw, at strangers’ strange ways ]
One: The tearless eye of a NASA camera on the occasion of the Challenger blow-up:
One of our reporters, who happened to be at a distant nasa base at the time, tells us that afterward a television monitor for nasa’s own internal satellite service kept on its screen a view from a camera on the beach at Cape Canaveral which had been following the spacecraft’s ascent. Now that camera simply stared searchingly out over the blue-gray sea to where it met the blue-gray sky, like a sailor’s widow gazing endlessly at the horizon. Twenty-eight years into the space age, the sea is as much a symbol of eternity as the sky. Both have swallowed up the Challenger and its crew, leaving behind a double emptiness of sea and space.
Two: The professional Ghanaian substitute for tearless eyes:
Here’s an account in the news:
Ami Dokli is the leader of one of the several groups of professional mourners in Ghana. In a recent interview with BBC Africa, she said that some people cannot cry at their relatives’ funerals, so they rely on her and her team to do the wailing. Dokli and the other women in her team are all widows who, after their husbands died, decided to come together to help others give their loved-ones a proper send-off to the afterlife. But crying for strangers is not the easiest thing in the world, so professional mourners charge a fee for their services, the size of which is in direct relation to the size of the funeral. If it’s a big funeral, their tears cost more.
And here’s an American FB version of the ad Steve Martin’s tweet captured:
Do you want to boost your funeral? Hire me….the professional mourner to come and cry at the funeral. Below are the “Summer Special” prices:
1. Normal crying $50,
2. Bahamian hollering $100,
3. Crying and rolling on the ground $150,
4. Crying and threatening to jump into the grave $200,
5. Crying and actually jumping in the grave $1000
That’s my DoubleQuote for the day.
A clutch of videos:
Ghanaian Professional Wailing mourners:
Promotional — funerala with a white lady mourner, extra:
Ghanaian troupe of Dancing Pallbarers:
Chinese professional mourning performer:
N’Orleans Second Line:
September 23rd, 2018 at 8:36 pm
In Spanish they are called “lloronas”; it is a very old institution in many parts in Latin America and in some places they did not charge for crying… they really mourned. It is a forgotten tradition now.
September 24th, 2018 at 6:12 am
Seeing your name in the comments section is truly a wonderful Sunday surprise, Guillermo. Thanks for the input, and you are in my thoughts and those of our friends. I’ll report on BS.