August 13, 2005

The NYT picks up the "Six Feet Under" eco-burial theme.

Catering to the Boomers will always be good business:
Here, where redwood forests and quivering wildflower meadows replace fountains and manicured lawns, graves are not merely graves. They are ecosystems in which "each person is replanted, becoming a little seed bank," said Tyler Cassity, a 35-year-old entrepreneur who reopened the long-moldering cemetery last fall....

Mr. Cassity, a GQ-ish sort with rock-star stubble who wears sunglasses indoors, has cultural feelers well tuned for the business. He previously did an extreme makeover of Hollywood Memorial Park, the formerly bankrupt final resting place of Cecil B. DeMille, Tyrone Power and Douglas Fairbanks Jr. and Sr. With his brother Brent, 38, he runs Forever Enterprises, a Missouri company with cemeteries, cremation societies and a coffin business.

Together, they transformed the once-derelict cemetery into Hollywood Forever, a pastoral "Sunday on La Grande Jatte" of death, where weekend screenings of classic films projected onto the side of Rudolph Valentino's mausoleum attract 2,500 picnickers.

As Forever Hollywood tapped into the zen of Southern California, an oasis for the Rodeo Drive dead, so Mr. Cassity anticipates Fernwood will do for the mountain-biking, Luna bar-eating culture to the north.
So are you hankering for an eco-burial to match the other boomerified rituals of your life, like those self-penned wedding vows and videotaped childbirths?

11 comments:

Ron said...

Maybe CBGB's can transform itself into a place where boomers can have their ashes scattered! They'd make a buck, and who would notice more dust there...

"Hey! Ho! Let's Go...one last time," could be an ad slogan for them...

Real Profits said...
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Beldar said...

Actually, my ex and I used the ceremony right out of the Episcopal Book of Common Prayer — had to, in order to get permission to have the ceremony where we wanted it — but as our particular boomer-syncrasy, we memorized and spoke the ultra-traditional vows (less "obey") without being prompted. (Not wasted effort, even in hindsight and even though they didn't last.) And we forewent the video for childbirth x 4, then made up for it with post-partum pix and videos.

Yet I admit that I am indeed attracted to (if not quite yet hankering for) the notion of an eco-burial. I'm unpersuaded that my particular dust returning to dust will grow many daisies, but I'm absolutely repelled by the idea of my family spending megabucks on stuff that goes with my corpse into a hole in the ground, never to be seen again. Now, if they want to spend money on a party — a boozy, noisy one, I hope — that's great! But if they insist on wasting lots of money, I'd actually rather that they ceremonially burn it at the party rather than spending it on brass handles and embalming and such.

Ann Althouse said...

Aren't people afraid of grave robbers?

Big Hal said...

Eco or what ever, I just want it cheap. Before I deployed to ODS I told my brother every dollar you bury with me is one less for you (he was the primary beneficiary of my GI insurance) so plant me cheap. I've since passed that onto my wife, I'd much rather contemplate her spending the money on something she needs than planting it with me.

Grave robbers wouldn't get much these days, even our fillings are made out of base metals. I guess there might be a market for bones or something but it's not like bodies are being dug up for disection by medical students any more.

Ann Althouse said...

Big Hal: I'm picturing perverts.

Big Hal said...

Gross, I wasn't thinking of the other reasons someone might be interested in digging up a body. Now you've made me think of Sam Kinisen's riff on necrophiliacs. wonder if it's on I-tunes?

Kathy Herrmann said...

Thought 1: If I'm dead, then what's to worry about with grave robbers?

Thought 2: Aren't there some concerns about pollution with eco-buried bodies due to the decay? I'm thinking in terms of a lot of bodies in the ground decaying.

Thought 3: I'm definitely with Big Hal. Make my funerary cheap. Even cremation costs are too high in my opinion.

Ann Althouse said...

Roaring Tiger: re #2: What do you think the ground is other than decayed organic material? Maybe our mercury fillings are a problem or the drugs we took in our last days or the chemicals we built up in our livers over the years.

Ron said...

Is all of this discussion an argument for ritual canniablism at the moment of death? Eh, what the hell, why not?

Kathy Herrmann said...

Ann--Yeah, you're right about the ground and organic matter but I was thinking more of the impact of a mass of decaying bodies as opposed to a body here and there. The former doesn't sound too appetising to the water system.

Wonder how deep you'd have to bury the bodies too so animals don't dig them up? For example, do black bears have as strong a sense of smell as polar bears and how ambitious would they be to get a prime piece of meat?

Hmmm. I just had a vision of the bear grapevine passing the word on the great dining opportunities at parks.