June 23, 2006

Mockery Called For.

The still-recovering and not-quite-up-to-snide Man With the Golden Leg, Dr. Jim Smith, sends me a link to a peculiar story out of our saluted state of the day -- Dead Webcast: L.I. Funerals Now Available Via 'Net

West Babylon Chapel Offers Cyber Viewing Free Of Charge

Jennifer McLogan

(CBS) EAST HAMPTON When a Long Island man died this week, some of his extended family, scattered across the country, were unable to fly in for the funeral, which under Jewish custom was held within 24 hours.

But they said they felt a part of it anyway because they were able to watch it LIVE via an Internet hookup.

Emphasis belonging to Ms. McLogan. LIVE! I think there might be something ironic in there, but I'm not sure. Further:

“There is a time frame when families want to bury someone. So instead of delaying the service, out-of-towners, or the very sick, can still take part even if they are not there physically," said Kevin Gray, co-owner of The Star of David Memorial Chapel in West Babylon.

I realize it's kinda hard to pick good hometown names, but I think I'd rather not be reminded of any sort of Babylonian captivity if I were a Jewish type person. But maybe that's just me.

The chapel was recently outfitted with video cameras and Internet servers so that funeral services can be put online. His chapel is believed to be the first in the New York area to have live webcasts of funerals.


“We do it at no extra charge,” Gray said.

Viewers can see the funeral from two angles -- a panoramic view from the back and then from a second camera, a close-up of the speaker.


Gray demonstrated, and the video was clear, the sound audible.

And you were expecting? I mean, it's not like the technology itself is all that new, just the application.

Across Long Island on Thursday, it seemed everyone had an opinion on this.

NO! WAY! I just cannot believe that people might have an opinion about something! PLEASE LET'S HEAR THEM!

“How odd,” said one.

Well, I tell you, you can always rely on ol' One to come up with a kneeslapper--pithy, succinct, and rapier-sharp! MORE PLEASE!

“The infirm and elderly could use it,” added another.

Land's sake--if it's not One, it's Another! But wait, there's MORE!

Other responses included:

“Computers are impersonal.”

Said an unnamed source...

“I hate funerals anyway.”

So why not combine your hatred for funerals with your hatred of the one-eyed beast wrought by Bill Gates and you know, kill two whatevers with something, you know?

“I think you owe it to the loved one to be there in person.”

But, did we mention it's LIVE! And FREE! And that the loved one might not have wanted you there to begin with, since you never could be bothered to even pick up the phone and call? Anyway, you're probably only wanting to come by to gloat, or to go through the house and pick over the stuff your Uncle Edgar said were supposed to go to MY kids! You always were that way, you know!

Some Industry experts CBS 2 spoke with predict that webcasting will become more popular as younger funeral directors take over and Internet connections speed up.

Stealing a bit of Taranto's schtick, "What would we do without Industry experts"?

As for my actual, non-jokey opinion--not that you asked: feh. Whatever. We've already got drive-through funerals and funeral DVDs--this is the obvious next step. As long as it's free. And live.

Posted by Terry Oglesby at June 23, 2006 02:31 PM

i'm pushing for night time funerals at our church. But this internet thing just might be the way to go. Free and Live and saved to disc.

Posted by: jim at June 23, 2006 03:16 PM

I can think of one, and ONLY one genuine benefit to this one. Jews of priestly descent [sing. Kohain, pl. Kohanim] are not permitted by Jewish law to come into contact with or be under the same roof as a dead body. There are seven immediate family exceptions, including parent, spouse, or child.

Since Uncle Edgar's funeral wouldn't be covered, and there's not a ton of reason to stand outside, I can see how there would be some benefit if there are any Kohanic relatives. Otherwise, the concept is a little creepy.

And the implication that the next generation of young, hip funeral directors is on their way disturbs me even more. Ponytailed, pierced, tatooed Morticians?

Posted by: Skinnydan at June 26, 2006 12:42 PM