Sex. Death. Art. Monkey brain transplants. You’ll hear about all that and more in my interview with Kate Sweeney, Public Radio journalist and author of the book “American Afterlife: Encounters in the Customs of Mourning.” From the crooked tombstones of an almost forgotten Victorian cemetery, to a ghostly white bicycle leaned against a telephone pole, Kate and I explore the eclectic nooks and crannies of the uniquely American way of expressing grief, and we find parallels with it and society’s hard fought and growing acceptance of LGBT PDA. The only place you’ll hear the word “brobdingnagian” used in polite company, please join me in my interview with author Kate Sweeney!
From the author of American Afterlife you will learn about:
- The HBO show Six Feet Under
- “California Dying,” an article in the August 2005 issue of the New Yorker Magazine by Tad Friend referring to Ramsey Creek Preserve
- The correlation between the mystery of faith, a lightness of being, and peace with death
- The fastest growing religion in America
- What the majority of Americans still believe about the afterlife from Pew Research
- How the great gathering in the heavenly afterlife affected modern views on death
- “Sinners in the Hands of an Angry God,” a sermon by British Colonial Christian theologian Jonathan Edwards, preached in New England in 1741
- Assurances of salvation and the effects of The Second Great Awakening, an Evangelical Protestant revival of the early 19th century
- How the baby boomers are changing views on death versus those of Generation Y
- How Caitlin Doughty inspires through The Order of the Good Death
- What is meant by “the good death” and “the beautiful death”
- The origin of the deathbed scene (Little Women, Love Story, Camille)
- How the horror of the US Civil War changed everything
- Not knowing how to behave with one who is grieving, and the crisis of etiquette
- Debbie Downer from Saturday Night Live, the fictional character whose negativity hilariously spoiled every occasion
- The controversy over roadside memorials
- Is keeping grief in the closet healthy or “proper”? How about sexuality? Is death replacing sex as the new social taboo?
- “Scattering Donny” from The Big Labowski
- The effect of germ theory: When death becomes rare
- “Stiff” by Mary Roach
- Your brain transplanted into a human clone
- Funeral director’s conflict of interest. Do we need to see the body to effectively mourn?
- Britain versus American ways of mourning
- The definition of the word “brobdingnagian”
- Neuroscientist David Eagleman’s definitions of the Three Deaths
- Ozymandias by Percy Bysshe Shelley
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