Monday, October 10, 2022

Ordinary People?

Nicola Shulman offers up some doozies in her TLS review of two collections of obits, Lives Less Ordinary and Eccentric Lives, the latter culled from The Daily Telegraph. “Confronted with the information that the software engineer John McAfee (1945-2021) pledged to ‘eat his own dick on national television’ if Bitcoin didn’t hit $500,000 by 2020, the eye jumps to the bottom of the page. Here it says ‘he killed himself on June 23, 2021, but furnishes no details." English obituaries appear to be opinioned, with their mandate being not only to memorialize but also to evaluate the lives of the deceased.  The Times obituary of Stephen Joyce, the grandson of James, pulls no punches. Shulman quotes the barbs at length. “No publisher, author, producer, curator or politician who dared to invoke the name of James Joyce was safe from his grandson’s strictures.” Apparently Joyce Jr. once told a Canadian professor, “You should consider a new career as a garbage collector in New York City, because you’ll never quote a Joyce text again.” Shulman's review of these two tomes or tombs is a riot. Death be not proud? “He always resisted the urge to self-deprecate (George Pinto, Merchant Banker)…De’Ath’s life was one largely devoid of contrition.” “He is survived by his fourth wife Emily, and two sons.” “Barely you think,” comments the reviewer about Nosher Morgan “succumbing in the aftermath of 'a massive bender' to celebrate being sacked from his own security company.” The locutions that Shulman singles out are the epitome of a kind of British arcaneness and eccentricity for which the TLS provides the ultimate post mortem.

read "Obit." by Francis Levy, HuffPost

and watch the trailer for Erotomania

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