Sunday, September 30, 2012

Why Forest Lawn made Evelyn Waugh want to puke

When Evelyn Waugh visited the United States, he spent some time in Hollywood, California, where the sanitized treatment of death at Forest Lawn inspired his satirical novel, The Loved Onewherein the manicured lawns and euphemisms of Whispering Glades Memorial Park in Hollywood provides deluxe service to deceased stars and their families, and Happier Hunting Ground does the same for dead pets (yes: pets). Waugh described it as "a little nightmare produced by the unaccustomed high living of a brief visit to Hollywood." I hear that a movie may have been made of the novel.

In any case, a very good friend of mine from the West Coast, eager to assure me that the industry which provoked Waugh's satirical novel, is still very much alive and running full bore in the self-congratulatory post-Christian ethos of Seattle, Washington, sent me, by way of proof, a PDF file of the following ad from Dignity Seattle, complete with the obligatory pilates ad above it.

Note the words:
"The most memorable memorials are the ones we plan ourselves. After all, who knows you better than you?

"That's why it's a good idea to plan ahead. Our free booklet will get you started. Then let the members of the Dignity Memorial network do what we're known for -- create a final send off that's truly a reflection of you. It's your life's celebration. We'll make sure it has some."

Evelyn Waugh himself could not have penned a better caricature than the industry has penned for itself.

[Hat tip to K.K.]


Dark Horse said...

Frickin' hularius!

Ralph Roister-Doister said...

Requiem masses have turned into fond reminiscence masses already. I suppose my funeral will have to have a happy hour, lap dancers and a bounce house, or no one will show up.