Death isn’t taboo, we’re just not encouraged to talk about it – By John Troyer

Courtesy of Academic rigor, journalistic flair  | | April 10, 2014

Way to go: a Ghanaian coffin. Cbcastro, CC BY-NC
Way to go: a Ghanaian coffin. Cbcastro, CC BY-NC

Contrary to the popular wisdom that it’s a taboo subject, we love discussing death. Dead bodies fascinate us and some of our favourite television shows have been about death and forensic pathology.

But since the mid-to-late 19th century when the Victorians celebrated death and funerals with much theatricality – so the argument goes – we’ve repressed death to the point of it being hidden. Even worse, death has become so distant that it terrifies first-world humans and the best we can do is learn to manage an overpowering sense of dread.

But far from being taboo, socially repressed or terrifying, death is much more personal than it used to be. We hear about and see images of death everyday; we embrace it in what we watch; and it inevitability means we can’t really avoid it. Incest is a taboo. Necrophilia (which really does fascinate people) is a taboo. Death is not a taboo. It is more that we aren’t encouraged to discuss our own individual demise.

Continue Reading “Death isn’t taboo…”

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